One of the few times when the phrase “shocking conclusion” has merit. This series has only grown more intricate, and with this, the finale to the trilogy, we are steeped in the realm of nightmare. Having Mara locked and restrained in a psychiatric institute, drugged repeatedly against her will, with no one believing the truth, is all very dark and makes for tough reading. The story does not stay in the darkness indefinitely, but it remains harrowing and intricately plotted. I recommend it, since I was unable to put it down, but this is among the darkest YAs I’ve ever read. Recommended for 17 and up, due to sex, violence, and nightmare fuel.
his YA series has grown much darker in this second novel in the series. 17-year-old heroine Mara Dyer remains an unreliable narrator as her life seems to crumble around her. With this novel, the series takes a leap into suspense, almost into horror.
Mara and her boyfriend Noah are part of the “kids against the world” trope, but it’s made much more realistic than usual, since none of the adults in her world believe her because she’s mentally ill. Is she really hallucinating? Has she made it all up? Or is she being gaslighted by parties unknown? Since the narrative is first person, we don’t know those answers either, and we feel the tension and fear along with Maya. For age 17 and up, due to sex, violence and the fear factor.
It took me over a week to read this book, which means it didn’t hold my interest well. Mara, our 17-year-old heroine, has come through a trauma and her PTSD makes her an unreliable narrator. We are supposed to be distracted from her confusion by the love interest, Noah, who is quite appealing. However, the abrupt (and fantastical) plot switches give this a magical realism vibe which causes the tone to change repeatedly throughout the book, to its detriment. I struggled with it, but may I read the second book in the trilogy to see if all the jerking around was worthwhile. For YA 17 and up due to gore.
The riveting second part of this trilogy brings Fitz, born a bastard to a prince he never met, ever deeper into the court’s web of intrigue. Fixed in his heart as a “King’s Man,” his loyalty is tested by both the those who mean him well and those who mean him ill. And it is tested, most of all, by the desires of his heart and the woman he loves. Filled with battles, betrayals, passion, and deception, the plot rockets to its conclusion and we despair, with Fitz, whether his beloved kingdom can ever be whole. For adults and older teens.