My rating: 3 of 5 stars
To be honest, I have such mixed feelings about this book that it’s hard to rate it. This is the second in the Something Dark and Holy series and after reading the first book, Wicked Saints, I knew I wanted to continue reading the series.
This series is essentially about two countries at war, Tranavia and Kalyazin; one country believes in blood magic and the other believes in gods. They’re in an age old conflict about their beliefs.
The books follows two primary characters, Serefin who is the king of Tranavia and Nadya who is a cleric from Kalyazin, both trying to end the war in their own way. There are several secondary characters that impact the story as well.
Things I liked:
1. The characters. I enjoyed the individuality of the characters and appreciated that the author gave us some additional insight into the thoughts of the secondary characters in this book.
2. The overall premise of the story. I like the idea of two countries at war. I like the magical elements. I appreciate the twists and cliffhangers.
3. The further exploration of the gods. We learned some additional back story that I found interesting and thought added depth to the story.
Things I did not like:
The execution. I really struggled with the author’s writing in this sequel. I struggled a bit with the first book as well but this one seemed to be particularly difficult to follow. Here are some things I found tough:
-I had a really hard time visualizing space/location. I didn’t feel like the author did a great job describing the setting, especially for a book set in a fictional world where the reader has no frame of reference to draw from.
-The timeline was difficult to follow. I felt like the timeline would jump around a lot. One second the characters would be in one place doing something and then POOF the next second they would be somewhere completely different doing something else. And there wasn’t a great transition or explanation as to how they got there.
-The fictional language. I appreciate that the author is creating her own fantasy world and has created a language to go along with that. But there were times when random words were used throughout the story and there was no explanation or translation as to what they meant. It felt both useless and distracting. They’re also really difficult to pronounce with lots of letters side by side that don’t feel like they should go together (i.e. towy dzimyka, Telich’nevyi, Volokhtaznikon, etc.).
Overall, I feel like I’ve invested time in this series so will probably continue to read it when the next book comes out. But, if I knew then what I know now, I might not have started in the first place. This series has a lot of potential but I just wish I liked the writing more.
-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Emily A. Duncan, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-