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Series: Lost Immortals #2
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Facing an unstable future, Chela Prizeon leaves Castle Hayne and crosses over to enemy territory in pursuit of Faris–the boy of royal blood who is cursed by a bitter rival. But soon Chela learns that he has been taken deep into the treacherous frozen prisons–a majestic, but deadly place where people enter and are never seen again. To find the boy she loves, Chela must join forces with one of her greatest enemies. And even though she pulls strength from the good in her powers, she finds herself drawn to the dark side’s temptation as well.
Narrated from both Chela’s and Faris’s point of view, this enchanting sequel to When Copper Suns Fall will take them on a voyage into unknown lands, where the dark, twisted, and revengeful wait to make this their most dangerous journey ever.
NOTE: I once upon a time had a pretty neat review of this book’s predecessor, When Copper Suns Fall, that has since been eaten by the Goodreads system, which I found suspicious because it was a rave fuckin’ review. Whatever, I guess. That’s why I have this blog now! Anyway, I highly recommend When Copper Suns Fall for anyone into angels and mystery, a liiiittle bit of steampunk, dystopian society and strong heroines with intricate yet finely woven story lines.
On to the review…
Silver Moons, oh Silver Moons. A solid 3.5-er.
When I think of how pleasantly surprised I was by When Copper Suns Fall and compare it to my reaction to When Silver Moons Rise, I kinda go giddy all over. Chela Prizeon is one of my favorite heroines in a pool of otherwise dead-weight protagonists. “Chela is the girl of fire and light, an ancestor of the Royal Order of Seraphim.” She maintains her headstrong willfulness, her thoughtfulness, her kindness which shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness. Her life has come crashing down around her in the past few weeks and she flounders in aftermath before deciding her beacon, her calling, lies in the rescue of her trapped Protector, Faris Indrail.
He’s being held in the Ice Prisons overseen by the Silver Witch, Olivia, whose fury hell couldn’t wish to match. Her motives may be simple, but her execution is simply not to be reckoned with. I sure as sunshine wouldn’t touch a broad who threatened that “By the time I’m done with you, there won’t be any other name you’ll call except mine. That’s how long you’ll beg for mercy.”
Six white butterflies flutter around her head and then disappear in puffs of smoke. Mothball odors fill the air, stinging my nostrils. A white cat slinks into the room, strolling along as though it owns the place. It glides toward Olivia and rubs against her legs. Outside the house, the wind howls and blends in with the screams of the people held in the prisons scattered across the land. The sound disturbs me and brings up thoughts of my mother and sister. How does someone live this way?
ARC, p. 24
She’s not the only villain we love to hate. While Faris is fighting to keep his sanity while suffering the brutal, ongoing torture of Olivia the Silver Witch, Chela is fighting her way to him, all alone. That is, until our favorite bad guy arrives on the scene to–of all things–offer his help.
“You want some of me?” he says through shaky breaths as he uses strong hands to press down on my windpipe. “Then you’ve got to work for it.”
ARC, p. 89
(Well, kinda. Haha.)
I don’t know how to exactly articulate my feelings about Seth Alton. Whether he really is the enemy or just a bad boy to stick on as the third leg in a triangular romance, I can never tell. The lines between them are blurred so far in Silver Moons that I get nervous (and, somehow, though I’m loath to admit such a thing… excited?!) thinking about it. Aside from that, though, his overall character, “[a] hybrid. Rare and young. A pet to bring up in Bernael’s image. Someone who has both good and evil inside him. Dangerous yet beautiful,” calls to my love of conflicted malevolent things. He is, literally and figuratively (I think), the part of Chela that I would totally justify in a love triangle. Because when it’s real, when you’re really torn between two halves of yourself, it should be that way–deciding to accept one side of yourself that you cannot live with while making peace with the fact that you truly love the other side of yourself but will never be enough.
Anyhow, while character focus is my favorite segment of this book, and this review, there are other elements that both were and weren’t as impressive. Namely, the writing. An aspect of the writing is almost ethereal sometimes and can be seductive or frightening–very versatile, fitting the mercurial security of the dystpoian layout rife with rebel outcasts, strictly controlled government cities, threats from all sides that creep behind thin veils of a perceived utopia. The tone, while a bit darker than When Copper Suns Fall, followed appropriate contours and, usually, served to enhance each scene, each emotion, each turn of the plot.
What felt off was the scattered, haphazard erraticism of the characters’ thought processes. I want to describe it as an over-reasoning for lack of better descriptor. Mostly when characters have to do something they don’t want to. The reader witnesses the initial reaction, the thoughts behind those reactions, the reasoning, the change in perspective, the “credence,” the turnaround, the secondary/final reaction, then the speech behind their shift in decision. It was a bit overkill to see things go through their heads and then have them justify it out loud as well. Let actions speak, Leigh! (Now that I think of it, that what really only a Chela POV problem.)
Also, yes, it has been a while since I read Copper Suns, so I appreciated imbedded reminders of the past into the narrative, but in the beginning there are so many, and so frequently, that I lost count. I understand that it could be relative to Chela’s emotional ties to what happened, but it didn’t feel that way as I read phrases like “He glared at me just as he did back in Oceania” (not a real quote, just as example) five freakin’ timessss.
And God Almighty, can we get some specificity please! We get all these whacky terms for some things–schorl, Epiclesium, sedwig; there’s a whole glossary at the start of the book to describe more than 20 terms–and yet some things get thrown to the wayside. Like, “octopus weapon,” Seth’s weapon of choice. Really? “Dress with spikes.” Uh? “All-white armor.” Okay…
Anyway. My last complaint, and the thing that knocked this down from a full 4 stars… Nothing really… happened. It was very much a victim of second-book-in-a-series syndrome in that over half the book was comprised of discoveries of the past or literal static (by that, I mean, yes, there was action, as is people interacting, but there was no progression). Granted, it makes total sense why Faris’ sections would be stilted in terms of progression, but that doesn’t change the fact of the matter. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, either. Quite the contrary!
So, yeah, it’s a transition novel, and yeah, the kinks could be worked out of a few wrinkles in the otherwise fabulous worldbuilding, and yeah, blah blah blah, but you know what? I enjoyed every single second of this book, and I am honored that I was selected to receive an advanced reader copy. With its release tomorrow, I hope more if not just as many people love it as Copper Suns because it’s worth every bit of support it gets and more. KaSonndra Leigh has done it yet again, and I’m hooked for the next adventure Chela, Faris, Seth and Asa tackle. I know it’ll be just as enticing as the past two have been.
The rage is like a tidal wave: intriguing, powerful, dangerous–a natural force that calls to your curiosity, hypnotizing you with its massive beauty. You stand there and watch the waters rise, even though you know you’ll die when it falls. Tell me, seraph. What will you do when the dark power of the tidal wave calls to you?