Free from bonds, but not each other
It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.
But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?
Review: If you haven’t read my review of Unspoken, you should, because I hated it, then loved it, and squealed like a fangirl at all the angsty romance. SRB and I are on the same page when it comes to heartbreak, I’d say. And going into this one knowing SRB thrives on heartbreak makes it a little easier. Jared is still acting like a jerk, Holly is just a little homophobic* (to be fair, her whole life just came apart), and Ash is kind of pathetic. Kami is Kami, Angela is Angela, Rusty is Rusty. The first quarter of the novel is Kami and her crew being condescended to by Lillian Lynburn and trying to figure out Rob Lynburn’s next move. Holly is abandoned by her family and Kami’s appears to be falling apart, all due to magic and secrets. I don’t particularly enjoy bad boy characters with rough pasts, but I try to care about Jared because Kami does. Lillian is furious with Ash for helping Rob in the last book, constantly insulting him and turning to Jared instead. Lillian wants to make Jared the heir of Aurimere, but he claims not to want it. His magic is lessened now that he’s lost Kami as a source, and he’s just being a douche all around. I certainly didn’t expect the romance to be fixed in this one either. The thing I’m learning with SRB is “don’t be optimistic about anything.” But here’s the thing, I am not married to the Kami/Jared ship (pardon the pun). If Kami chooses Ash in the end, I’ll be equally satisfied. I just don’t hold out much hope for that.
Rob has way more supporters than Lillian, maybe because of fear, and Lillian isn’t really interested in the help of anyone who isn’t a sorcerer themselves. Ash is this muddled mess of insecurity and woe, and Jared is violent and unreasonable beyond measure. Things are stressful. Everyone is on edge. No one knows what is going to happen next. It’s very thriller-esque. Holly has serious issues dealing with Angela’s former crush on her, and it’s a little grating at first. I wish it wasn’t necessary, that Holly was a better person, that her life wasn’t falling apart, whatever. I hated that bit of drama. However, there is a moment in chapter 12 that I just loved involving Kami showing Ash how disrespectful and weird it is to find the idea of Angela and Holly “hot.”
“Excuse me, what is wrong with you?” Kami demanded. “Other people’s sexuality is not your spectator sport.”
Basically, Kami remains completely kickass and well-adjusted, and she’s seriously one of the best protags I’ve come across recently. Her existence is not defined by Jared anymore, and she’s coming to realize that that is perfectly okay. Lonely, but okay. She’s figuring it out. And she’s organizing against a threat that everyone else is trying to ignore. Kami’s the best. (Also: Angela, whose lines remind me a lot of the emails Ashley and I send one another.) Rusty is also the best, but he’s underutilized and underappreciated. The problem is with Kami’s love interests, as Ash is, as mentioned above, a little pathetic, and Jared is completely unreasonable. I felt a little overwhelmed by the focus on Jared’s outbursts and Ash’s clueless advances. I wanted MORE MAGIC, and not just creeping around watching Rob Lynburn while Jared makes it rain (literally). Middle book syndrome is what I’d diagnose this one as. Watching our heroes get ready for the big fight, that sort of thing. So while the dialogue was spot on all the time, the plot was loose.
So, while I love Kami and Rusty and magic and Cotswold stone, it took me a week to read this one, where I read Unspoken in a few hours. It wasn’t as strong as the first novel in the series, but there is some action, some character development, some romance. Rob Lynburn is still a very vague character, we have very little idea how the magic works, etc. I hope in Unbroken we see much less focus on the “romance” and more on saving Sorry-in-the-Vale.
*I am not accusing SRB of being homophobic, okay? Don’t even come at me with that mess. But Holly won’t let Angela touch her, won’t look at her or even talk to her. Angela calls herself contagious at one point. It made me sad, that’s all.