*A bit spoilery if you haven’t read book 1*
Initially, I didn’t feel like I needed to do a review for this series. I mean- it’s pretty much exactly what I asked for after the last one: more of the same. And yet- this book still surprised me. It pulled me in directions I did not expect. Not only am I still sympathetic and invested in the main character’s plight, but I have realised she may become more than just an anti-hero- she could be on the path to fully fledged villainhood. And to me this is the most exciting thing ever. Any possible story arcs for the main character are exciting at this stage- either she continues down the terrible path she’s taking and becomes a completely evil maniac, or she changes course and she gets a redemption story. Either way, it’s a win-win for the reader. This bold choice by Marie Lu is making me impossibly excited for what comes next.
But the brilliance of the book does not stop there. One aspect of the book that is handled masterfully is the characters- they all feel like distinct and different people. Which is such a pleasant change. Even Raphael isn’t a straightforward good guy. In fact, none of the “good” guys are straightforward. All of them make mistakes. And none of them have entirely altruistic motivations. Everyone has shades of grey.
On top of that, I felt like the romance was hotting up- I much preferred the love interest in this book, because I felt like this guy actually *knew who she really was* instead of the other guy that fell in love with the idea of her. To be honest, in the first book, the romance was bordering on insta-love, but thankfully it felt real in this book.
And the twists and turns in the plot were excellent- much like the first one, it never took the foot off the accelerator. Needless to say, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.
Rating: 4/5 bananas