Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia and Hypnos are all struggling after the events of the past month. All dealing with the death of one of their own in their own ways. When Severin sends them all a note with a meeting place and time they all arrive to find he has the clue, the clue they need to find the Fallen House’s lost treasure pile. To find it they have to travel to Russia and along the way they pick up alliances both old and new. Their journey will come at a cost though, with multiple attempts on their lives, forgotten romances being reignited and secrets being shared, it will take all of their strength as a team to pay the toll.
For those who fear second book syndrome, you needn’t worry. I loved Gilded Wolves but this book was soooo much better. It’s darker and grittier than the first, which is understandable when you think that the team struggling after the loss of Tristain. All of the team are dealing with it in their own way but Severin, my poor sweet boy, is unable to forgive himself. He cannot forgive that he chose to save Laila over his only brother, even after he finds out the true Tristain, the one who did everything in his power to keep them together. His behaviour in this book is significantly darker than the first and there were times when I will admit to wanting to give him a good slap, but he bears the weight of the whole crew on his shoulders, whether they ask him to do it or not.
We see Laila deal more with her impending doom, counting down the days to her ‘unmaking.’ She wants so desperately to live, even if it means living without the boy she loves, and she believes that finding the Divine Lyrics is her only chance. Acting as Severin’s Mistress takes a toll on her she never expected, this boy isn’t the one she fell in love with, he is harsher and unwilling to admit and act on his emotions, she just hopes that the true Severin is still in there somewhere, and that she can bring him back.
Enrique is still determined to enter the illusive ‘Illustrados’ but answers Severin’s call non the less. His relationship with Hypnos is not what he expected and he finds himself unable to assuage the doubts in his head that his feelings are somewhat unrequited. His friendships with both Laila and Zofia get explored more in this book and, honestly, the scenes with the three of them together were some of my favourite.
Zofia wants nothing more than to stay by her sisters side until she recovers, she doesn’t want to become a burden to anyone else and so keeps her illness a secret. When Severin promises to ensure contact between the two she agrees to the job, knowing that the extra money could fund them both for a significant amount of time. What she doesn’t realise though is she has somehow become the glue that holds the team together, she is the sounding board, and though sometimes she doesn’t quite grasp what is truly being said or happening her, somewhat, naivete helps bring the team closer together.
Hypnos, my little cinnamon roll, plays a larger part in this book than the first. He desperatly wants to become a member of the gang, unable to see it unravelling before his eyes. He tries to step in and fill needed rolls but Severin is not willing to trust him fully and that, more than anything, weighs on him. We get insights from some characters in the first book as well as some new ones, and the authors makes it extremely hard to know who to trust.
Chokshi’s lyrical and lush writing style truly bring the world and characters to life. You effortlessly dive into the pages, feeling as though you are right there alongside the characters. I feel like, where the first book dragged slightly in parts, this one took hold from the get go and didn’t let go until the last line. I easily flew through the pages and polished this one off in a matter of hours. Everything about this book was amazing, the tension, the plot twist, the character arcs, the banter. It made for a fun filled, but also emotional and tense read and now my only problem is how long I will have to wait for the final book.
That ending! What is it with authors and giving us the biggest cliffhangers for book two? First Aurora Burning and now this, you’re killing me guys. I need to know what happens next. I need to know that everyone is safe. This is easily going to be one of my favourite reads of 2020, even if I might not forgive the author for the ending.