The doorway between the magical Visempirum and the human world has been reopened. Paladin are once more living in the citadel where Zuhra and Inara grew up completely isolated by the magical hedge that trapped them there. Amidst the brewing conflict between the Paladin and humans looms the threat of Barloc, who has stolen Inara’s immense power and continues to elude the Paladin who are desperately searching for him.
In this sequel to Sisters of Shadow and Light, Inara and Zuhra must navigate the treacherous paths of self-discovery, their love for each other, and for the boys who have captured their hearts. Together, they search for the strength within themselves to bridge the divide between the two worlds they inhabit, even as war threatens to destroy everything—and everyone—they love.
Warriors of Wing and Flame picks up pretty much instantly from the ending of book one. Inara is struggling with the loss of her powers, she feels that there is an emptiness inside her that only her Paladin power can fill, and without it she’s not sure it’s worth carrying on. She is wary of the new Paladin now sharing the citadel with her family, and seeks solace in the strength of her sister and Halvor. Zuhra’s feelings are mixed. On one side she is happy that Raidyn is stuck here with her, but she can’t get over the feeling that there is something between him and Sharmaine . She senses something wrong with Inara, some darkness inside that she can’t hide from someone who shares the sanaulus with her. When they learn that Barloc is gaining power they do the one thing they think might trap him… offer him more. But Barloc has other plans, and won’t be content until he has destroyed both Paladin and Human. It will take sister working with sister, friend working with friend, family working together if the Paladin are to defeat Barloc once and for all.
I really enjoyed the first book in this duology though it did come with it’s pitfalls which unfortunately the second book also fell into. In parts the pacing was off, I felt there were bits that lasted way longer than they needed too, and the action scenes just seemed to end a little too quickly for my liking. That being said, the authors descriptive writing transports you as the reader to Inara and Zuhra’s world. It’s easy to get swept away with the paladin magic, family dynamics and the romance. It’s also easy to get attached to just one sisters storyline. Zuhra was by far my favourite character in book one, but Inara stole the show in book two, and like the first book I found myself speed reading through the other sister’s chapters to get to the ones I was really interested in.
Zuhra and Inara definitely grow as characters in this book. One thing you have to understand when reading this is that they have lived a life in virtual isolation, one with only their mother, housekeeper and each other for company. Do they fall in love rather easily? Absolutely, but wouldn’t you if you were a 16-18 year old girl and met a boy/girl that made you swoon or feel safe? They both have to traverse through new things that are completely foreign to them, travelling to a new city, flying on the back of a Gryphon, even just talking to new people, and I think they cope pretty well considering at the start of this book their whole worlds were upended. Yes, some of their interactions and inner thoughts fall to the younger end of the YA spectrum but when the situation calls for it both of them can act well beyond their years.
There is a lot of romance in this book, some new and some that has carried through from book one, and while the relationships do play a heavy part in the storyline, Larson’s story isn’t about romantic love. It is about the love shared between sisters, the love shared between people who have grown up together and would be willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the other. She really play’s into the relationship between Inara and Zuhra and you can’t help but want them both to come out with happy endings. Romance wise, be prepared for a few twists from book one, we still get treated to stolen glances and brief touches that just make you swoon.
As usual be prepared for plenty of twists and turns, I can’t even talk about the second half of the book without giving away spoilers. While there is a lot of introspection, Larson still gives us enough action and romance scenes to keep the book going at a steady pace. There were parts I felt dragged slightly, but they didn’t take away from my overall love of the book. A great duology for fans of an intricate magic system and a world that transports you away from the one you know.