After Songs of Insurrection, I’ve went to read the second book in the original series instead of the side-story happening chronologically between them. And while it follows organically, the themes shift in this book.
I’ve started to read this book just a few days after book one – and made a progress to the 68% mark in just a few days. But then, reading was put on hold because of a mix of other activities – some early Xmass preparations, some time spent writing (which I’ve mentioned in my monthly update), so finishing the book was delayed for almost two weeks, when I read the rest in one sitting.
The book happens two years after the events of book one, and most of the plots started in book one are still going on – and picking up speed. For a book that has political ploys for power and asian themes, there are a few hints towards The Art of War, which I’ve read earlier this year.
And while the story is still the same in its base, there’s also a shift in themes. In book one, some of the PoV characters gave the book the feel of a spy thriller, which isn’t the case in book two as the PoV shifts are slightly different, focusing on the characters involved in the scheming rather than those who’d be trying to uncover them. And it works as well.
Likewise, as Kayia takes a more prominent role (as the men in her family are being put out of the picture by the schemers) – and thus her first hints of romance present in the first book aren’t the case now. She is now the forefront character in full meaning, taking care of diplomacy, using her growing skills when needed.
Eventually, she gets to meet several potential allies and enemies both. And while her journey gives her a chance to uncover some parts of the schemes, it also raises more questions and puts her at further risk. All the while potential neighbours and foes alike would like to turn her into their wife, puppet, slave, or combined – whichever would better serve their needs. Or just see her dead.
Read date: 21.11.-6.12.2020
Published: 3.6.2016 (as The Dragon Charmer), republished 3.1.2017 under the current name
Goodreads/Amazon rating: 4,11/4,3
My rating: 85%
Length: 551 pages (Kindle Edition)
Despite the setback, I’ve enjoyed the story, and plan to go on with this fictional world (finishing the series before the end of the year would be nice) – though, again, I’m yet to decide whether to backtrack on Jie’s history (consdering she seems to be an interesting character) or just go with the main flow for now.