Tagged: book two

Hyacinth by Abigail Owen

Hyacinth by Abigail Owen(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book #2 of the Svatura Series

Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher, including her secret love for her one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. When nightmares that are just a little too real start, Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster that Griffin thinks she is.

Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe for the first time in over a hundred years. But when an unknown menace drives Selene to leave her family and ask for help, Griffin must decide. Can he move past his hatred of everything she is? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?

The threat of the danger stalking Selene in her dreams might be too much even for this powerful group. And Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family…

[Full disclosure: I was provided a free ebook copy of this a couple of months during the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Ellie, the main character of the previous novel only barely features in this one.  Although I really did like her, that was fine by me as I got to see way more of Griffin and a whole bunch of Selene.  Both of them are fascinating characters in their own right but I’ll talk about Selene first.

She was enslaved by her brother for 150 years, which is long even for a Svatura.  More accurately, she had to do what he told her because of his mind control but unlike the rest of the Vyusher tribe she was fully aware of all of the horrible things Gideon had her do.  That really just makes it more awful when you think about it.  So now Gideon is dead and Selene is having a hard time accepting her role as Queen.  Not only that, now she has to cope with the crushing amount of guilt from 150 years of hunting other Svatura.

What I find interesting with the way she copes is that she really doesn’t magically get over everything on her own; for that, she needs more than a little bit of help from the original Svatura group of the first book.  One has the power to help heal emotions but even with Ellie’s help in amplifying it Selene will never be totally healed.  This is way more realistic than having her completely healed in time for the final showdown.  At the same time, even though I wanted to smack Griffin for being indecisive, I do believe it was far more realistic than him loving Selene despite all of their history together.  By the end of the novel you’re really in doubt as to whether these two are sure they love each other but I promise you that the ending is a satisfying one.

Just like with the previous book, the plot of Hyacinth is more character-driven than plot-driven.  The characters cause many of the events that happen in the end of the novel but this book is far from slow-paced.  Abigail Owen managed to balance character development with plot development and I really appreciated that balance.  It makes for a much more enjoyable, interesting read.  There weren’t really any truly enormous surprise twists for the plot but I did enjoy Hyacinth all the same.

Abigail Owen is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, as you can probably tell by this review.  I can’t wait to read the third book in the Svatura series!  In the meantime, I’d highly recommend it to pretty much all readers who like a little fantasy in their everyday life.  You really can’t go wrong with the Svatura series.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Second Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn

Second Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn(Cover picture courtesy of Susan Kaye Quinn’s site.)

The sequel to the steampunk fantasy romance Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1) is here!

Assassins, skyships, and royal intrigue…

With plans for a second skyship exposed, Third Daughter Aniri fears her sister, Seledri, will be caught in a war between the three Queendoms. Seledri is the Second Daughter of Dharia, which means she had no choice in her arranged marriage to the First Son of Samir—a country with whom they may soon be at war. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she questions her own rushed betrothal to Prince Malik, the noble barbarian who controls the skyship—and whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.

Second Daughter is the second book in The Dharian Affairs trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, assassins, royal romance and intrigue.

[Full disclosure: After seeing my 5 star review of Third Daughter, Susan Kaye Quinn provided me with a free ebook of her second book in exchange for an honest review.]

As you guys know, I really don’t read much steampunk.  It’s never really appealed to me as a genre but I’ve picked up the odd one here and there.  I almost didn’t request Third Daughter on NetGalley several months ago, but I’m so glad I did.  I was even happier when Susan Kaye Quinn contacted me about reviewing the sequel.  I mean, after that doozy of a cliffhanger, how could I resist?

I definitely wasn’t disappointed with this second installment in the Dharian Affairs.  It has just the right amount of romance, intrigue and action to make it an enjoyable sequel.  What I really liked about Second Daughter was that not everything is as it seems: the people you think are villains are a little more ambiguous later on.  I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers, but I will tell you that all of the plot twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I like how Aniri has matured a little bit after her adventures in Jungali.  She’s clearly in love with Ash but at the same time she’s getting cold feet about the impending wedding since she’s only known the guy for a couple of weeks.  These doubts make the whole thing a little more realistic and allow Aniri to decide what she really wants out of life.  Add to that the fact her sister is pregnant in a country that is on the verge of a civil war between the two princes and you’ve got the perfect recipe for some adventure.  She meets her old lover Devesh and things quickly turn complicated but I promise you that this is not your typical love triangle.  It’s pretty far from that, trust me.

As I mentioned earlier, the plot was insane.  It wasn’t action movie fast but it was so interesting I couldn’t put my ereader down.  After learning about the second skyship at the end of the first book, I knew things were going to be exciting.  What I didn’t know was just how exciting this book would be!  There’s so much intrigue George R. R. Martin would be proud.  When I say things aren’t always what they seem in this book, I really do mean it.

If you haven’t yet checked out Third Daughter, you really should.  Even if you’re not a huge steampunk fan, it’s worth giving it a try because the Dharian Affairs trilogy is just amazing.  And if you’ve read the first book, getting Second Daughter is a no-brainer.  It’s just that good.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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