What a raging disappointment of a book. I went into this with low expectations and felt I was still let down. It is no secret that I struggled with the first book but this was so much worse than I could have imagined. I thought there would be action-packed scenes and fast-paced chapters. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. This was slow, boring, and nothing happened.
I can’t even give you a blurb of what happened in this story because I zoned out. I was so incredibly bored that I should have DNFd. What hit me the hardest while listening to the audio was the horrible fake accents used for the characters. Was it really necessary to make everyone sound like they were Russian? The voices sounded weak and not what was necessary for strong witch. The voices alone pretty much ruined the story and any chance of me caring what happened. That being said, the characters overall were what caused this ship to sink hard. In a nutshell: This story was B-O-R-I-N-G. Nothing of consequence happened. If they had read a phone book I would have been more entertained.
Do not go into this expecting a warm and fuzzy reunion between Safi and Iselt because it does not happen. Their scenes felt more like afterthoughts. They never met back up but some special kind of magic brought them together again (kind of…) in the end. Instead, my lovely readers, this story is about Merik and his sister, Vivia. Bored yet? I know I am. Merik’s character was awful. He was power hungry but just boring. He was all talk and a big jerk. Who wants to read chapters and chapters of that? Vivia’s chapters were just as bad. Two questions about her: 1) Why does she have her own POV chapters? and 2) Who cares? She is just as dull as her brother. I ended up skimming those chapters because I just did not care or couldn’t figure out what was going on. Let’s also not forget that far too many new characters are introduced and brought to the front as if they can make a difference. Does it really matter that a guard that was a girl dressed as a man? Did that particular character have any impact on the overall story? NO. The answer to both is NO.
Let me give one positive – the world building was amazing. Dennard can world build with the best of them. I will never complain about her lack of imagination in her stories, but that alone could not and would not save this disaster. This was the utmost worst case of middle-book syndrome I could ever imagine. It was a long audio (6-7 hours of my time) that felt like a waste. I really should have DNFd and walked away. No matter how much I tried I just did not care. I didn’t care about any characters, the back and forth POVs, the kingdom, the magics, nothing, nada, zip.
I adore Susan Dennard as a person, she is beyond amazing in person, but this was not her best work. I just expected something different. I started with low expectations, as I said, and was hoping to be blown away. Instead, I was proven right. No reader/blogger wants to be proven right on this topic. I am now truly terrified about Bloodwitch. IF I read that book, and that is a huge IF, I will (again) borrow from the library but absolutely DNF if it’s like this book. Or maybe I’ll wait until I see some reviews. Granted, I am going to be kind of the black sheep with this and I’m okay with that. Not everyone is going to love this book. However, I will be super over the top cautious with book 3.