Release date: January 19, 2016
After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away. With fellow rebels on her side—including Princess Aislynn, Thackery, and the handsome and mysterious Matthias—it is time for Elanor to make a decision. Will she protect her secrets? Or risk everything to save the people she loves?
The story of the Four Sisters continues with Eleanor, whom we had met towards the ending of Stray. She is one of Orphans, the people rescued from Josetta’s palace, and living in the main mountain camp as rebels. She is hiding a secret, one that fuels her determination to end Josetta. They have been trying for years to assassinate her, but with no success. After a routine raid, they come across Matthias – who was in the Queen’s dungeons. At first, it seems it has nothing much to do with the other kingdoms, where the rules were different for young girls, but Josetta’s kingdom is it’s own version of hell. The plotlines of Stray and Burn converge, when Aislynn and Thackery rejoin, and they pursue leads into the missing girls.
Story-wise, I prefer this to the first. There was a lot of action, some betrayal, some reveals and some new insights. Character-wise, I preferred the treatment in the first. Eleanor is a warrior, and her particular dark past has to do with her actions, but it doesn’t mean much for the present, directly. Either way, she would have still rallied, and honestly that felt like an unnecessary subplot. As for the ‘unexpected’ reveals, I had my doubts so I wasn’t entirely shocked. While we didn’t get much explanation on the other kingdom’s worlds, we do get the real story of the Four Sisters in this installment, and some pieces put in place for subsequent novels. The animals are a big clue, and this means, we should be on the lookout for a swan and an owl next. The diversity of this series has been one thing I liked, and it is good to have a pansexual protagonist.
The ending was a bit of a mess, in my opinion, with a lot of confusion (action and story-wise) and not everything making proper sense. I honestly can’t believe Benedict knew nothing – like, how sheltered can you be? And what about Brigid – will she get her happy ending? But the fact that at least some things make sense now (from the first book), makes me interested in the next. 3.5 stars to this one.
Received a free galley from Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or the review.
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