After talking about wanting to read this one in my Winter TBR post, I was reminded of just how much I wanted to return to this world. So, I decided to make it my first read of 2020 and hopefully get this reading year off to a good start, something that definitely ended up happening!
This book takes off right where the last one ended, leaving us not a single moment to even breath as we are thrust back into the depths of things. From that moment onwards, this book just has you firmly in its grasp, not letting you for even a second as the action just keeps coming. The stakes fly up to new heights with this plot suddenly becoming so much richer and complex than it was before, with so many elements and storylines all woven together into the beauty that is this book.
I adored the focus of this book being on the election and the politics surrounding that, as it brought together all of the different aspects of this story that we were introduced to in Ace of Shades whilst also taking us into an entirely new chapter. It somehow made things even more interesting as we got to encounter so many new places and people and watch as Enne and Levi began to build up their own separate empires whilst still being constantly under threat.
With the amount of detail added into the plot comes so much more insight into the gangs of the City of Sin, as well as their history and that of the other lords that came before them. I loved the little extracts of legends we got at the start of each new section as well as the small pieces of information that were woven throughout the story. Not only were all these tales super interesting and mysterious, but they also helped to flesh out the world and to build up the tension as we were constantly reminded of the impact of the last war just as another is around the corner.
The character growth in this book was another thing that was off the charts, with Enne becoming a deadly street lord in her own right and Levi beginning to reach his dreams and realise his ambitions. I adored watching Enne’s creation of herself away from Levi and the others as she began to realise her own desires as well as her own abilities and strengths. The creation of The Spirits and her various plots and schemes really showed how powerful a character she is whilst also presenting her as a morally grey character whose decisions we may not always agree with. Meanwhile we got to simultaneously watch Levi’s battle between caring for his friend and for the Irons and achieving his wildest dreams as they lead him and those around him into more and more dangerous scenarios.
One thing that differed from the first book was that this time we also got chapters written from Jac’s POV, something which made me completely fall in love with him more than I ever thought I would. We got to see him established as a character in his own right, rather than just as Levi’s second, as we get to delve into his tragic past and watch as he battles his present. He is so loyal and cares so much for those around him, with the amount he risks for Levi really proving this. Honestly, I’m just all-round super appreciative that we got such a beautiful character!
But can we also take a moment to appreciate the sheer amount of spectacular side characters we get in this installment. They were all so well crafted and written to be their own individual characters that we got to know and explore despite them not being the focus of the story. On top of that, the relationships between all of our characters were so well developed, with none of them being perfect but rather all involving conflict and growth in a way that any good friendship or romance should have.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, just wait until you reach all of the gut punches this ending delivers straight to you. I am pretty sure I will be in a book hangover for the foreseeable future after this one, and the only cure I can possibly think of is Queen of Volts. There were just so many reveals, so many gasps, and so many emotions that I’m still trying to process everything that went down in those last 100 pages.
(tw: Drug Abuse, Death, Murder, Violence)
Have you read this one – what did you think? Do you agree with my thoughts?