Avenged by Amy Tintera
Summary from Goodreads:
A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.
Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.
But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.
Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.
Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.
This is a solid second book in this series. There is not as much romance, and there is a lot more killing, mostly by Olivia, but it is so well written and engaging. This book maybe should have been called Revenge, because that is certainly the main theme. Everyone wants to kill someone because of what they did. It is also about dominance over others not like you and maybe a little bit about discrimination. Everyone seems to hate the Ruined, but I think that hate is based on fear. I also wonder why they seem so anxious to destroy them even though they know what they are capable of and how hard it is to get close enough to kill them. There are also some family issues getting in the way of everyone getting what they want.
The story is told through multiple characters, Em, Olivia, Cas and Aren. It is refreshing to hear from other characters in this book especially Aren and Olivia.
Olivia is really scary, she will kill you just for looking at her wrong or just because you are breathing. Her powers are also frightening, being able to remove your heart from your body with a flick of her wrist. But she can restrain herself at times, especially when Em asks her to. Em can at times talk her down, but not often.
Aren’s story is really the unique one, he is so suffering from PTSD and really struggling with all of the death and destruction that Olivia causes. He really wants to be left alone to be with Iria a warrior who keeps saving his life. Their relationship is sweet and fun to watch grow.
Emelina is the voice of reason throughout this book. She tries really hard and sometimes succeeds in reining in Olivia. Her relationship with Cas is still sweet, although I am worried that they will never get it together. I wanted to slap Cas a few times to knock some sense into him, not just about Em, but about a lot of things he did and didn’t do.
Some new characters are introduced in this book. Prince August from Olso who at times I felt sorry for, having to marry either Em or Olivia. But by the end, I had very little sympathy for him. Even though he knew what Olivia was capable of, having seen it for himself, he still incurred her wrath with tragic results. Violet is another new character, although we did meet her briefly in the first book. She is a good ally of Cas’s and certainly keeps him on track. It also doesn’t hurt that she has an army at her disposal to help Cas regain his castle from Olso.
This is a solid good read and although there is a lot of death it is not dark. There are many moments of dry humor and interactions between the characters that are touching. I will probably reread both this book and the first one before the third comes out next year.
In case you haven’t read the first book in the series, Ruined, here is a video by Epic Reads explaining it.