This is the second book in a duology. If you would like to read my review of the first book you can find that here. If you don’t want spoilers stop reading now.
The Exalted by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Summary from NetGalley:
Since the founding of the Empire, Alskad has been ruled by the singleborn…but the new heir to the throne carries a secret that will change everything
When an assassin’s bullet takes the life of Queen Runa and allows an impostor to steal the throne, Bo Trousillion is forced to flee the empire that is his birthright. With few choices left and burdened with a secret that could disinherit him, Bo pursues an alliance with Noriava, the Queen of Denor, but the devious royal ensnares him in a trap and demands a huge price for her aid.
To the south, Vi Abernathy—Bo’s secret twin—joins a ragtag army of resistance fighters, determined to free Alskad and the colony of Ilor from the control of the corrupt temple and its leaders. But as Vi discovers a strength she never knew she had and prepares to rejoin her brother in Alskad, news of the coup and Bo’s narrow escape arrive in Ilor.
Determined to rescue Bo, Vi sails to Denor with the rebels at her side and a plan to outwit Queen Noriava, knowing there’s only one way she and Bo will be able to save the Alskad Empire—together.
ARC provided by InkYard press via NetGalley for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this sequel. It was brilliant in its story line and character development. It was a satisfactory ending to this duology, however I hope it is not the last story set in this fascinating world.
Bo and Vi continue on their journey pretty much from where the first book ended. I really enjoyed both of their character arcs with all of the messy emotions that went with them. I really liked that the author did not shy away from the topic of how wars and battles affect people differently. Also that good people sometimes have to do bad things to win those wars. Vi goes through a grieving time and was very depressed after a particularly nasty battle, which I felt was very honest. Bo also has his struggles with the loss of his grandmother and his throne at the same time. His struggles to get it back were well done with a lot of court intrigue.
Many of the other characters that I grew to love are back, and many new characters are introduced. Curlin continued to grow on me and I really came to understand her better in this book. Quill and his twin Mal were also part of this story, although Quill wasn’t around quite as much as I would have liked. His and Vi’s relationship was strained at time almost to the breaking point, mostly because Vi shut him out when she was struggling with her depression. Swinton continued to win the hearts of everyone he met, and I just adored him with Bo.
There were many new characters introduced, and they were all well done. Vi’s family was amazing and I loved them all, but a special nod needs to go to Pem and Still, two adorable little girls who certainly prove that they were gutsy and bold every step of their journey. Noriava was also a great new evil character, who only wanted what was best for her kingdom, but totally went about it in the wrong ways.
The plot of this second book was just as good as the first. There were more action scenes and less world building which made for a faster read for the most part. The struggles between religion, government and society would make for some interesting discussions. The ending though felt a bit rushed. Unfortunately there were some important deaths at the end that happened so fast that they were almost missed. Also the characters and the readers didn’t have time to grieve for them either. I applaud the author for being willing to kill off likable and important characters but because these both happened so close to the end, they ended up belittling the characters contributions to the overall story.
This is a strong debut series featuring a fascinating world were twins share an important connection. A very rich world with lots of its own mythology, religion and ruthless villains. The diverse cast of characters are all well developed and the twists and turns of the story will certainly keep you entertained as well. I will certainly be keeping out an eye for more books by this author, and hopefully ones set in the world of Alskad.