After the first book left us with a cliffhanger, I was eagerly awaiting the next installment that I knew would continue the emotional roller coaster that is this series. The events of the first book lead directly up to this one, making reading in order imperative to fully understanding the plot and appreciating all of the characters. The reader gets to see old characters again and make friends with brand new ones, and the romance gets a bit of a twist thrown in, reminiscent of how Sarah J. Maas likes to toy with us. If you love her romance twists, you'll love this series. Everything was fairly straight forward in the first book, but in this book lines between enemy and friend blur. Who you think would be the strong one is in fact weak, and who you think is an enemy could actually be the savior. While the pacing was a bit faster than what I prefer, I really appreciated how much the author packed into this book and allowed us to experience so much without it feeling overwhelming. It really was a tale of chasing war, confronting the realities of it, and learning what it means to be the one people look to when hard decisions must be made.
Half-fae Grace, now Lady Grace Richardson Faelie, is struggling to fit in with a world that finds her at time a curiosity and others an abomination. With a stepbrother who hates her, a stepmother who is threatened by her existence, and a stepsister as her only ally in the house besides her father, things are looking precarious for her future. When she is given a magic tutor to teach her how to utilize her newfound magic, she realizes that her differences may be even greater than anyone expected, and she must continue to keep secrets in order to survive. Knowing there is a conspiracy among the other fae houses, she tries desperately to warn of impending disaster, but it all comes to a head when inevitable war unfolds. Soon she is placed in a difficult position of power, where she must make allies, determine who her real enemies are, and test loyalties she thought would remain strong.
The burden put on Grace in this book was so strongly felt by the reader, which deserves a huge round of applause for the writer. I was stressed for her, my heart broke when her heart broke, and I genuinely felt her relief when she found solace in the most unlikely of places. While I did see some similarities in this book with popular fae stories that I didn't see in the first book, Cady Hammer made the book her own with the many unique characters and a plot that twisted and turned until the last page. There are two love interests that pop up in this book, making a minor love triangle evident. However, there were very clear lines drawn that made it less angsty, and I liked that. Oftentimes love triangles are tedious and predictable, but in this case I found myself wondering what would come of it. And I was still wondering even after I finished the book (though I was thrilled to see our heroine stayed strong when she could have given in). Chasing War does end on a cliffhanger again, which is difficult for me as a reader, but as someone who thrives on thinking about the "what ifs" in life, I love the suspense...I just sometimes wish I could wait until the whole series is out before I torture myself one book at a time.
Eager for the third book! Still highly recommend reading the first two books in the meantime while you wait - you'll be so glad you did.
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**