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You wouldn't believe the amount of excitement I felt when I got my hands on this book! The first book in this series was so much fun to read, and I have been eager to read the next installment ever since. Alexandra Rushe did not disappoint in delivering an engaging, fast-paced book that kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last page. There were many surprises that I did not see coming, and I think the character development was truly phenomenal. Readers get to really understand the backstories of the characters, and explanations for some odd behaviors come to light. It was enlightening and inspiring, and although it ended on a cliffhanger, in a way, I don't begrudge the author for ending the book this way. It's definitely going to have me salivating over the next book as soon as I hear about it!
Raine Stewart is on the next leg of her journey as a fledgeling wizard, pursued by a Dark Wizard and seeking sanctuary where she can find it. Accompanied by familiar faces and navigating the new waters of Tandara's noblemen and women, Raine faces brand new challenges and discovers adversaries she would never have dreamed of before. As if she doesn't have enough to deal with, she comes face-to-face with a magic mirror, gains knowledge of a terrible curse, and wrestles with her feelings for a certain half-elf/half-Finlar nobleman. Life is about to become more difficult, and Raine will need the help of her friends to face it.
While I did not need the romance in order to enjoy the story, I was ecstatic to see the romance included in this book! There was none in the first book, and it was truly not needed with all the other things Raine had to deal with. In this book, though, the romance provided some comic relief when things became dark, and it was a welcome aspect to the story. It was subtle and complicated, and at times I just wanted Raine and Raven to kiss and get it over with. I expect a really good one in the next book, Ms. Rushe. Pretty please.
The curse was probably the most exciting part of this book, because it brought a fairytale quality to the story! It was quite fun to read about and try to decipher where it was going in the book as a whole. Would the cursed woman be dead? Would she be trapped by an evil wizard? Would she be someone in disguise? I would never in a million years have guessed the truth!
I eagerly await the next book in the series! Alexandra Rushe has done a fantastic job building the world of Tandara, and I can only imagine it will continue to get better with each book. Well done!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**