A very good sequel to « An Illusion of Thieves », with a new fascinating adventure, good characters’ developments and a strong atmosphere.
The magic is well used to make a riveting story, without any abracadabra but instead a clever demonstration of the difficulties encountered by its users. Romy’s special fascinating (and so original!) magic, for instance, is as useful as chilling for its limitations.
The book is rather long and much detailed for a story which unfolds only in a few days, but it makes for a perfect immersion and a great reading experience. The twists and turns of the intrigue, political and personal, are quite riveting.
I also particularly appreciated the bonds between the Chimera’s members, their affection and trust. The musing of Romy about her past, her childhood for a small part but mostly about her last seven years spent as the Shadow Lord’s compagnon, friend, lover and slave, are very clever and wholesome. Many books use a master-slave relationship to built up a story (Cate Glass herself, with her Carol Berg’s pseudonym, have woven one of those, a fantastically coherent and touching one, in her Rai-Kirah Series) but usually with a sad lack for coherence and healthy psychology. Making a romance out of an abusive relationship, even if the master is « good », « not really in agreement with the situation », « had them-self suffered a lot », « had a difficult childhood », « have always wait for permission », « is so sexy and rich and perfect » etc. – is very wrong. In the Chimera series Romy fully realises that all what she had with this man was distorted by the situation. Even if she was consentant, and never forced, and respected for her intelligence and wit, she still was a slave, a courtesan, without any freedom. Her regrets are useless, and more, she understands, unwholesome. Their relation was never balanced and so, even for all their complicity and share interests, detrimental for her.
Just a last note to say that, contrary to most readers on Netgalley, I’m sorry to say that I vigorously dislike the books series’ covers. They seem very cheap, especially for such a publisher, and… bizarre. The colors aren’t harmonious, the silhouettes weird, and the whole movement of each cover makes me nearly nauseous… I’m not fan either of the typography, very seventies. If I hadn’t being informed about this book by the author’s blog (Carol Berg’s), I’m afraid that I would probably have been repelled by the cover and missed a very good read… Of course one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but still, it’s the first thing we see, the first contact, the first impression. And as the saying goes: no one as a second chance to make a first good impression!
(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)