Blurb: Garrisoned by the Nine Houses of the Derai, the towering mountain range called the Wall of Night is all that separates the people of Haarth from the terrible Darkswarm.
Five years have passed since the Wall was breached and the Keep of Winds nearly overrun. Five years since the Heir of Night, Malian, and her friend and ally Kalan went missing in the wild lands of Jaransor.
Now, in Haarth’s diverse southern realms, events are moving. From the wealthy River city of Ij to the isolated Emerian outpost of Normarch, rumors of dark forces and darker magics are growing. As the great Midsummer tournament at Caer Argent approaches, Haarth will have one opportunity to band together against an enemy in which few believe . . . or be lost forever.
Review: This was a frustrating read. Don’t get me wrong. I still really liked this, but it took way too long to get to that point where I was still interested in what was going on.
It started out just fine and looked like it was going to continue from where the first book left of, but quickly turned into something else entirely. Firstly with the entire focus being on the heralds from book one rather than on the two other major characters. I get it. Most of what went on was important to events later in the plot, but there was a whole lot of extra in there that could have been paired back.
Then there is another character perspective shift, one that made absolutely zero sense. I had my suspicions as to the general path it was leading to, but there was just so much that, at that point, had no relation to the story so far. A good half of the first 50% of the book fell into that “didn’t relate” realm that I very nearly called it quits. Yes, I’m glad I didn’t as there was a really nice twist that helped, but it was just almost too much and it felt like a lot of the momentum that was built up in the first book got lost in this one during that apparently unrelated time. By the time you actually got to the point where the familiar characters emerged and became a part of the story again and things got interesting with many of the magical aspects from the first book, it stalls out a bit again with the heavy emphasis on the tournaments.
In the end, we actually see very little actual page time or character growth from the two expected to be the focus of this series, Kalan and Malian. What we do see is only just alluded to because there is a 5 year gap in the timeline of their story (which still makes them only 17 and 19, so still a YA book) so we don’t get to see what little growth they did have and how it came about. That and the purpose behind the title of this book doesn’t even come into play until the very last 10% or so. I do absolutely enjoy this series. It is definitely unpredictable and doesn’t follow any set formula for a book in this genre. There is just a lot of extra that tends to drag at the parts that are so good that it doesn’t break into the truly great class.