Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.
Ever the Brave is the second and final installment in author Erin Summerill's Clash of Kingdom's duology. In this installment, the author has chosen to feature three distinct characters to tell her story; Cohen Mackay, Britta Flannery, and King Aodren. Let's talk about Britta. After saving Aodren's life at the conclusion of Ever the Hunted, Britta finds herself linked to the king, aware of his presence, and his well-being, and that connection is hard to ignore. Britta hasn't really come to terms with her growing magic, & what she's capable of.
Her fear of being around other people is still an issue as well. It doesn't matter that she saved Aodren's life and is a hero for doing so, the people still don't like her because she's part Shaerdan on her mother's side. It doesn't matter that Aodren wants to introduce her as royalty when the noble's despise her for the same reason. It also doesn't help that he heaps presents on Britta that she doesn't want and shows up at her cabin unannounced. Plus, it would take just one person to charge her with being a Channeler, and everything that she's worked hard for, will come crashing down on her head.
The plus is that she has opened herself up to a friendship with her lady-in-waiting Gillian Tierney. Gillian is adamant at making Britta more impressionable & more ladylike instead of hiding away at her cabin. I talk more about Britta than anyone else in this book because of what her own father taught her. He taught her how to become one of the best trackers and hunters around. He taught her how to ride a horse, use a bow & arrow, but unfortunately he had no clue about how to teach her about magic that has grown stronger.
Britta is a character after my own heart in one aspect. She loves being in the middle of nowhere with no one else around where she can be who she wants to be without people pointing fingers at her.
Meanwhile, Cohen, the King's Bounty Hunter, along with his younger brother Finn, have traveled to Shaerdan in search of the woman, Phelia, who was responsible for controlling Aodren. Along the way, Cohen meets Lirra Barrett, the Archtraitors daughter, & discovers that there are dozens of girls missing throughout Shaerdan. Girls who, by all indications, are Channelers. Since magic is outlawed in Malam, the identity of the kidnappers is puzzling.
Is someone trying to start a war between Malam and Shaerdan? Or, is there something more nefarious about to happen? Cohen isn't a terrible character, but he has hard edges. His relationship with his brother is a nice change from the ever present sibling rivalries that somehow manage to find their way into this genre. Having Lirra around is another change for Cohen who is used to working solo. Cohen's relationship with Britta is one of over-protectiveness and a bit of jealously. Cohen's relationship with Aodren is cold as ice because of the jealously factor.
I mentioned the third character who is featured already, King Aodren. Aodren is drawn and obsessed with Britta, especially after she saves his life not once, but again in this book which leads to a rather enlightening revelation and the identity of the woman known as Phelia. Aodren's isn't like any other King that you are probably expecting. He actually wants to do away with the antiquated and bigoted law known as the Purge which has seen women of all ages taken from their families and killed just because they wield magic. Aodren, Cohen, and Britta really do get tested to the ultimate in this book. Not only do they have to fight a known enemy, but they also have to deal with the connection that Britta has with Aodren while still loving Cohen. Ugh!
In the end, the last half of this story is by far the best because so many things happen that force all three characters to dig into their very souls and find a way to survive against all odds. I appreciated the introduction of the Channeler Council as well as characters who end up being part of a dangerous move by Lord Jamis and Phelia against the King. I like that the story ends with Britta in a good place, and not just walking out stage left without any hopes of a HEA with either Cohen or Aodren.