Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: Young Adult / Dark Fantasy
In this exciting follow-up to Shimmer and Burn, Faris has given up love to save her sister’s life and the dying kingdom of Avinea, but will her sacrifices be enough to overcome the poisoned magic and villains surrounding her on all sides?
The fight is just beginning.
Faris has been forced to give up the man she loves for a dangerous but necessary alliance. Her loyalty is bound by a powerful spell to his future bride, the villainous Bryn. And her mother’s powerful spell that could be the key to saving Avinea fights with poisoned magic for control of her heart.
None of that matters though because everything Faris has done has been for Cadence, the little sister she’s been trying to rescue from the king’s slavery. Now they’re finally reunited, but Cadence has a gut-wrenching confession: she remembers everything from while she was under the king’s enchantment. She wants nothing to do with Faris.
Heartbroken, Faris focuses on tracking Merlock, the king who must be killed to stop The Burn, by manipulating her mother’s spell through her dreams. Before long though, Faris realizes these aren’t normal dreams, they might just be real, and they may show her a way to kill Merlock herself.
But there are things darker than poison that lie in The Burn, and not even the spell deep in Faris’s chest can stop them. Faris will again be faced with impossible choices. Does she risk everything to save Avinea, even if she might lose North and further betray her sister’s trust? Or does she succumb to the poison inside that begs her to think this time, finally, of herself?
“I am my mother’s daughter, and ten years ago she cut me open and made me stronger. I didn’t want to be a fighter, but I became one out of necessity—a consequence of her choice for me, which means my choice is simple. There are monsters in Avinea, and I have the ability to stop them.”
It has been 3 weeks, and Faris is still wallowing in self-pity for allowing herself to get caught up in something that gives her zero control over her actions. Faris finds herself a slave to the whims of Bryn who ends up marrying and binding herself Prince Corbin, the Prince that she and Bryn knew as North. Faris finds herself surrounded by enemies she cannot trust and loved ones she must give up. To make matters worse, her sister is still a puppet to a much large game, and Faris needs to wake up from her pity party before she loses Cadence forever.
The absolute heart breaking part is that Cadence truly believes that Faris left her behind and goes about tearing Faris heart to pieces allying herself with Bryn. The dangers of the Burn still threaten Avinea which means that Faris will have to journey into the Burn and find Merlock, the Avinean King who is responsible for the creation of the Burn and kill him if she is able to overcome so many odds against her. With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.
The ending is okay, but I absolutely agree with others in saying that the author definitely has left the door opening for a sequel to this series. There is no way that Faris and North, err, Corbin can leave things the way that were left off. They need to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I liked the backstory of Merlock and how Avinea got to the point where it is in this series. In fairness, I also felt for Corbin/North since he really was disrespected by not only Perrote, but his own people who see him as an absolute failure. Bryn is a straight forward villain with little redeeming values which is why I actually liked her so much. She doesn't change for anyone. She has a mission and nobody is going to get in her way.