by Maria V. Snyder
First sentence: “Worry and dread clawed at my stomach.”
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The problem with second books in a trilogy is precisely that: they are second books. They neither create nor resolve conflicts that are playing out over the course of the books. Their place is to advance the story, to create subplots, and to, well, make people want to read the conclusion. Which means, often, that they are either meandering or depressing.
In this case, it’s meandering that wins out. We pick up the story immediately after Storm Glass ends, with Opal facing the consequences of her new-found powers. Opal, as a character, is all over the map in this one: she’s moody, she’s mistrusting, she’s insecure, she’s trying to strike out on her own. She develops her romance with one of the leads, but yet can’t deny she has feelings for another. She wanders around in the dark abyss of second-book-in-a-series-dom, leaving us readers to wonder why on earth we’re reading this book (so we’ll be ready for the conclusion!).
Synder’s not on the top of her game in this book; while the world is still fascinating, it’s not quite enough to offset the wandering plot. Snyder has the characters go all over the place — so much time is spent traveling! — and introduces plots and subplots and characters that don’t go anywhere, or even do much to add to the initial story. It’ll all probably make sense when the third book comes out, but until then, readers are left hanging and wondering what this all means.
And until then, we can blame it all on it being the second book in a trilogy.