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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Fresh back from their last adventure in the Nevernever, with no intention of going back any time soon, he settles in to be a normal boy, doing normal things, like taking his girlfriend on a date. But that just doesn't seem to be in the cards. Keirran is missing and Annwyl is fading fast and before we know it Ethan is on his way back into adventure, whether he likes it or not.
I enjoyed this almost as much as I enjoyed the first one. Though many people still find Ethan too sullen and grumpy to like because he's personality was different in the original, but I still have no problem with him. I'd like to believe that I could understand the temperament change after dealing with the loss of Meghan, but I'll never know since I started off here. I find it so easy to sympathize with him after all he's been through. It's hard to imagine him being as open and easy going as Kenzie is because of all the loss he has suffered and the constant torment of the fair folk. I found it a bit refreshing to watch him find with himself over his dickish tendencies to push people away. I read way too many overbearing male characters in YA, it was fun to be behind his eyes for once and also to have one who obviously truly agonizes over the fact that he acts like a jackass. Not one who has a great excuse for it, but never really shows remorse.
Then there is Kenzie, who is just as stubborn and bubbly as before. She is also just as sick as before, causing a great deal of concern for Ethan and me. I swear, if she fucking dies, I'm going to be so angry. I'm aware that Ethan making any sort of fairy deal goes against everything he believes in, but if that is what it takes, he better fucking do it. Kenzie cannot die, period. Without her, Ethan will go back to being an asshat fulltime with no one to rein in the inner jerk. We cannot have that. Her determination to live her remaining days as she chooses, regardless of anyone else's opinion, including her friends, family, and doctors is admirable. She knows she doesn't have long left on this Earth and refuses to spend what time she has left being locked in her room. Watching her brave everyone's rage, not to mentions the dangers of the Nevernever, was awe-inspiring. I hope if I'm ever called on, I can be half as brave as her.
Puck makes another glorious appearance here. Seriously, this guy is so amusing, there just aren't words. He's ability to swoop in and save the day, but always with a smile and a sarcastic comment, regardless of the amount of danger they are all in kept me snorting the entire time. I want to go back and read all the original Iron Fey novels strictly to get more of him. Seriously, he's the best character ever. I think he may be my favorite YA male ever. The fact that he is based on a Shakespeare character doesnt' even tarnish my love for him and that alone should speak volumes. Grimalkin is also a character I enjoy. He reminds me so much of the Coraline cat.
Kierran, however, is now a character I'm now on the fence about. I really liked him in the first book, and enjoyed his determination to save Annwyl against all odds was endearing as hell. Devotion to your true love even though you know if you succeed in your quest, you still won't be together should have had me swooning immediately. Initially it did, but the further we get into the novel, the less I liked him and by the end....well the only thing I can say is WHAT THE FUCK KIERRAN? SERIOUSLY? ***SPOILER****You stabbed Ethan?!?!?!? I mean, I know you'd do anything to save Annwyl and breaking the veil will forever halt the fade, but seriously? You made a very distinct statement in the beginning about how you do not sell out family and then you fucking kill your uncle? Leaving out the fact that to take down the veil, Ethan must perish, but millions of human lives will most likely be taken as well because they don't know how to handle the fairies. Annwyl will never forgive you for this. I don't know how your parents are going to react, but I think we can rest assured that Meghan will not be happy.****END SPOILER****
The biggest reason this gets 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. This cliffhanger rivals Tellulah Darling's My Date From Hell. Julie, how can you do this to me? How can you do this to all your fans? You lull us into a false sense of security by wrapping things up nicely at the end of The Lost Prince, saving the shudder inducing ending for book two. Can I just advise all authors that if you plan on using the horrid cliffhanger ploy, at least have the decency to do it in the first book, because if you end the first one with a solid ending, we readers are overjoyed, but once we get to the end of two and get hit the whatever whammy you have in store for us, it's that much worse because we weren't expecting it at all. I feel like I've been punched in the face. That ending was just so terrible and there is absolutely no information up for the next one. It has no cover art, no description, not even a damn title.
If you enjoyed the first of this series, you'll definitely love this. It's filled with action, adventure, romance, and just enough snarky comments from our dear Puck to keep anyone entertained. Kagawa has this magical quality to her writing that you cannot stop yourself from becoming addicted to the story. You just have to keep going because you must know what happens next. Add to that the fact she named one of her chapters "The Apple Orchard Of Doom" and really what else do you want?
****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****