My Rating: ★★★★½
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg builds her bewitching world of beasts and betrayal as the Numina Series continues.
Sandis has escaped Kazen’s grasp, but she finds herself unmoored, reeling from her thief friend Rone’s betrayal.
Kazen has been hurt but not stopped, and he’ll do anything to summon the monster that could lay waste to the entire world. Sandis knows she must be the one to stop him, but with her own trusted numen now bound to another, and finding herself with no one she can trust, she is in desperate need of allies. Rone seems determined to help her, but Sandis has no intention of letting him get close to her again. What she doesn’t know is how much Rone gave up to protect her. Or how much more he is willing to give up to keep her safe.
As chaos mounts, Sandis must determine whom to trust. After all, the lines between enemy and ally have never been less clear…and corruption lurks in the most unlikely of places.
As this is the sequel for “Smoke & Summons”, please be aware that there may be spoilers in this review.
The first book in this trilogy left me feeling a bit disappointed, but I was still looking forward to the second book. That said, I was not keeping up and following the release dates, so had no idea that the sequel was going to be released two months after the first one. The only reason why I discovered the sequel was by chance; I was browsing through Audible, looking for a book to use one of my credits on when the cover for Myths and Mortals popped up. At first glance, I thought it was the first book but then I read the title and realized that it was the sequel to Smoke and Summons! I immediately purchased and downloaded it, a little surprised at how unexpectedly excited I actually was to have the sequel already.
Things I Liked:
Considering how the first book ended with a cliffhanger (which I already saw coming way before the ending), I was so glad that Myths and Mortals jumped right back in where we left off. We finally meet Sandis’s missing relative whom she had been searching for since the beginning, but under unexpected and worrisome circumstances. Thankfully, it wasn’t long until the whole façade fell away and Sandis was forced to realize that the place and person whom she thought would provide her a real family was only a slight improvement to her former life with Kazen as a Summoner’s Vessel. I rejoiced with the fact that Sandis has way more agency in this sequel, something I found lacking in the first book and mentioned disliking in my review for Smoke and Summons.
Sandis was definitely one of my favorite characters this time around – she absolutely shined in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her character grow and mature, even after being betrayed and heartbroken. Her character arc was so dynamic and had so many layers; I was either sympathizing with her, cheering her on, feeling heartbroken on her behalf, or being impressed by her newfound strength and courage. She’s more wary around Rone this time and repeatedly expresses her distrust of him, rightfully so. Although it was painful to see her so angry and depressed (I’ve told Charlie how I actually teared up very early on in the book), I knew she had every right to be especially towards Rone. Hell, my heart hurt for Sandis when he betrayed her. But what really surprised me was that, like Rone, I never realized that he had another option until Sandis pointed it out. It wasn’t one choice against another, there was a third choice that he – and I, as the reader – failed to see and that choice would have preserved the tentative bond between her and Rone.
Rone was my favorite since the first book but I didn’t know I would end up liking him more than I already did. His redemption arc in this book felt so natural and was very satisfying; I loved seeing Rone’s character transition and growth. Maybe sometimes I’m just a fan of angst because I thoroughly enjoyed the struggle Sandis and Rone’s relationship went through in this book, too, and how they had to learn to apologize and forgive and then eventually love. Theirs was definitely a slow-burn type of romance because in the first book, trying to find clues on how they felt about one another felt like searching for bread crumbs. I hoped there was and sometimes there were small hints, but that was about it until this sequel and the hopeless romantic in me was all for it. There were several times when Rone realized something crucial that he should have said way sooner and, even though I had fleeting thoughts about those very same things, it felt like such a revelation and felt so satisfying seeing when he came to those realizations on his own.
I’ve heard many authors say, that writing the second book in a trilogy is a challenge because you need to introduce a wider picture than was initially shown in the first book and raise the stakes even more, but also make sure you’re not just writing a filler story. This was definitely not a filler book and the stakes were undoubtedly raised to levels I did not even realize existed. Compared to the first book, the sequel felt more fast-paced and had me enraptured and at the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.
Things I Disliked:
THAT CLIFFHANGER THO.
Okay, technically I didn’t dislike the cliffhanger, it just made me yell “WHAT NO!” when it abruptly ended. Lol I had a slight inkling that the last plot twist was going to be what it was about three quarters of the way through after the farm scene, but the way it suddenly ended really caught me off-guard. I don’t know why I believed it wouldn’t end at a cliffhanger; I was too trusting. Haha
I can’t wait until September 17 for the last book in this trilogy, so hallelujah thank you Charlie for the heads up that the third and final book, Siege and Sacrifice is available on NetGalley!
About the Author:
Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah.
Thanks for joining me today and checking out my review for Myths and Mortals! Have you started reading the Numina trilogy yet? If you have, or are planning to, let me know in the comments!
Until next time!