First Impression: This one starts a little slowly, and I miss Gavril. That being said, I like how Armstrong ties this one to the first one. She makes comments here and there to remind the reader about what happened before but not in a way that feels overly repetitive. I also like how she uses sorcery and the shadow stalkers in both similar and different ways from the first book--making them living elements of the storyline that change but stay similar enough to be recognizable. Tyrus is a great character, but I wish he wasn't a love interest for Moria, because...Gavril! Hello! The dynamic between the sisters, Ashyn and Moria, plays out perfectly the aftermath of their separation in the first book. I'm curious to see how the war and the relationships will play out.
Conclusion: As my son would say, "What are you [Armstrong] doing to my brain?!" Seriously, she should write for TV shows. These cliffhangers are going to kill me, but this series is amazing and totally worth it. I love how the author can go from action to discussion, intrigue to open honesty between characters without a beat. The story flows so smoothly switching between Ashyn's and Moria's experiences. And they each have an interesting part to play in what happens. Gavril and Tyrus...hm...what can I say that won't give anything away if you haven't read it? Okay, all I will say is this: Moria doesn't do what I want her to do as a character; she does what I would probably do if I were really in her situation. I am so ready to read the third book, and Armstrong doesn't even have a publication date scheduled for it yet! I've heard rumors that this will end with the next one, but I really hope she makes the series longer, because I feel like there's so much she could still do with such interesting characters. I can't wait!
Recommendation: Read Sea of Shadows first, or this book will not make much sense.