Rating: 4 out of 5
* I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. *
Three-quarters through this book I was literally alternating between flapping my hands around and covering my eyes, because I couldn’t bear to see what happened next… and at the same time I HAD to know what happened next. “Shadow of Flame” was a fantastic read, with an absolutely gripping plot and some much-anticipated character developments. I think the expectation in a trilogy is that the second book is the “filler”, but this book was as action- and romance-packed as the first one!
Visceral want crackled between them. Not lust, though that was definitely part of it. Just… need for closeness that made it impossible to move away. (Kindle Loc. 1229)
This novel picks up right where “Soul of Smoke” left off; it’s been six weeks since Kai and Rhys parted, and Kai alternates between missing her heartsworn so much that she can barely function, and being glad of the space that allows her to think rationally. But when a series of events unfolds, Rhys has to call Kai, Juli, and Ashem home. The only problem? Rhys isn’t willing to tell his people about Kai yet, and Kai isn’t thrilled about being his dirty little secret.
First off, I’m so excited that we got more of Juli and Ashem’s relationship… and with a twist that I not only didn’t see coming, but had me gasping out loud. I didn’t like Juli much when she appeared in the first book, but I really grew to love her in this one because she’s a good balance for Kai.
“This is what I do, jāné del-am. It means sometimes I don’t sleep.” He switched to speaking in her head. “You’ll have to get used to it.”
Juli raised an eyebrow. “You’re about to get used to a few things yourself. Like celibacy.” (Kindle Loc. 1307)
And Kai and Rhys’ relationship evolved as well, turning into something really beautiful as Kai finally opened up and began to trust Rhys! Just because there’s a soulmate plot doesn’t mean both characters have to be immediately on board with it, so I appreciated Kai’s reluctance to just give in. But they’re honestly just really adorable together!
A smile teased one corner of his mouth. “You have a tendency to fall from things, George. I just assume it’s my job to catch you.”
Despite everything, Kai laughed. (Kindle Loc. 2354)
The plot was incredibly predictable at times for the reader, but was written in such a way that the characters clearly had no idea what was about to happen. This mean the foreshadowing had me wringing my hands in terrified anticipation. I had to put the book down a few times because I was so afraid of what was about to happen to my beloved characters!
I was going to give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, but knocked it back down to 4 solely because of that predictable plot. It was great in many ways, but at times I wished there were a few surprises for the characters AND the reader.
Still, it takes an incredibly talented author to write a novel that ties your emotions up in a knot. I am, as Spock would say, emotionally compromised by these characters, and I can’t wait for the third book to see what happens to Kai, Rhys, and the rest of their friends!
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