I started off by giving this book a three because I didn't think it was so bad that it deserved a two but then I realised a three meant that I actually liked the book and I didn't. This book was a big fat disappointment (no literally, it was 638 pages long).
It wasn't until page 84 (yes I remember somehow) that things started going downhill for me. For the first 84 pages, I was ready to be blown away by the awesomeness of this book but that didn't happen. Instead I read the second most disappointing sequel of the year (the first being Timekeeper). I thought that this book would help continue the streak of good books, but the streak finished before it even started.
The only reason why I am not giving this book a 1 is because the concept was still interesting (which is the only positive thing I am going to mention).
I had three main problems with the book
3. and their relationship
I really really really did not like Eona in this book. While she bothered me some in the first book it wasn't nearly as bad as it was this time around. She became a whiny and rather self centred girl in this one. I don't think she realised half the time that the world did not revolve around her own damn problems. Sometimes it seemed as though she was more bothered by the fact that Kygo and her couldn't have a real relationship than the imminent war.
Kygo wasn't any better either. He acted less like an emperor and more like a spoil brat. Every time something when wrong he would throw a tantrum. Right now I am very glad that I am not under his rule because with a emperor like him, I might as well just forget about myself because my life must revolve around his wishes. The only thing that makes him better than Eona was that he wasn't nearly as love sick as her.
Eona and Kygo together?? Huh? They acted like a bunch of horny teenagers. 'Heat' flared between them when they weren't even in close contact. Oh COMMON! Have I not read enough crappy romances, that one of the ones that I was actually looking forward to went down the drain? In the first book they were mostly acquaintances but somehow they went from acquaintances to umm being in love? Before I even get to that let me mention, there is a love triangle of sorts going on here. One relationship is based on love and the other on lust. And no, this one was not the lust one, this was the LOVE one. I am not even sure where the love come from. Thin air perhaps? It happens often enough these days in YA so why the hell not? They also have huge trust issues which definitely do not help in making their relationship better. If they really loved one another, they would goddamn trust each other. I believe that trust is very essential to a relationship and without it a relationship just won't survive.
I preferred Lord Ido to these two and that's saying something because I despised him in the previous book.
At least he is true to his purpose. He knows what he damn wants and he will get it no matter the cost. He is not exactly redeemed in this book but I will say, he does seem to get better.
Aside from that, this book really did bother the feminist in me. I know, I know, its a part of the world building but I cannot seem to shake off the unease that comes from reading how low a position women hold in this society. Eona seems to be the strongest woman in the book but she is too busy worrying about her relationship with Kygo so that doesn't really help matters.
I realise I haven't mentioned anything aside from characters and relationships and thats mostly because the faults in those two things alone just overshadowed the book for me, I could not enjoy the excitement or anything else that was going on and it wasn't until the last couple of pages where I started enjoying the book. Sadly that wasn't nearly enough to redeem it for me.
Hopefully people will have better luck than I did with this book.