I absolutely adored Ruined, the first book in this series, so when Avenged came up on Edelweiss to review, I jumped at the chance.
That was in 2016, ahead of the May 2017 release date.
That was before my life changed forever and I only read 12 books in 2017. Unfortunately Ruined was not one of them.
But with a fresh start in 2018, I picked Ruined up again and was ready to delve back into the world of violence, magic, royalty, legacy, swoony romance, and a strong bond between sisters.
I enjoyed Avenged while I was reading it, but it didn't have the desperate need to turn the page and find out what happened next that Ruined did. I enjoyed the new characters, the development of the old, and the never-ending violence that happened, especially when Olivia was nearby. I really loved how we got to see some points of view from Olivia and Aren. I loved watching Aren go from being the perfect Ruined warrior to something a little more, and questioning his loyalties. I really loved how everyone each had their own agendas which clashed and caused the plot to move forward in an organic way.
However there was something that was missing, and I'm not quite sure what. The plot, perhaps, was a little less exciting that Em's plan to infiltrate the enemy royal house by impersonating a foreign princess and marrying the prince as she did in Ruined. There seemed to be a lot of travel involved in this one, which on the one hand was great as we got to see other kingdoms, but on the other hand, it was travelling. The stakes didn't seem to be quite as high in this book. It seemed that Em was almost invincible: the Lerans won't hurt her, the Olsans wont hurt her, the Ruined won't hurt her... even though she did really risky things, it was more risking the chance for peace than her own life.
Maybe I just miss the Em who murdered a princess in cold blood on the opening pages of Ruined.