Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This series is breaking my head. There are so many tie-ins and surprises that I never know what to expect. The unique combination of gritty urban fantasy and insanely detailed world building makes these books take on a life of their own. Just when I think I have a handle on everything, we get an unexpected twist and I’m back at knowing nothing again.
This book gave us quite a few answers, which was completely satisfying. I’m not one who needs to know everything at book one, but I was starting to feel like we were never going to figure out Marion’s motives. I even came to grips with the fact that we said goodbye to Marion’s memories forever. I should have known that there would be way more plans in play. When last we saw Seth, he was dying (or his avatar was) and immediately following his death, Marion was forced to marry Konig in order to save the court. It seems like Marion is always put in impossible situations and forced to make an unenviable choice.
So, having made a choice for the good of the kingdom, does she get rewarded? No – she’s facing a possible uprising because it’s obvious that there is no love between Marion and Konig. On top of pretending to love Konig, Marion’s also got her mom to deal with, tasks from the mysterious Librarian (who may or may not be able to give Marion her memories back), and the never-ending desire to rescue Seth from wherever he is. Is it strange to want to rescue a god? Not in Marion’s world. I really don’t think it’s possible to summarize all the contents of the book in a review because even I had trouble keeping up. There’s double-crossing, rescuing, kissing, escaping, kidnapping, remembering, and lots of blood.
Overall, this delivered on so many levels yet left me hurting even more for Marion and Seth. Bonus, though, we get some very nostalgic flash-backs! This entire universe that the author has built can pretty much do no wrong. I am, however, looking forward to seeing where Marion ends up.
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