I’d originally picked up this book in the library, knowing I had the first novel in the series at home in my to be read pile. Though after reading the first novel, ‘Dinner With a Vampire’, I was debating taking it back and just not bothering. ‘Dinner With a Vampire’ was absolutely dire, and basically romanticised an abusive relationship.
I’m glad I was stubborn enough to stick with it though – this was so much better! The writing quality was so much better, and the standard of plot was of a much higher quality too. Arguably, this probably should have been the first novel in the series – Autumn Rose’s story line happens just before Violet Lee’s does. However if I’d read this novel and loved it, I would have been very disappointed moving on to the next novel.
Abigail Gibbs described her Sagean characters in more detail in this novel, and delved more into the lore behind her creation. This was really interesting, and was more of what I’d expected from the first novel. I loved the concept of the Sage, and I loved learning more about the culture behind the idea.
While the plot was more air tight in this novel than it was in ‘Dinner With A Vampire’ – for example STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENED – there were still some slight niggles I had with the narrative. Gibbs once again stressed her concept of the Dark Heroines, but didn’t really explain what they were for. It was more of a hunt for these heroines, rather than starting with an inciting incident – like this war she keeps barking on about but doesn’t actually start – we’re fussing over finding these girls without any idea of why they’re so significant. While this novel was so much better than its predecessor, it was a little frustrating to have to keep wondering why we were meant to be bothered about these Dark Heroines.
I loved the new, unique world of the novel that was presented to us. Plus, the romance wasn’t AS annoying as it had been in the first novel – mainly due to Fallon being a much more likeable character than Kaspar – though there were some controlling aspects to his actions towards Autumn that I didn’t like.
This novel was going so well until Gibbs brought her two characters from the first novel into it within the last few pages – ARGGGH! It just made me realise how much I hated Kaspar as a character, and how their ‘romance’ was nothing to aspire to. It just made me want to tear my hair out! This novel had been so much better than the first novel, but this just dragged it down. Gibbs also seems to like slut shaming characters – I’m sorry, but if these female characters were male no one would bat an eyelid so I think this is a very dangerous thing to be teaching young girls. Don’t be promiscuous or people will judge you! Well I’m sorry, but we shouldn’t be teaching young girls to act a certain way just so people don’t think certain things about them. We should be teaching them not to care what other people think. We shouldn’t be teaching them to hate each other – it’s not a healthy attitude to be passing on to impressionable readers.
The ending was a little disappointing, as it left the story unfinished. Again Gibbs hinted at another heroine, but didn’t really end it with a satisfying conclusion. Especially as there is apparently no third book in the pipeline, it’s annoying to not know what’s going to happen to the Heroines. It made the novel feel incomplete. There wasn’t really an ending. I’d give it a 3/5 because it was so much better than the first novel, and had been going so well up until the ending in Athenea.