We are back in Belle Haven as the Belladonna pack are dealing with the fallout from book 1, Mace has gone and Quinn is Mace, leading to even more fractured relations between Ember and Tristin. Meddling in the balance, the natural order of things, has led to more tragedy as the wrongs are righted and the pack find themselves despised. There is little time for mourning however as unnatural things start to happen, unusual deaths and gruesome displays send the pack down a path so full of twists and turns no-one can be sure who can really be trusted. The pack are keeping too many secrets from one another, leading them to become isolated from themselves. But they are forced to come together again though in the face of a new foe, a foe hunting and murdering packs and the Belladonna Pack is next in line.
Whilst book 1 left me struggling at times with wide array of characters, when I started book 2 that all fell away and I felt as if I was back with old friends. I fell into an easy rhythm with the book that I very quickly was unable to put down and found myself reading at every spare moment I got. I’m a massive sucker usually for a prologue and the flashback sections in relation to Mace really fed into that, I loved the background to his time in Victorian London, and getting to learn about how he became the Mace we know now. The fractured relationship between Ember and Tristin is realised with great sensitivity as the two struggle to come to terms with the people they love sharing the same body. Rhys and Kai hold the story together in my view, throughout everything that is going on and the deep regret and sadness coursing through the pack, their blossoming love story becomes full blown and helps ground the story from becoming too sombre at times.
The writing and the story very much felt like it was coming in waves building up to several nail biting climaxes which were either followed by joy, relief or more anxiety and I loved how it built you up for the final devastating endgame. I felt as though plenty of time was spent on each character allowing me to get to know them better, which perhaps was what I was missing during book 1. I felt a connection with all of them which I loved as it meant that across the 500+ pages none of the story felt surplus.
I feel that I have been a bit vague in my synopsis, but there is just so much going on with this that I would be talking for pages (and believe me I could) and I would struggle to avoid spoilers. It really takes you to so many places with such strong imagery throughout that you can’t help but become emotionally invested.
This is an amazing follow up to Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, the voice and style of the writing were right up my street and to be honest I’m left feeling a little lost now I’m finished.