(The House of Arkhangel'sk #2)
by Jane Kindred
by Jane Kindred
Paperback: 400 Pages
Publication: August 14, 2012 by Entangled Select
Against the pristine ice of Heaven, spilled blood and a demon’s fire will spark celestial war.
The exiled heir to the throne of Heaven, Grand Duchess Anazakia, and her demon companions, Belphagor and Vasily, have made a comfortable home in the Russian city of Arkhangel’sk, but their domestic bliss is short lived. When their daughter, Ola, is taken as a pawn in Heaven’s demon revolution, the delicate fabric of their unorthodox family is torn apart—threatening to separate Belphagor and Vasily for good.
Anazakia is prepared to move Heaven and Earth to get her daughter back from Queen Aeval, risen in Elysium from the ashes of temporary defeat. But Aeval isn’t the only one seeking Ola’s strange power.
To conquer the forces amassing against them, Anazakia is prophesied to sacrifice one close to her heart, while Vasily’s fire will prove more potent than anyone suspected. In the ultimate battle for supremacy over Heaven’s empire, loyalties will be tested and secrets will be revealed, but love will reign supernal.
◆ A copy was provided by Entangled Publishing for review ◆
The Midnight Court picks up in the world of man, where Anazakia is in hiding with her daughter Ola, Belphagor, and Vasily. Love is there as Ola's nanny, and they have Nephilim guards. However, all is not well. Vasily and Belphagor's relationship is strained; and with Belphagor back, Vasily and Anazakia aren't sure how to act around each other. In fact, there's a lot of tension in the relationships, especially with the introduction of some new characters.
While I didn't enjoy this book as much as the last one, it does what I expect of a second book in a trilogy. It further develops the relationships among the different characters while deepening the plot and introducing us to the various factions rising in Heaven. I enjoyed getting to know Love better, though I wish it could have been in a better situation. Kidnapped along with Ola, Love finds herself abused and struggles to maintain a semblance of normalcy with her charge. I admire her strength of heart, and she's now one of my favorite characters. Belphagor, however, I like less. I don't like the way he treats Vasily; even if it's a way of courtship for them, Belphagor acts more like Vasily is a possession of his.
The writing also didn't work for me. It'd been bugging me since book one, but it really irritated me in this book how much telling goes on in this story, which is disappointing considering how good the battle scenes are. I wanted to see the scenes play out instead of having the characters summarize things. Sometimes, it feels as though there are too many characters narrating events. While I like seeing what goes on in different places, much of the summarizing may be due to effort of filling in the reader on so many events going on at the same time. Also partly due to the many changes in POV, the sex scenes seemed random as if they were added to the story simply for the sake of having them. If there's going to be sex in the story, it needs to have a reason to be there or at least feel like it belongs.
What I like most about this story is how Anazakia grows more into her role as the last surviving member of a royal family. She seems and acts more like a queen, and she has a better understanding of the way the world works. She's no longer the naive princess she used to be. With the various factions established, book three promises more action.
Comes back tomorrow for my review of The Armies of Heaven and an interview with author Jane Kindred as a part of the tour for the book!