Sekhmet and the Curse by Caleb Ortega

I often find it interesting when I get a chance to review a sequel for books. Sometimes, I get to review a whole series, but most of the time, I only have the first book in the series cross my desk. This week, I got to read and review the second book in Caleb Ortega’s Warfare of the Gods series, only a week after it came out. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the ride of Sekhmet and the Curse. (Note, this review may contain spoilers for book one. I will try to avoid them, but the plot follows events of book one.)

1. Thoughts on the plot

Sequels, I find, can go one of two ways. They either begin directly after the events of the first book, telling the events in sequence, or they jump in time to somewhere in the distant future or distant past, building on events over and done with in the first book. This book does the former, following Sekhmet and her journey after the war in book one concludes. Sekhmet seems like she is the only one who cannot move forwards after the end of the war, still mourning her sister Bastet. She does not want to live in a world where Bastet isn’t around, so she decides to do the unthinkable and fetch her sister back from the land of the dead, Sheol. Teaming up with a couple of other gods, Sekhmet embarks on a perilous journey that could have greater consequences than even she can imagine.

The plot was very well paced, with events building upon each other quite well. There were few points where I felt things were moving too slowly, or too quickly, and I think that the pieces all fit together quite nicely. This segment of the series, I think, is what really leads to the potential for more, as events were not entirely resolved at the end (or at all, really), which means the next book is going to be very dramatic.

2. Thoughts on the characters

I think the characters that appeared in this book fit very well with how they were portrayed in book one, only possessing more involved characterisation, more involved backstories, and more depth. Sekhmet in particular showed a great depth of characterisation, building upon the broad strokes that were painted in the first book. I really liked her dynamic with the other gods, both of her sect and without it. Her single-minded determination to rescue her sister was both an endearing representation of familial love, and a little frightening, as she seemed to use this as a weapon against any and all challenges. I think her growth was great to read, up until about 2/3ds of the way through the book. Here, her growth and development sort of stopped, leaving her with a certain range of emotions and reactions without any other motivations or feelings. It makes sense, given where the plot was intended to go, but I think that the ending could have been made better, more impactful, had we seen more growth in Sekhmet, either in a positive or negative direction, rather than stagnation. Plot wise, it makes sense, but she felt a little stuck as a plot device at the end of the book, rather than a proponent of change.

3. Favourite part

I can’t say a whole lot about this bit, since it would spoil a great deal, but the maze and her escape from it was probably my favourite.

4. Critique

The only other critique I have for this book, besides Sekhmet’s character development, is that it needed another round of proofreading. There were a few more mistakes that made it through than should have done.

Overall, I think Sekhmet and the Curse was a good continuation on the story set about in the first book of Caleb Ortega’s Warfare of the Gods series. It sets up a number of interesting potential directions for the series to expand into, and I think it was an entertaining read.