The second book in a series can either fall flat, or really push the series forward. Or, as I have recently discovered, it can push the series forward and also make you want to grumble at the authors for ten minutes about that thing that they did at the end that really made the book, but also was just cruel to the readers. The Crown’s Burden by Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale does that.
1. Thoughts on the plot
The plot picks up where book one left off, with Ensula on the throne trying to reclaim her kingdom from the insidious forces that have been trying to take power. Adrik and her allies are trying to help her, but there is a lot getting in the way. The plot starts out relatively straightforward, with events seeming simple and just as one would expect for the new queen. Then, things get complicated. And twisty. And fantastic.
I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers for both book one and book two. I can say that it’s a great plot. Even the bit at the end that I’d like to complain about but can’t because it really helped the story along.
2. Thoughts on the characters
As I expected for this book, the familiar characters get an extra layer of depth and intrigue. They come into the book a little beat down, a little wiser than before, but the fight’s not over. I really enjoyed seeing them grow even further rather than just resting on their accomplishments from book one. And the new characters that were presented were just as interesting, with their own motivations and twisty secrets that almost matched the familiar characters. I like them all.
Except for Danroth. Read the book and you’ll understand.
3. Favourite part
The climax all the way to the ending. Not the bit that instigated the whole affair, because while it was exceptionally well done it was quite sad. The bit after, where everything went—there’s no better way to describe this—kaboom.
I don’t really have a critique for this book. It was entertaining, well written, twisty, and had characters I both loved and hated. And I keep mentioning that bit at the end, but it’s not a bad thing per se, just sad, which doesn’t earn a mention as a critique.
Overall, The Crown’s Burden is a great read, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Do read book one first, though, or you will be quite lost.