Here we are: at the second book of this trilogy and I’m not much happier (see first review).
It’s clear that the plot now is really a “game of thrones”. The ruling Queen, Mary, has yet to name a successor and there are factions who are really unhappy with her rule. Her choices are her sister, who is considered an enemy as she now lives in Rosia, Freya’s long-time adversary; or her brother who is a crude, unpredictable brute. Choosing either one will certainly precipitate a civil war. Her spymaster, Sir Henry, is determined to support his beloved Queen but even he is unhappy with the choices and the situation becomes more dire when he learns Queen Mary is dying.
The most logical choice is the legitimate heir, Prince Thomas. The problem is that both the Queen and Sir Henry regard Thomas as a Pretender whom they see as raising an army and fomenting rebellion to take the throne by force. Things are not as they seem. Prince Thomas is a victim of his mother’s machinations and he really wants no part of the Freyan kingdom. At least, not at first.
Kate is on the run since she is under suspicion for killing two dragons in the first book. Her own dragon partner, Dahlgren, distrusts her and with a heavy heart he turns back to the ruling dragons and submits himself to their justice. Dahlgren is considered a deserter from events in the first trilogy. When Kate learns where he’s gone, she moves heaven and earth to get to his side to testify on his behalf. She is desperate to both support him and to convince him that she is innocent. Along the way she meets Prince Thomas’ intended, Princess Sophia.
There is a love interest equal almost to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in that Kate and Thomas are in love and Princess Sophia has fallen in love with Thomas’ best friend, Pip. But Sophia and Thomas understand that their alliance must culminate with a marriage to bring peace to both kingdoms.
Kate and Sir Henry begin to put together the pieces of the fomenting rebellion and understand who’s really behind it all. Even if Prince Thomas’ army succeeds in placing him on the throne, he discovers he’ll only be a controlled figurehead.
I still feel that the plot tends to ramble and it just doesn’t feel cohesive. I am not engaged with any of the characters. In fact, there are so many protagonists it feels confusing and there is no one clear character leading the story. The title implies it should be Kate. My other problem with the title is that the series is named The Dragon Corsairs which I found very confusing. The Dragon Corsairs were a thing in the first trilogy but don’t exist in this trilogy. I just don’t see the connection.
The worldbuilding didn’t advance past what we learned in the previous book, as I’d hoped it would. There is bit more description of the breath and we actually visit the land beneath the breath which is, I assume, an actual planet. But we’re there for such a brief time, there’s no time to learn anything about it. And it ends with a cliffhanger and I really hate that. Overall, a disappointment for this reader. ~~ Catherine Book
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