“Victor” is the second book in the Eden East series, and you really do need to read the first book before jumping into this story, as Black doesn’t do a ton of recapping, which I like! I don’t like spending chapter after chapter just going over past information, but at the same time, I did have a bit of a hard time remembering some of the smaller characters… Still! This book picks up right where we left off, with the slain Victor coming back to enact his revenge and to push Eden and her Balancer (think husband/soulmate) towards a prophecy that will change their world forever. Black has an incredible ability to make each chapter gripping and leave you wanting more. The world of Truintor is fascinating and the struggle Eden finds herself in is extremely compelling; I felt all the feelings during this book and enjoyed it a great deal more than the first book, which is saying a lot as I enjoyed the first book! There are only a few things in this story that left me a little less than satisfied.
Like I mentioned, Black’s writing is a joy to read. The flow is perfect; everything in the story has a reason for being there, so the pacing was—to say the least—fast-paced but without breezing over crucial elements. The world felt much more defined this time around, even if it was a bit odd that all the major players are all kind of related to each other in some way. We get a bit more of the prophecy in this novel, as well as a lot more of Eden and Trey’s relationship, as well as Eden’s struggle with her best friend. All those interpersonal relationships felt so real, Eden’s jealousy and her yearning to preserve the little she has left… it hits you right in the gut. But outside of a bit more robust world building and more specifics on the prophecy, a lot of the story was a continuation of the first book: fixing all the things left broken from the first novel in the series. Which is fine, except part of me still wants to see these magical Keepers go to Earth and start balancing! I’m not sure how long this series will be, so I’m sure there will be a book where we get to see just that at some point, but it still feels a bit disconnected from the current story.
If you enjoy incredible fantasy worlds, magic, and some science fiction with steampunk flavors, this series will not disappoint! And if you like action scenes that feel like a movie with a twist on “there are only two sides to a prophecy” trope, then pick up this book! However, I will say that I don’t think this is a young adult novel, more of new adult. There is enough language to be noticeable, and that’s on top of the violence, drinking, and the sex. It’s not graphic like some books that claim to be YA, but given the main characters are in “college” and are married, and therefore have sex (and it plays a pretty prominent role in the book), I’d still classify this as more new adult than anything else.
Now, my hang-ups really come at the end of the book, outside of wanting to see the Keepers you know, do what they are supposed to. The book ends in a way that is so similar to how the first book ended that it makes me worried that book 3 won’t be all that different than “Victor”. I ache for Eden, sure, and I want nothing more than to help her kill Victor again (and again for good measure, because that guy sucks for reals). While the ending was epic for the big battle scene, that’s also what we got in the first book with a very similar outcome. And while it makes sense with all of the dreams Eden has, I was still hoping for something different enough to where that parallel wouldn’t be as obvious to me, maybe? Still, I really enjoyed the fast-paced nature of this book, I love all the different magic systems, and Black can—simply put—write great, compelling stories! I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, as my soul needs Eden to end so, so many people at this point. So that’s why I’m giving this book a well-deserved 4.5 stars, and thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for review!
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