HERO OR VILLAIN? YOU DECIDE.
When she decided to become a vigilante, no one told 17-year-old Aria Fae about the possibility of public backlash, or the attention the media would garner by dubbing her The Masked Maiden of Grant City.
On top of this added heat, a rogue supernatural known as The Scarecrow has escaped his prison, and his history with Aria makes her the crazed warlock’s obvious target.
Now, she must face her past and defeat The Scarecrow once and for all, or die trying.
When things reach their worst, will The Masked Maiden be the hero Grant City needs, or the villain they’ve made her out to be?
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and the second one is no different. This book is filled with superheroes adventures, half-supernatural creatures, danger, evil villains, friendship and some romance drama added in. There was a lot to enjoy about this book and I easily got sucked into the story wanting to know how things went with Aria. It’s a bit dark, like the first book, there is an evil villain on the lose and he’s looking for Aria. And not every in the city is happy there’s a vigilante on the lose and they want to see The Masked Maiden arrested. The pace is really done well and I liked how the different plot lines mingled together. Having some school stuff, or more casual scenes intermingled with the danger and action.
The villain gave me the chills and not in a good way, he was so disturbing and I would almost say he’s completely evil and crazy. Let’s say I prefer my villains a bit more human and normal, this villain was one twisted creature and the things he did were absolutely disturbing and sometimes a bit too much detail for me.
But then there is so much I did enjoy about the book that I am still giving 4 star anyway. The world and characters Gordon has created in this series are so well done. The city comes alive and just like Aria I’ve come to care about this crime filled city with people who need protecting. And then there is the end of the book, gah I can’t believe the author went there. Have you ever read a book where the character makes a decision you know just isn’t right, but you can’t do anything to change that? I was so frustrated at the direction things took and I just couldn’t believe the decision the character made. In the end I did like how things ended and then we got a scene that’s the set-up for the next book and that ruined the nice content ending and added a sense of foreboding instead.
Aria is a great main character. I love how willing she is to help others and there are some great scenes where she shows that in this book. And it’s what makes her such a great superhero as well. And then there is her own struggle with who she is and where she belongs and her depression that picks up now and then. I thought her character was very well written. the only thing I missed a bit is knowing her feelings concerning certain characters, but more about that later. Aria and Sam their friendship was one of my favourite parts of the first book and it continues to be in this one, although I felt the focus on their friendship shifted a bit in favour of the love triangle/ square, I still enjoyed the scenes we did see. Sam is such a great friend for Aria and we see how much Aria helped Sam as well. And it’s great to see such a good friendship like their.
And that brings me to the romance. The romance was the one thing I wasn’t fully happy with as it turns into a love square. I am definitely team Thomas, he’s interesting, mysterious and I want to know more about him. I like the scenes between him and Aria and how he shows her he cares. But instead of the love triangle we had in book 1 we get a love square here with 3 potential love interest. And I just didn’t feel it. I felt her connection with Thomas and kept routing for them. But then there is Nick and Caleb as well. And while Caleb seems like a nice guy I don’t really feel his connection with Aria and he seemed more of an afterthought in this book, there only being 2 or 3 big scenes with him in it. Nick was on the foreground in this book and no mater how hard I tried I just didn’t like him and I didn’t see what Aria saw in him. We’re told they have a past, but I didn’t feel it. And I thought he was a bit arrogant with how he thought he knew what was best for Aria and his demanding tone. It just wasn’t working for me and I am pretty sure I know who she ends up with, but I also think it’s going to take some time to get there. At the end of the book i do feel one of them got removed from the race, so we’ll see how that goes in the next book.
This book could be best described as urban fantasy/ superhero genre in my opinion. The focus is on Aria her life in the city and we see enough of her normal life as well as the supernatural side of things. The fantasy aspect is mild, but nicely integrated in the plot. We slowly learn more about the supernatural world, but as that isn’t where this story takes place it’s not as important ad that works just fine for this series. We learn a bit more about the Halflings and how they are trained, there are quite some flashbacks in this book and while I got a bit tired of them after a while I also see where they served a purpose and it give me a feel of the Peace Brokers and Halfling society.
To summarize: I really enjoyed this book. It’s well written and I easily got into this book. I enjoyed following Aria her adventures in this book. There is a big bad villain again in this book that Aria is up against, while also getting some casual scenes of her life and friendships. I didn’t like the villain, we’re not supposed to I think, he’s twisted and does the most disturbing things. It even ventured into gruesome detail territory for me, but the rest of the book was good enough to keep me reading through that. There is also some chapters at the end that really frustrated me as I felt that Aria was making the wrong decision, but I liked how things got resolved eventually. I really like Aria an dhow helpful she is and always willing to help others, while she also has her own struggles. I also like her friendship with Sam and with Rose. I wasn’t a fan of the love square as I firmly one team. I didn’t feel her connection as much with the other two love interests. The world building is done nicely and through some flashbacks and other scenes we learn more about the halflings, peace brokers and their society in this book. All in all a solid read, that turned a bit too dark for me at times, but with enough to hook me and keep reading. I am looking forward to the next book!