My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: FF as well as hints of a NB/F and a agender/M romance
The enemy by me side.
The enemy in my heart.
Ari will never be the Heir again. Her younger sister, Dressa, was supposed to hold her place, but now Dressa’s stolen her future rulership.
Banished to a resort world to recover from her illness, Ari’s determined to reclaim her shapeshifting abilities and race back to the capital. But a young gardener with a mysterious past is taking too much interest in Ari’s new persona, and a possessive duke is bent on capturing her attention for himself.
Are they both after her heart, or something far more sinister?
Dressa won her freedom, won her bride—and won a kingdom she didn’t want. Now, with an alien crisis brewing, she has to step up as the Heir, and maybe, soon, as the ruler.
Because there’s a secret at the heart of the kingdom. A secret that spans her father’s entire rule and could bring everything tumbling down.
And she’s already let the enemy into her palace, and into her heart.
When no one is who they seem and every smile is a weapon, the Truthspoken must find their way to truth before the kingdom crumbles around them.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was excited to continue the story in book 2. The Shadow Rule is a great sequel and I enjoyed reading more about Air and Dressa as well as the other characters. I felt this book had a bit too much set up earlier on, lots of setting the stage for later reveals and I got a bit impatient for things to happen at times. The later half has a lot of those things playing out and there are some very exciting chapters where I had trouble putting the book down as I wanted to know what happens next. I enjoyed seeing it all play out and the way the last chapter ends makes me eager for the next book.
The Shadow Rule is told from multiple points of view like the previous book, but unlike the previous book all the characters are now facing their own issues instead of all the story lines being more or less related to the main events that are going on. Ari is on a planet far away trying to heal from the bruising sleep, but something is not quite right at the estate she’s staying at. Dressa is now the Truthspoken Heir and getting used to her new duties. There are mysterious attacks going on and Dress and the Seritarchus have to figure out what’s going on. Then there is Rhys who is going back to the military ship they serve on and they meet a magicker on the way there. While Maja is taking a break from ruling the kingdom. There is a lot going on and while I liked all the storylines, the switching could be a bit jarring for me. I often used the point of view switches as convenient stopping points. Due to the multiple point of view it also felt like it took even longer for things to start progress as it takes a while for events to progress with the breaks in between when the other point of view are there.
Despite those issues I really enjoyed this book. There is something fascinating about seeing it all play out, there is so much going on politically, but also on character level. It was interesting learning more about the truthspoken and the shapeshifting and also how they could ground themselves in their own personality and return to it. I liked learning more about the green magickers and green magics, which got more attention in this book than in book 1. There are some great twists and turns as well as exciting scenes, especially in the later book. And there are all these little hints and set ups and it makes me eager to see where everything is going.
I really like reading about these characters, they all have their own personality and their own issues. I like the way the characters are written and how they’re all interesting to read about. I like how we get to see many different points of view, although sometimes this means a twist or reveal for one character the reader already knew due to reading about it in another point of view. I thought Ari’s point of view was the least interesting at the start as not much is happening, but once things start happening there I got very invested in that storyline and seeing how she dealt with everything. I liked seeing how she immersed herself as Imorie and how that worked was very interesting. I thought having Eti’s point of view made Ari’s feel a bit slower as I already knew part of what was going on due to his point of view. Dressa’s storyline started off quite interesting, but then meandered onward a bit it felt to me. Iata and Maja’s storylines felt quite important to the plot in this book. And I liked the little glimpse of Rhys we got in the middle of the book even if it was only a few chapters.
This series is one where every chapter and event seems to slowly expand the world and world building. I liked what this book added and how bit by bit we learn more about the world and the people that inhabit it. This book touches upon the Kidaa, more about the green magickers, more about the how ruling system works and more about shapeshifting as well as other bits and pieces about various topics. I continue to enjoy the way the chapters start with a short piece from a letter or note from someone that adds to the understanding of the world and characters.
To summarize: This was a great sequel. I enjoyed reading about the characters and seeing the events play out. I felt this book was a bit slower and there was a lot of set up and hints of what was to come, especially in the earlier half, but the second half and especially the later chapters were really exciting with lots of things happen and are set in motion and I can’t wait for the third book. The characters all feel real and are interesting to read about. I like how the multiple point of views lets me read about many different characters, but the switches between point of views could be a bit jarring at times and made for convenient stopping points. I also thought having multiple point of views ruined a few reveals and twists that would’ve been more of a surprise if another character hadn’t already know it and through them the reader as well. This book expands on the world building and I liked learning more about the world, the green magickers and the truthspoken shapeshifters. This is such a great series filled with political intrigue and interesting characters and I look forward to book 3!