The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As sequels or middle novels go, this isn't bad in terms of padding, although at times the Lily sequences threatened to take over. And the plot does move forward, with the Tear attempting to repel the Mort invasion (the rattlesnakes were inspired!). But... the spousal sexual abuse and the cutting really bothered me. Not in the "it's good we're raising these issues" sense but in the "this feels, at times, like a rip-off of The Handmaid's Tale and an attempt to make a fantasy series issues-heavy" sense. Kesea is increasingly unlikeable - is it the sapphires? or just her character development? - which also detracts from what could have been an otherwise good trilogy. I did appreciate learning what led to The Crossing (and how it happened), and more about the Mort Queen, and several characters were more interesting Kesea, the Mace and the Fetch (not necessarily a good thing, series-wise). Of course there are serious unanswered questions to be followed up in the next book. With luck that book will return to the feel of the first.
ARC provided by publisher.