Book: Blood & Honey
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Generally when I read the second book in a series I am a little apprehensive. I too many times have fallen in love with the first book only to hate the second. I am VERY happy to say that this is not the case with this series! This second book knocked my socks off. It was completely unique and amazing and built so well on the foundation laid down from the first book. Just a few things I liked that I want to get into more detail about include the magic system, the relationships and also the role of life and death in this book.
Before I jump into my review more, here is the summary of the book from Goodreads:
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.
Okay, first up on things that I loved in this book was the expansion of the magic system. We had laid out really 2 specific kinds of magic in the first book (seen in Lou and Coco), but this book expands that. We not only learn of the mermaids and werewolves, but also the extent of different witches as well as the gods and goddesses. I love that Shelby keeps peeling back layer upon layer of the magic in this world. This process of revealing more and different kinds of magic keeps the reader captivated and constantly wondering what is and is not possible here.
Another thing that Shelby does in this book that really captured my heart was her development of the relationships. I really adored the enemies to lovers relationship between Lou and Reid in the first book and I was really worried about losing that in this book. I had nothing to fear, because although no longer enemies, their relationship is incredibly complex and challenging in this book as well. Not only does their relationship grow and change but we get to see the friendship between Lou and several other characters change as well. We see Lou as a faithful and loyal friend to Ansel and Coco in this book and the lengths she will go to protect them. These relationships and friendships are incredibly heart wrenching and I can’t wait to see where they go in the next book.
The final piece of this book that really felt like a theme was the role of life and death. Much like how the last book left off on these themes, this book builds on that. Throughout the book we see our characters skirting death and literally changing the course of life by reversing probable death. This occurs exclusively through the use of magic, as Lou saves Reid many times but also see through new characters and magic as well. I am very intrigued to see where Shelby goes with this but I also liked that she showed the limits of this magic in not saving everyone as well. The topic of life vs. death is always an interesting one to tackle in books, but adding in the component of magic always makes it a more complex subject.
So yes, this is a solid 5 star read for me. I loved this book so much, but for entirely different reasons than the last book. This book felt far more complex for me, as the magic system grew and our hearts became more attached to the characters. I cannot wait to see where the rest of this series goes!