Okami has been captured and Mariko will stop at nothing to rescue him. She tricks her brother and her betrothed Prince Raiden into believing she was being held by the Black Clan against her will and decides to play the part of the innocent bride to be and follow through on her plans.
I like the multiple perspectives given in the book, I felt they added more layers to the storyline and wove together the plot well. I felt each character was very distinguishable and had a distinct role to play in the storyline.
Mariko really matured a lot for me in this book. I felt she handled herself very admirably under immensely high-pressured scenes and maintained her focus and drive throughout the course of the book. Her tenacity and ingenuity was a highlight and her compassion really shone through the pages.
I actually quite liked Prince Raiden. Even though he is fiercely loyal to his brother as the Sovereign he still managed to display empathy and subtly defy his brothers orders without being traitorous. Even though he is made out to be quite unlikeable throughout the course of the book the fact that he got to redeem himself and his family was very satisfying to me.
Kenshin and his subplot was another aspect of the story that I was invested in. The fact that he is made out to the unwavering Samurai and the ‘Dragon of Kai” yet still succumbs to his own demons and the grief over the loss of his love was endearing and made him more genuine.
The build up and pacing of this book was very well done. There wasn’t really any point in time where I was bored and it was a very quick engaging read for me. The political and royal intrigue was very captivating and the plot really progressed in a way that I could not guess the outcome. I felt it kind of wrapped itself up a little too quickly and cleanly. There was definitely more opportunity to draw it out and build up the anticipation to more of a crescendo. It was just a little too rushed at the end. There are just a few components in the plot that wasn’t really finalised for me and there were moments that hinted that there was more to the story and this just didn’t feel like the ending to a duology more so a second book in a trilogy. I would pick up a third book in a heartbeat!
⭐️4/5 stars I was highly invested in these characters, loved this duology, wanted a trilogy!