When shadow and glass come together, it might produce a power strong enough to take down the evil King Eidolon. Now Meren and Reven just need to figure out how to control it before darkness overtakes them all.
What’s it About?
My twin sister is the true queen of Aryd. She survives, hiding and clinging to life in the desert, while I reign as the false queen alongside the monstrous King Eidolon. There’s only one escape from this gilded prison: Reven. My Shadowraith. My heart. Only the shadows that he struggles to control are growing more sinister, more powerful.
It’s just a matter of time before they turn on him…and on me.
Even escape doesn’t mean true freedom, though, when we’re still on the run from Eidolon’s unstoppable armies. And when we discover there’s a traitor among us, I have no choice…I must become the queen I was never meant to be.
Because as one evil hunts me, the other loves me more than himself.
And my fate lies with both.
Alright, first things first. When this series ultimately concludes I am going to need to have the cover image of each installment displayed as wall art somewhere in my home. The saying goes that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let me tell you that each cover perfectly captures the majestic beauty and drama contained within its pages. It is a signal of the light surrounded by shadow, and the struggle of innocence against darkness that this entire series has come to represent. Abigail Owen proves once again in this second novel that she is a master world-builder, and you need to prepare yourself for how immersed you will become in this magical land she’s created, as it’s unlike any other which has come before.
The first book in this series blew me away with its introduction to the landscape of this world, and I relished how the sequel allows us a more up-close exploration of the idiosyncrasies of various dominions. We venture outside of the palace and village walls to see the rugged desert sands of Aryd and jagged ice sheets of Tyndra become characters in their own right. Beyond the diverse settings of the dominions, this second book also allows us to become fully entrenched in the history and mythology of this world. I once described book one as providing us with an info dump of fantastical details that were somewhat challenging to keep straight at times. The Stolen Throne fleshes out these details to the point where we are just as surprised as the characters to learn the truth behind what happened to the dominion goddesses of days gone by, and how their downfall interplays with the evil rising up to threaten our main characters. It’s a constant battle of good against evil, but somedays its hard to tell where the evil might be lurking.
The Diplomatic Queen
A standout feature of book one was seeing Meren come into her power over sand. Growing up in the shadows of her twin, Meren was only ever meant to serve as a stand-in for Tabra should anything tragic happen. Her ability to mold and control sand was never something that was deemed worthy of further study by her Omma. However, when Meren was pulled into the war against the shadow King Eidolon, Shadowraith Reven helped her realize that there was so much more to her power than transforming sand into colorful glass flowers. From glass weapon shards to portals which could transport them across dominions, Meren’s power was something she spent time practicing and manipulating, as it also gave her a strength and power to stand up and fight back.
Unfortunately, we see the focus on Meren’s power sort of take a back seat in this sequel. While Tabra suffers in the background from a ghostly poisoning of her soul for the majority of the book, Meren has to step into her shoes as the Queen of Aryd in an attempt to forge alliances with other rulers in their fight to take down Eidolon. It’s another side to Meren that she admittedly doesn’t feel comfortable in, as it forces her to take on an almost benevolent and submissive persona in the hopes of winning more allies to her side. I missed the spitfire that we met back in book one who was never afraid to speak her mind, even when kidnapped by her Shadowraith. We see hints that the curse which binds Meren to Eidolon might also provide her with some of his power over shadows, but again we never see Meren provided with the opportunity to train and explore this new skill with Reven. Hopefully it’s something we’ll see brought to the forefront in the next book!
A Romance in Disarray
The growing fight between Meren’s ragtag team of outsiders and King Eidolon continues to escalate in this book, and we’re constantly left wondering who will come out on top in the battle between good and evil. Shadows seem to lurk everywhere, even amongst friends. There is a need to come together as one unit, while also questioning who might be spying for the other side. This perpetual tug-of-war between trust and uncertainty finds its way into Reven and Meren’s relationship to result in one of the more frustrating aspects of this sequel. In book one there was an instant chemistry between Reven and Meren, even when considering that their relationship began from a case of mistaken kidnapping. The slow build of their connection was absolutely delicious to witness, and I was sorely disappointed that this aspect was fairly absent from this second installment.
Soon after rescuing Meren from the clutches of Eidolon, Reven & Co. escape away to the desert to gather forces while plotting out their next step. It’s during this time when Reven declares that even though he wants to be with Meren, he fears he won’t be able to control his shadows if they’re too close or spend too much time together. For a majority of the rest of the book we see Reven try to keep his distance from Meren, just as she spends her time pining after him with longing glances and declarations of the closeness she wishes they could share. Their bond was such a critical component of the first novel, so their physical and emotional distance from one another made the absence of this bond even more apparent with this read. The frustration continued to grow when we see Reven and Meren repeatedly ignore the instances when their physical proximity resulted in flashes of power for them both. While they eventually acknowledge that they’re stronger together than apart, it was too little too late when compared to their beautiful connection we saw in book one.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Dominions, book 2. I implore you to read this series in order. If you haven’t read book one you should seriously stop what you’re doing and get it for yourself. I mean…you can probably hold off for another 30 seconds to finish reading this review, but then seriously head on over to Amazon and add-to-cart already.
Would I befriend the heroine? It seems like Meren could use a friend right now. Especially one that isn’t plotting something nefarious behind her back, openly pining away for her affections, or looking to her to solve the problems of all the Dominions of this world. Maybe we could chill with some pizza and trash TV.
Would I date the hero? If you had asked me at the end of book one I might have said yes, but in this book Reven was a bit too moody and self-sacrificing for my taste. We’ll see how I feel by the end of book three!
Final Impressions: Even though I can’t say this sequel stood up to the expectations created by the first installment, this series has been an absolute wonder of world and character building. We get to further explore the dominions and different personalities of characters that we were introduced to in book one, and I can’t wait to see how everything will come together in book three. The romantic element was definitely lacking for me here, and it was kind of disappointing that we still didn’t have the chance to shine a light on Meren’s sister, Tabra, and the evil King Eidolon. They spend so much of their time in the background, and I was hoping for more of the deep-dive we witnessed for the other secondary characters. Consider yourself warned that you’ll struggle to put this book down once you pick it up. It’s quite a tome at 559 pages, but the end of each chapter immediately draws you into the next. This is the kind of book that makes you stay up hours after your bedtime!
Smut Level: Similar to book one, this read involves more intense glances than anything else. We are only privy to one love scene, which makes sense considering our characters are often engaged in battle or plotting how to destroy the epitome of evil. I could have used a bit more description in this scene to figure out how exactly Reven’s shadow powers entered the mix, but let’s just say I thiiiink they took on the shape of a tongue to…get involved.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Teen. 559 Pages.