Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole (Book #2 - Arcana Chronicles)

Your Book Rating: 
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole does it again! Although Endless Knight is part of a YA series, it will not disappoint those how have learned to love her Immortals After Dark series or anyone who is just starting with her books. This is the second installment of her Arcana Series and should be read after Poison Princess (Book #1 of the Arcana Series) as it picks up directly after the last chapter of the book.

Personally, I found the pace a little slow, mainly because this is an on-going series where one event directly leads to the next, so there are no real endings to each of the books until the entire series ends. However, once you reach the end of the book, you will always wish for more. Kresley Cole leaves you in the worse type of cliffhanger (in a very good way) you can imagine. I, myself, almost screamed in frustration when I finished the last chapter in Endless Knight as I realized I will have to wait another year for the Book #3 in the series to find out what will happen to our sexy Cajun, Jack, as it is scheduled to publish in Fall 2014.

Summary:
The rain that the Fool has been warning Evie, the Empress, about had started to pour after her encounter with the Hermit and acquired his icon. Finally, she realized her powers and was no longer the helpless girl that she had been ever since the Flash, the apocalypse that killed most of the living and turn many into Bagmans - thoughtless zombies. Allying with the Fool, Huntress and Magician she finally remember the game, where there will be only one winner, one survivor.

Jack, her sexy Cajun, had seen her using her powers to control plants and her appearance turning into that of a red witch and was horrified at what he saw, but there were little time to adjust as they are immediately chased down by Bagmans, other arcana cards and cannibals. When they finally had the time to talk things over, Jack decided he was more upset with her keeping secrets from him.

Death had been taunting her in her head through the Fool since the beginning of the game. Now he appears before her and threatens her friends and allies. Her only choice was to go with him. His words are menacing, but he brings her back to his castle and let her roam free. He wouldn't let her near him, but when she was not looking, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. There were history between them, things he would never forget... things she forgot over and over and she must figure these things out before history repeats itself.

What I liked:
I know I haven't written a review for Poison Princess, but one of my biggest problem with that book was that I didn't like Evie, the female protagonist, in the first half of that book. I generally have no issues with main female characters who does not possess strong personalities (I actually prefer them a little mellow rather than having too strong a personality), but her attitude in the first half of the first book of the series was "princess" like... in a bad way. She was a bit snobby, imo, and had nothing to contribute while on the run after the apocalypse. But things have started to change in the second half of that book and by the beginning of Endless Knight, she was much more likable.

Something that I really like about Kresley Cole's books is that she has a way of writing about changes in characters that are logical and believable. Some authors attempt to write about a change in the way a character thinks and acts and end up making it awkward or the change was so sudden that it doesn't make sense. KC has the talent to write about these changes and make the transitions smooth and realistic, which enhances the story reading rather than ruining it. Evie was put into a leadership role in this book and was able to contribute some good ideas and save the day several times. She definitely held her own throughout the majority of this second installment rather than entirely depending on Jack like in the first installment.

Jack was as sexy as ever and there was almost nothing that I don't like about him... ok, maybe his only flaw is that he drinks a bit much. He is protective and, although he is a mortal and does not wield any magic, he more than holds his own. Even after he saw Evie with all her power (and she could easily kill him with one thought) he still wants to protect her and does his best to do so.

Death received the most character development in this installment of the series as it was his first real appearance half way through this book. In the Poison Princess, he appeared only in dreams through what the Fool wants Evie to see and what the Empress saw in her past life.

Overall, I love the character development in this book. How Evie seems to have a bit of a split personality, between herself and the red witch Empress, is interesting and certainly explains a lot about her past encounters with Death.

Character interactions were also wonderful. There is so much chemistry between Evie and Jack and Evie and Death. Both Jack and Death are absolutely adorable in very different ways... ummm... not the way you say "awww, cute!!" though.

Another thing I thought was very nicely executed by KC was how she handled Evie's feelings toward the later of the book. She genuinely loves Jack, despite she realize he had kept some very important secrets from her, but she was also wildly attracted to Death. I like how it was not a sudden change of heart thing for Evie and neither was she just latching on another guy as one had hurt her badly. I also like the fact that after the initial shock of knowing the secret Jack had kept from her, she could see reason, although she was not yet able to face him yet.

As much as I love reading love triangle themed stories, some just didn't feel right, especially when the girl ends up having feeling for both guys. So far, I have not yet felt that Evie was playing the guys, as I have felt in other similar story plots before. I certainly hopes KC keeps it up.

What I didn't like:
Like I mentioned before, I found the story to be a bit slow moving. It was the same problem with the first book. To be honest, if I would have picked up Poison Princess or Endless Knight without having read and loved KC's other works, I might have stopped within a couple of chapters. One can certainly argue that it is natural for these types of stories. It is meant for a series where things happen over several volumes, but I would have like the pace to be a little quicker.

There is also a decent portion of the story where they are running from the bagmans, cannibals and other psycho beings and I found those chapters to be a little lacking. Now, I'm not saying it is bad and I want to skip the pages, but they, unfortunately, were not page turners.

Although this is a continuing series and much of the story is to be revealed over several books, I felt like it didn't have a big theme and a big event. I mean, yes, many things happened, Death and his relationship with Evie was introduced and, temporarily solved, but the big climax didn't feel like something that was built since chapter 1 of the book. Rather, the book read like two separate sections. Section I - Jack, Section II - Death. It worked for Poison Princess, because it was Section I - Pre-Flash (apocalypse), Section II - Post-Flash, but it didn't work quite well for me in Endless Knight.

The cliffhanger was also something that was annoying. Now don't get me wrong, it's not bad! It's just that all of a sudden something new and pressing was introduced and then boom, TO BE CONTINUED! And you're like dafuq, as Jack would say. This is especially frustrating when she's only publishing one installment a year... Can somebody invent a time machine so I can skip to Fall 2014, day of publishing of the next installment?

Conclusion:
Although not as much of a page turner like her Immortals After Dark Series, the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole are not to be missed. Both Jack and Death in Endless Knight are to die for! This series can certainly hold its own. KC weaved a world and a game that is believable and the reader is invited to learn and experience it along with Evie. I cannot wait for the next installment... I just hope that the next 12 months can pass by quickly enough...

Read my reviews for other novels by Kresley Cole

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