PJV Quickie: I love being surprised by an author and Kresley Cole does it every time. Cole is the type of author that sets the trends instead of following in other author’s footsteps. I was a little trepidatious when she released her first YA, especially in the dystopian/zombie type genres. But, while she went with a popular theme, she took the books to a whole different level. The second book in the Arcana Chronicles kept me on my toes the entire time, pushed boundaries, broke-down usual YA tropes and blurred the lines between good and bad in uncomfortable ways. All I gotta say is… “damn.”
Review: ENDLESS KNIGHT picks up where POISON PRINCESS left off. Evie is The Empress in all her glory, and she has just killed The Alchemist. Her friends are now realizing that her card is in play…big time. Evie’s character becomes a lot more complicated then it was in the beginning of the first novel, especially as she begins to remember more and more of her past lives those thoughts and feelings filtering into her present life.
Other characters are also developing along-side Evie and new ones are being introduced. Selena, Matt and Finn all become more a part of the story and integral to Evie’s success and Jackson – oh Jackson – shows a new side of himself as his relationship grows with Evie. I liked his character before, but by the end of ENDLESS KNIGHT, I wanted my own alcoholic, dirty-mouthed Cajun. He is just one of many fantastically written characters, in this series, with a ton of flaws, but with a lot of “it” factors that just make them all wonderful.
Then there was Death, who is introduced as the bad-guy, out to get Evie from the beginning, his voice in her head, malicious, all-consuming and taunting.
“Your death is mine, which means your life is mine.—”
But as the story progresses and you learn more and more about The Empress, whom even Evie has had nightmares about, you begin to lose focus on who is the: “good card, bad card, good card.” Who is good? Who will succumb to their nature? Who will fight it? Finn hints that if he doesn’t use his powers of illusion it actually pains him. Is this true for all the cards? Especially as the really terrible are introduced, cards that are cannibals, lover/twins that decimate using an army…how much do they know? How much is their card, how much is them?
It all becomes really intense within the second novel, especially as things settle down and Death and The Empress are introduced face to face and the back-story of their prior games becomes revealed, which actually changed allegiances in my mind for the characters. And it is not about a love-traingle, or some usual young adult play on the boy-girl-boy trope. I’m not rooting for Death to win the girl, or even Jack to win the girl, I’m not even rooting for the girl. Cole threw everything out the window in how she set these books up. She threw in a lot of surprises, some I kind of figured, but only because I’m a huge fan of Cole’s adult series, so I think I have a certain understanding of how she implements her craft. And she did use certain elements that I’ve seen introduced in the IAD series, but nothing that is at all evident to the casual reader. It’s only because I do this blogging thing and I keep track of some stuff.
Because of this, I have certain expectations or predictions for book three (Please see discussion area of review for more). Which I believe is the final book? Kresley Cole mentioned she was shooting for three books in the signing for PP.
There is a reason this book is not a five star / amazing read, it is because at some points the novel became choppy and awkward. There was a voice transition problem that I did not notice in the first book, but it seemed a lot more obvious in the second. These moments I can only guess are caused because the novel does not stay firmly rooted within a Young Adult voice. The novel in itself is not really a Young Adult novel, even though it is published as one (the only reason being Evie’s age). The characters are mature, there is a ton of mature content, including multiple sex scenes, that do not fade to black. Between the content and the voice, this should probably be a type of New Adult novel…but Cole did try and maintain that Young Adult voice throughout the novel, even though it slipped at times. Problems arise with the characters though. Death himself is a millennia old character…who wouldn’t have a young adult persona. When Evie gets around him though, she loses her YA vibe, her teen speak only used as jibes or reminders of Death’s age. I guess it just didn’t feel seamless, which is what I expect with Cole. Who knows, with reading the ARC it might be ironed out in the final version. If Death would have had a YA vibe I would be saying — “why does a 2000 year old character act like a teenager?” So, this is me being picky.
Overall a great read, one that I would not with a clear conscious hand to a young teenager, but I would shove down the throat of my adult YA lovers and scream “read this s*** it is good!!!” Kresley Cole is just one of those great fantasy writers, with this crazy imagination and a penchant for passion and angst. Her writing keeps you on the edge of your seat through the entire novel, she doesn’t give you one moment to take a breath. She also keeps you guessing and surprised – which she achieved in this book. And thanks again, Kresley, for that wonderful cliffhanger, how much longer do I have to wait for book number 3 which doesn’t even have a name yet?!
Read the series if you haven’t, this isn’t a suggestion, it’s a compulsion.
Recommendations: Fans of Kresley Cole’s adult series, what are you waiting for? It might be Young Adult, it’s really not, you’ll enjoy it. Fans of Apocalypse fiction, dystopian and/or zombie craziness, with a bit of romance and angst, you’ll love this series.
Endless Knight Discussion Area
(don’t read past this if you have not read ENDLESS KNIGHT)
Is Jack actually a mortal? For someone who’s just a mere mortal, he sure hangs in there. Not to mention the term “fated” is used a lot. If she is fated for Jack, that speaks of a lot more, because why would a card be fated for a mortal? Also Death reveals a few secrets of Jack’s, which also gives hints of he being a bit more.
Why would Death know Jack’s motivations for initial contact with Evie, his relationship with his father and his alleged half-brother? How would he know this, unless Matt revealed this to Death? Unless Matt was in Jack’s head?
I actually want Jack to be a card. I don’t remember them bringing up the Emperor in POISON PRINCESS. Did they mention the Emperor card? I don’t think they mention it.
I don’t know about him being The Emperor though, because that card would be in charge of the game, the boss, the one that makes the rules. And if this were the case, then Jack would turn into a very manipulative bastard, now wouldn’t it? Unless he was unaware. But, The Emperor is the male persona, in counterpart to The Empress – so what other card could Jack be? This counterpart would fit the fated spot perfectly.
Jack is fated. Death is endless.
What do you think?