Author- Malie Meloy.
Publish date- June 2013.
Publisher- Text Publishing.
*If you've not read the first book in the series, this review will almost certainly contain spoilers.*
Review of book #1.
When I finished The Apothecary (book #1), I thought the ending was open- a little more open than I would have ultimately liked- but closed enough to not warrant another book to follow up. So I was shocked when I heard a sequel had been written; shocked, but very interested.
I was keen to see what Malie Meloy chose to do- I wasn't even sure if it would be following the same characters- and I was, for the most part, pleasantly surprised.
The characters are all a couple of years older and they've all evolved; this time around Janie is 16 and has started recieving the occasional letter from Benjamin, who she last saw two years previous when he and his father drugged her so she would lose all memory of them and the expedition they went on together, but she has gradually recovered her memory and has longed to see Benjamin ever since, feeling both a kind of love and lots of anger towards him.
I liked Janie's character growth, but did feel like she had lost a little of the sense of self I remember so admiring her for- though for the most part, I thought, she regains it as the story lands her in the middle of another adventure.
The plot was smooth and, though less addictive than I found the first, it held the mysteriousness, the agility and the "I have no clue what'll happen next" that I loved so much, all the while being written in an almost calming way, though certainly not for lack of excitement. I also really enjoyed getting a lot more background information on a secondary character, giving me more understanding for her and making her character all the more intricate and powerful.
One thing I really, really love about this series is the beautiful art throughout, never wholly depicting a character, allowing the reader to imagine faces themselves; it brings a really exhilarating touch to the book, and they're very beautiful.
The ending, as with the first book, was really quite open (though only really for the two protagonists, a fact I didn't like so much), though it was again closed enough that I don't anticipate another book. Will I be surprised to find that, in another year or two, book three is being published?
I have absolutely no idea.
Rating: Hmm.../verging onto the very edge of: Oh, very good.
Honestly, I liked the ending of the first book enough to not have needed another, and overall this book didn't really live up to the hopes I had. Still beautifully written, with a great plot, but it was all a little dull after how much I loved the first book.
Thank you to Text Publishing for this review copy!