Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.
But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.
Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
So, after the calamitous ending of The Mime Order (spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read this far), in which Paige challenged Jaxon at the end of the scrimmage, as the Black Moth, for the seat of Underqueen…and won; only to confront Nashira, the Grand Inquisitor, and Jaxon (a lapdog reborn and the Arch Traitor revealed), I expected this book to go off with a bang. But, instead, I found something quite different. Something that took a while to get going, but laid the foundations for the rest of the series and ended in something quite magical.
Paige and her allies are pushed underground, to the Beneath, by the Senshield technology. Their one hope? To find the core, which takes us through the beginning and right until the end of the middle part of the story – there are a plethora of new characters that come and go, and quite a bit of action here.
The plot in this one sagged a bit throughout that middle part – I feel like we’ve hit book two syndrome in book three. The beginning was very enjoyable, but there was a lot of supposition from the characters and random things that just seemed to fit together, for the sake of the plot continuing. Or to artificially add tension. Like when they are left locked out of the train, only to be found a page over, and rescued from what seemed to be a dire situation. Some characters we barely got to know bit the bullet, and it didn’t seem to matter. Paige picked up the Warden said goodbye, then picked him up again.
Having got that part out of the way, the climax came swiftly, decisively and with all of the tension you’d normally expect from this series. The resolution, interspersed with the language of flowers, was incredibly clever. For my fantasy and magic-loving needs, the reveal that Nashira has Jack the Ripper bound to her resonated with the end of book two and made the Arch Enemy all the more horrifying.
The way Paige and the Warden worked together to trump Vance and the heart-wrenching escape at the end, truly had me gripped; we were thrust again in the depths of Rephaim control. When the horrifying, inter-dimensional puppet masters take centre stage, this is when this series really comes into its own for me. At that time, this book resonated on the same level that the first did for me. The thing is, I never thought Paige fitted into her role as the Underqueen, and I felt uncomfortable along with her during her reign. Having finished the book, that did come full-circle in the end.
I binged all three of the books this week and had a thoroughly good time with it. It was a great shame that I had to stop with this one, and I await patiently for The Mask Falling, with my pre-order sitting ready to go. The series thus far is highly recommendable to those who like: The Hunger Games, Red Rising, and other revolutionary dystopia – with a hint of fantasy and magic.
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