Title: Cloak of Night
Series: Circle of Shadows #2
Author: Evelyn Skye
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 11th, 2020 (Balzer + Bray)
Synopsis: After the devastating Ceremony of Two Hundred Hearts, Sora, Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick are truly alone in the fight to save their kingdom. Empress Aki is missing, and everyone else who could help them is a prisoner to Prince Gin’s mind control.
At least Sora understands what they’re up against. Or so she believes, until she overhears Gin bargaining with the god of war for immortality and learns that ryuu magic may be a more insidious danger than she realized.
Suddenly, the stakes are higher and even more personal for Sora—not only must she stop a seemingly indestructible Prince Gin, but she must also unravel the secrets of ryuu magic before it is too late for nearly everyone she loves.
Sora Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick face dangerous obstacles at every turn, but the greatest challenge may be discovering who they truly are and what, if anything, they are capable of.
The fate of a kingdom rests in their hands.
With the completion of the Ceremony of Two Hundred Hearts, Sora, Daemon, Fairy and Broomstick are the only taigas in the kingdom not under Prince Gin’s mind control. Now that Zomuri is the patron god of Kichona, the ordinary people too are being affected, and their personalities are changing, making them cruel and selfish. With Empress Aki still missing, time is running out fast as our heroes discover that the price of using ryuu magic is far more dangerous than anyone realizes.
Cloak of Night is much better paced than the first book, and I was quite surprised at how much of an adventure it turned out to be, with several unexpected and shocking twists that raise the stakes with every chapter. Sora and Daemon continue to be strong central characters, though I could have done without that angsty and very odd love triangle that made no sense, and I really appreciated how the story stayed on track throughout and never veered off into unnecessary scenes or exposition. While this book is much lighter in terms of world building – the main focus being on stopping Prince Gin – we do get to see a little of some of the mainland kingdoms that have been previously mentioned as the ryuu turn their sights towards taking over them one by one.
However, I have to say that there was so much wasted potential here with regards to the magic system, both taiga and ryuu. The story never really takes the time to develop it – instead, the sudden addition of the Gods to the story detracts from it. That wouldn’t normally be a bad thing since getting to know this other aspect of Kichona was quite interesting, and the odd POV from Zomuri were a nice addition – but this plotline wasn’t used to full effect either. The reveal of Daemon being a demigod was introduced rather late, and not as engaging as it could have been, particularly evident in that the entire scene where he speaks to his father happens off page. It almost felt like the unexpected secret of ryuu magic was brought in just for the purpose of Daemon needing to reconnect with his celestial family, though I did like the scenes where Liga, his half-brother, comes down from the skies to meet him and the training scenes were quite amusing too. And once again, I found it impossible to take this story seriously with absolutely childish and ridiculous taiga names like Fairy and Broomstick.
Cloak of Night resolves the storyline in a satisfactory manner, tying up all the loose ends rather neatly – impressive considering how much more there was in terms of plot this time. If you enjoyed Circle of Shadows, this is worth a read, but while Cloak of Night was definitely an improvement on book one, I find myself rather disappointed with this series as a whole, especially in comparison with The Crown’s Game.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Circle of Shadows