[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
Alas, I didn’t enjoy this second instalment as much as I did the first. It lacked the character dynamics, the spark I had felt at the beginning of this series.
I think the main reason is the way Luke and Elza are rather isolated from the others throughout the novel, even from their parents (who apparently don't even care what their kids do?). Elza’s family pops in on one page only, Luke’s mother is faring better health-wise but still not very present, Luke’s former friends don’t talk to him anymore… So mostly it revolved around two, maximum three people at a time, and in turn, it shed light on the fact those characters weren’t that much developed. It would have been a great opportunity to do so, and it wasn’t used as such, and I found this too bad.
Another annoying thing was the magic itself: here, too, this book provided huge opportunities of developing it, more specifically of showing Luke growing into it and learning more. However, for the most part, he either didn’t want anything to do with it, or bumbled from one mistake to the other (when he was warned about what mistakes not to make!) while more savvy characters saved the day. Not unexpected, sure, but frustrating no matter what. Or perhaps it is my bias towards necromancy speaking?
On the other hand, the novel shows an actual foray into the land of the dead, which is definitely not unexpected where magic of the necromancy type is concerned! This catabasis was very welcome as far as I’m concerned. And ghosts fighting each other. That’s cool. (I would really have wanted to know more about the Widow!)
Also present in this second book: themes that make you think and difficult choices to make, especially when it comes to helping your loved ones vs. the sacrifices you may have to make. Again, this is about necromancy, not kittens and giggles, right?
Conclusion: Still interesting, only I didn’t feel invested much in the characters, and Luke disappointed me both with his magic and with his borderline stupid decisions.