Author: COCO MA
Publication Date: OCTOBER 20, 2020
Rating: 5/5


Everything has a price.

In the kingdom of Axaria, a darkness has fallen. After defeating the evil mother who summoned an immortal demon to kill her, newly coronated Queen Asterin Faelenhart should have every reason to celebrate. Her kingdom is safe, forbidden magic eradicated, and her friends are alive. Except Asterin’s triumph has come at a devastating cost—forced to choose between a lifelong friend and true love, she’s lost both. But the shadows in Axaria have begun to stir once again, and no one is more starved for vengeance than Asterin…

Yet it soon becomes clear that the shadows plaguing her kingdom are just the beginning. Another realm coexists with the mortal world—the beautiful, nightmarish Immortal Realm ruled by the wicked God of Shadow, King Eoin. When their paths entwine, Asterin realizes that Eoin possesses exactly what—and who—she seeks most. And the fates of all those that she holds dear—Orion, her missing Guardian; Luna, the friend she could not save; Harry, the demon who saved them all; and Quinlan, her beloved broken prince—ultimately rest in the god’s hands.

But in a world of magic, not everyone is always as they seem. When shocking discoveries threaten everything and everyone Asterin has sworn her life to protect, she won’t be the only person forced to make a choice…a choice that will change the mortal world forever.

And maybe even destroy it.

The first book was excellent, but this one is phenomenal. I was so enthralled from the start to the end. I went through a lot of emotions while reading this amazing sequel; I cried, screamed, got frustrated, and at some point had to put the book down to take a breath because it was too much for me to handle.

In this book, the storyline and the plot focus more on shadow magic which is the forbidden tenth element in elemental magic. The first book mentioned about it and I’ve seen the magic being used by two people, Priscilla and Harry. I liked how this book explored the forbidden tenth element a lot more than the first book did. The first book was the introduction to shadow magic but this sequel will be its main focus.

Shadow magic can only be defeated by someone who can wield all nine elements of magic. Don’t worry, we already have that someone who can do so and she is our fierce protagonist, Asterin. This book explains a lot about what shadow magic can do to a person, and how it can affect the person who possess it. It wasn’t as terrifying as I thought since Asterin managed to win against it which I was really happy about. It can only be terrifying if the person who wields it is using it for evil purposes like Pricilla did in the previous book. So far, only Harry has been using it for good.

From what I’ve noticed, people who had shadow magic are the ones who was sacrificed by their parents in exchange for someone else’s life. Those poor children, I feel sorry for them. How can someone be awful and went as far as sacrificing their child’s life? I understand their reason but still, that was one of the most inhumane thing to do.

Also, this book finally take its readers to the Immortal Realm and Eradore. These two places was mentioned plenty of time in the previous book. The Immortal Realm is a realm where the God of Shadow and his shadowlings lived. It was a bleak and barren world, and I pictured it as hell where there are so many fires everywhere and the temperature is too hot to bear.

As for Eradore, it was massive and lavish. One of the most peaceful kingdom in the mortal realm due to its tight security, even tighter than Axaria. The palace was beautiful. There is nothing much I want to say about it, I’m basically at a lost of words when it comes to Eradore.

There was a lot of things happened in this book, a lot of chaos just like in the previous book, but this one topped it. One thing after another, there wasn’t even a break to slow things down a bit and the chaos was endless. I was like, “how can things go wrong so quickly?” Trying to keep with everything in this book is like trying to learn a very fast rap. I don’t even know how my mind can take everything and absorbed all informations without missing a single thing.

Started from Asterin watching a performance and ended with Asterin witnessing a bloody fate that befalls her kingdom. If you listen to a rock song that started off with a slow and sweet tune then it suddenly changed into hardcore and full of rage, then that’s exactly how the tone of the story changed. Be fully prepared because some readers can handle it and some can’t.

I also want to say that the amount of actions in this book was really great. I liked the fight between Asterin and Killian, and the final fight when she used her full power to bring down her enemies. That was really epic, especially when she blasted Luna using her power. I really disliked Luna in this one and I was happy to see her fell to the ground, served her right for thinking she was strong enough to take on Asterin. Nobody can mess with the true Queen of Axaria, Her Majesty Queen Asterin Faelenhart, not even shadow demons can mess with her.

There are some new faces in this book like Killian, Eoin, and Taeron. These people played an important role in the story, only they are more to side characters than main which I wouldn’t mind at all.

Eoin is the God of Shadow, the God that was mentioned plenty of time before but only now he finally made an appearance. Previously, he was described as this terrifying God who ruled the shadow world. From what I’ve seen here, he can do so many dangerous things like erasing the shadow magic from his shadowlings if they disobey him or worse give his shadowlings a death penalty for breaking their promise to him.

He surely doesn’t mess around, but he wasn’t as terrifying as I thought he would be. He was hilarious on a few occasions, but what he said to Asterin in this one, is he really a man of his words? I knew he proved to be trustworthy since he didn’t break his promise, but I still fear that he wasn’t fully honest either. All the ‘what ifs’ in my head is too strong to ignore.

Taeron is Quinlan’s older brother but I pictured him as a shy introvert guy. I’ve seen how shy he was when he first bumped into Asterin in the palace library. I liked how caring he was toward his own family, especially Quinlan. He would do anything to make sure his younger brother live a safe and healthy life. He was so selfless and just so kind the whole way through. His power is obviously knowledge since he read too many books from the library and appears to be very educated. I want to see more of Taeron in the next book, perhaps see him fight since I hadn’t seen him fight even once here.

Killian is one of Eoin’s shadowlings, and I wasn’t sure if she appeared in the previous book or not (I can’t exactly remember which character appeared in the first book and which one hasn’t other than the main ones). She was a very playful character but I really hated seeing how delightful she was in torturing other people’s lives. Her past was sad but I wasn’t really that sad for her either after seeing what she did to Asterin and her crews here. I can’t wait to see Asterin defeat Killian in the next book, let’s hope that will happen.

The main characters went through a lot of changes from what happened in the first book. Some stayed on the good path and some went the evil way. All the main ones will be tested ruthlessly here, but I know for sure whatever tragedy they’re going to face will only make them stronger, especially Asterin since she was the one who had to go through so many hardships here.

Asterin has proven again and again that she is a great leader, the queen her kingdom deserve. She has been fierce, protective, and become a lot stronger and much more powerful than any beings. What I liked the most about her is how she wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything, and how she never backs down from a challenge. Most people would run away from danger but she would run straight to it to fight just so others can live a peaceful life. She was so selfless and so caring. She was never selfish and to me that made her even more likable than she already is.

The shocking thing that she found out about her ex-friend will only make her grow stronger so that she can face the said friend and still win. Even though she was shocked, she still managed to act and think fast instead of stood frozen and then get attacked like what happened to most protagonist in many fantasy books. The shock doesn’t stay long and it surely didn’t distract her. Asterin might be way too young to be a queen, especially a queen of a kingdom as big as Axaria, but she definitely has all the traits of a queen and has the best leadership skills. The next book would be a tough challenge for her after what happened at the end of this book, but knowing Asterin, she’ll fight so hard to win again. I’m really excited to see what she will do next after what happened at the end of this book.

Luna has changed a lot. From a sweet innocent girl to someone who craved power. It was great to see her character growth in this book, and how she rose to become the strongest version of herself. Only, her jealousy blinded her and her overconfidence led her nowhere but to become a failure. She was selfish and despite how I admired her for controlling her own fate, I disliked how she acted. She was so immature and unlike Asterin who is far more mature than her.

Luna can be so childish sometimes, and one wrong move from someone is like a big betrayal in her eyes. She just can’t learn that not everyone will manage to save other people’s lives or in her case, her life. From what I’ve noticed, ever since she learned who she truly is and that she actually have magic, she started to shift into a different person. I knew she would go down the dark path but what I didn’t expect was how deep she would go. That really shocked me to see how far gone she was, not sure if she can be redeem but I’m just going to hold on to the hope that she would come back to the good side and learn a thing or two about forgiveness because clearly her definition of “forgiveness” is different than the actual one.

And, I was feeling quite delightful seeing that she failed at doing her task in this one and that she wasn’t even an actual queen or fit to become one, doesn’t matter how much she convinced herself. Taking someone else’s throne doesn’t make her a queen and pretended to be one only worsen her reputation. I’ve learned a shocking thing about her here later on, but it doesn’t surprise me what she chose to do after she was given many choices. I’ve predicted it already but I want to see if she will receive any punishment for failing to fulfill the mission given to her. As much as it was interesting to see the twist in Luna’s character, I feel like she really doesn’t fit doing those reckless bad things. If she really wanted to improve herself, she can do it without going down the dark path.

Quinlan on the other hand is still amazing as he was before. I was actually sad to know the fate that befalls him previously. Waiting any news from Eradore about him made me nervous but glad to know he survived. There was a slight changes in his character later on due to what happened to the dark magic that was trapped in his body for long and how much it affected his health. The changes started off when Asterin and her companions tried to save his life. The new change could become a problem in the next book or it could not, but I do feel like things will shift on a bigger scale considering what was being done to him in order to keep him alive.

I don’t want to imagine the possibilities of what he would do or what can happen to him due to his new abilities. Asterin can never catch a break, first a betrayal from her ex-friend, and now her boyfriend’s new power might change him which I hope it doesn’t come to that. I was so stressed out reading this book and from thinking about what can happen in the next book. It was like everything is crashing down together. I really loved Quinlan’s character and I hope his good heart will always stay with him and all the good memories will remind him that he is not a bad person in case someone try to get him into doing something without his consent or make him do things that are so out of character for him. I’m excited to see what will he do in the next book using his new abilities.

Harry and Orion, well these two had a lot of things to settle apparently. Harry was miserable but seeing what happened to him here made me sad. I hope he can at least learn how to fight after what Eoin did to his magic. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see that. He better know how to fight, if not with a weapon than at least with his fists. Also, Orion…poor thing had to go through a massive obstacles and ended up feeling a lot more guilty after what he did. I would like to see him and Harry join the others in a battle in the next book since something huge will come, just like Valeria told Asterin at the end that there will be a war to end all wars. Asterin will need her most loyal friends to stand beside her, and Orion has been her guardian for years so it would be nice to see him back with the crew again.

Rose is the same ol’ Rose, the one who is so far still consistent. I liked that she was so clever and managed to found many answers in a short period of time. She was amazing and despite doesn’t have a lot of part in this book, she still appeared to be so elegant. I loved seeing her friendship with Asterin become a lot stronger, they were really tight. She was also very supportive of Asterin relationship with her cousin, Quinlan. I liked that they will always have each other’s back. I just hope their friendship will still stay strong in the next book and nothing will change it. It will be sad if something were to damage their good friendship, I can’t bear seeing Asterin lose another friend.

Lastly, Eadric. This amazing and loyal captain is still the same as he was before. He is still the same hilarious guy and also a good friend to Asterin. There is nothing much I can say about his character other than his part is the fun part in this book. There was a lot of chaos and stressful things happening in this book, but to see him bringing in a bit of fun in the story was great. At least he lighten up the tone of the story a bit. Eadric using his own magic is truly an underrated thing but it was nice to see him using it a bit more here. He does have great skills in both magic and swords-fight, and he was also a fast thinker. I need to see more of him in action in the next book.

From what I’ve realized, the queens that ruled the kingdoms in the mortal realm are mostly young. First Rose, then Valeria, and lastly Asterin. These three are about the same age. Young queens ruling their kingdoms and being the best queen ever? This is truly amazing. At least these three knows how to be queens since they were born into royal families, and also know how big their responsibility is as queens. I would love to see them teaming up together in the next book. I’m glad Valeria came to Axaria to meet Asterin. I wonder what will these two plan to do, it seems like they will have to do some big tasks for the war that is coming. Valeria need to provide more information because I’m dying to know what she knows about this war.

Can I just say that I loved the romance in this book. It was sweet and can be a bit New Adult which I wouldn’t mind at all. The romance here made this book looks like a crossover between Young Adult and New Adult, and honestly I’m really digging the vibe.

Quinlan and Asterin never fail to make my heart melt. Their love for each other has become stronger the more time they were together. I loved how much their relationship evolved in this one. They truly deserve one another. There was a slight miscommunication between them due to Quinlan’s health issue but I was glad the author doesn’t drag it. Their romance was exquisite, and I would give anything to see these two have their happy ending with each other. The angst in their romance was super strong to the point my patience nearly runs out, I just want them to be happy together like before, but make the happiness level be infinite. They’ve been through a lot and seeing a strong force trying to tear them apart once again made me cry. Please, spare me the heartbreak. I just want to see my favorite OTP be happy, that’s all I ask.

Orion and Harry’s relationship was put to a greater test, one I didn’t expect. I was surprised by Orion in the beginning. My heart broke seeing Harry trying so hard to get Orion back. The scale of their romance was really small but even with those little scale it was still sweet. Seeing Harry so miserable trying to get Orion back, and then seeing Orion hesitating to trust Harry during their reunion scene made me want to bang my head. First, I had to deal with the angst between Quinlan and Asterin, and after that Harry and Orion. As a reader who’ve seen everything, I can never catch a break or be in peace. I was in pain…

The story ended on a big scale and the situation was intense and out-of-control. It doesn’t play around just like in the first one. So many bloody things happened and it made the whole thing even more complicated to handle, but I have to say the epic battle between two demons and a powerful heroine at the end was something I didn’t know I need. It was really amazing but it was cut short when a fire tried to annihilate a whole kingdom. Things took a darker turn so fast that I can’t even blink. The epilogue promised the next thing to come will be even greater than what was shown in the first book and here. I wonder how big it is, but first I want to see how great the next destination will be since our fierce protagonist and her elite guards will be journeying to another kingdom.

It was an epic story, and a really good one. Coco didn’t disappoint, she knew how to deliver a good story. This story is a lot bigger for sure and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for everyone. What will Asterin do next, where did Quinlan go, how will Eadric and Rose handling court matters, what happened to Luna etc.

So many questions, and I hope Asterin will be prepared and after witnessing what happened to Elyssa (her mother), I want Asterin to be unapologetic because some people doesn’t deserve another chance once they made their choice to be evil and then continue to ruin others’ lives without having any regrets. She was too soft and that easily made her enemies break her down without breaking her spirit, obviously. Asterin should show her enemies who is the real queen, I would really love that. I have faith that the next book will be a good conclusion and everything will be done in a smooth and interesting way.

I can’t get enough of how good this book was. The storyline was on point, the plot had some good surprises, and the characters was interesting enough to read. The situation in this book was intense, but it was a good kind of intense. I’m looking forward to the next book, so excited to see what’s coming especially the big war that had me curious.

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