Publication Date: OCTOBER 1, 2013
Rating: 4/5


Evie struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world—or destroy it.

Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. As one of twenty-two teens given powers following the apocalypse, she now knows a war is brewing, and it’s kill or be killed.

When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she’s drawn to Death as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history, one that Evie can’t remember—but Death can’t forget…

The journey of the major arcana continues and the game become more deadly in this one…

This book provides more information regarding the game, the tarot deck, the gods, other major arcana and the minor arcana too. There are so many things the readers can learn about the characters and the whole game in this one.

Personally to me, I feel like this book is more in-depth compared to the first one. The first one was more of an introduction so nothing much is happening. This one has a lot of incredible heavy actions between major arcana. A lot of power actions which made the intensity level higher than it was before.

This story focused more on Evie and Death which can get very boring due to lack of action and their conversation with one another wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. It makes me miss the original crew. But this book also introduces a lot of new characters such as: Lark, Ogen, the Hierophant—I forgot the guy’s name, Joules, Gabriel, Vincent, and Violet. These characters are all major arcana. While they do get their own parts, Death is still the main focus in the story, after all this book is about him and he was said to be the champion of the three previous games (or was it two? I can’t remember much regarding that part since I read this book years ago).

What I learn from this book was how it repeatedly said that all arcana are born evil, especially the major ones. While the minors are bad, their level of bad aren’t anywhere near the level of the major ones. Learning a couple of things about the minors made me think that they will make an appearance in the upcoming books, might not be the next one since the author still wants the story to focus on the major arcana.

In this deadly game, of course there are secrets being kept hidden, and there will be betrayal left and right. It wasn’t something to be surprised of, kind of very predictable that it will happen.

The characters appearing in this book had their own stories to tell, and the readers can learn a bit more about their background stories and about the characters as a whole. I loved getting to know more about these characters. I loved how there are so many uncertainties and trust issues in this one, even they can’t trust each other but still willing to stay together as one group to end the game. I can see there will be a problem with their plans, they changed the rules—especially Evie—too many times and I have a feeling this will be a long post-apocalyptic adventure, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I wouldn’t mind, as long as it doesn’t stray away from the plot and just go straight to the point without dragging too much of unnecessary thing such as the love triangle.

It was very depressing seeing the new problems that the world and these characters had to face. The atmosphere and the setting was already very dull, really makes me miss the earth that look more livelier. I get why the setting was that way considering the story now takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.

In this book, Evie has to learn how to control her power more and she also discovered what she can do with it. It was really nice seeing how she was evolving as the Empress, but as a character she was lacking. I wonder when will she ever get a better character development. I get that she’s 16, but can’t she grow and learn as a person? Doesn’t she learn anything while living in the new and harsh reality? Can’t she sees her companions especially her boyfriend Jack as an example on how to grow as a better person while living in a post-apocalyptic world? Everyone learns and grow except for her, and Jack is around the same age as her too and yet he was so much better.

She keep on making the same mistakes over and over again instead of trying to learn from it and make herself be better. She was truly lacking as the female protagonist of this series, and definitely isn’t the strongest protagonist to carry the whole series. She was too trusting, but then she was the one who got hurt for trusting the wrong people. Her journey in this one doesn’t have a deep or emotional impact on me or whatsoever, I feel like it was very flat and doesn’t have much specialty. I don’t see why she was so special that she should be the main protagonist. I have to wait and see more from her character next, I hope it won’t be another disappointment.

Jack was having a hard time in this story. As the only mortal in a group of arcana, he was the only one who shows an actual and real human feelings. I feel more connected to his character than any other characters. He also had his own secret that surprised me, but that will be part of the next book for sure. He was the only one who actually did something in this book, like hunting down animals and find a safe place for the arcana to stay and eat while the arcana needs to save their energy for whatever heavy obstacles that required them to use their powers next. Using powers can take a toll on one’s body especially living in a world where foods and even water are mostly perished.

Jack was incredibly special even though he was the only mortal, but I get a feeling he was going to be reveal as someone he wasn’t, like maybe he could be The Hanged Man who is one of the inactive card which is also a major arcana. Death told Evie at one point in the book that no one has seen him even in the previous games, and The Hanged Man will be activated once he killed another major arcana. He could be the inactive card, but then again it’ll be too predictable to be true. Anyway, I’m so happy to see Jack evolving as a character and how he took the mantle of a leader. He has a strong and an excellent leadership skills and I want to see him put it to good use, maybe we’ll be seeing it in the next book.

Aric also known as Death finally made an appearance in this one. His character was so complex, and I wouldn’t say he was good, he was truly bad actually. Kidnapping Evie, torturing her by putting a cilice on her hands to dampened her power, calling her “creature” instead of her name, manipulated her, and abused her. I hated his character so much that I really want him gone. No kidding, he was so evil that I truly believe he was the villain…except, he wasn’t. His charm made Evie kind of fall for him, and that really irritated me more.

Learning more about him made me see what are all the things he’d been through before. I admit, I do feel bad for him when his power was awakened for the first time and he accidentally killed his parents and his unborn sibling. His death touch was very lethal and the only one who can touch him skin to skin and survived is Evie, because she is the Empress and the Empress is all about life. Get it? Life and Death!

Anyone who come anywhere near him and try to touch him, they will die straightaway, so I guess that’s how easy he killed all the major arcana in the previous games. He was smart when planning things and he put up a good strategy whenever he face his enemies. This book tells his story more since the focus was on him this time around. I get to learn more about the game from his perspectives, but that doesn’t mean I fully support what he did to Evie.

As for the romance. Evie and Jack has this amazing and explosive chemistry, and I loved how Jack has the ability to shield Evie away from Aric before she was kidnapped. I hated how her time with Jack was cut short in this one, and all I wanted was for them to have at least one full day where they can be happy together. Seeing Evie and Aric was too painful for me. Evie is certainly not a loyal person, and seeing how she easily switch partners between Aric and Jack was very annoying.

Her heart is now taken by two, and now as a reader I’m the one who had to go through this torturous love triangle drama. And the other characters had to witness this love triangle drama too which only makes them feel annoyed by it. No one has the time for a love triangle, let alone the drama that comes with it especially when they just want to survive in the dark and depressing world while their enemies are lurking everywhere. I hope the author put more focus on the game and the other enemies, instead of Evie’s love life and who she will choose: Jack or Aric.

Aric was too possessive of Evie, same goes to Jack. But at least, Jack didn’t coerced Evie or pressured her when it comes to sex. Aric pressured Evie, and went so far by telling Evie she was his wife in the previous games. She might be his wife in the previous games, in her previous lifetimes, but in this one she’s her own person and isn’t yet married. My god, she’s only 16. She must be so traumatize for getting kidnapped, abused, and coerced all by Aric. The fact that Aric at one point said, ”you belong to me because you’re the only woman I can touch.” Why haven’t Evie try to smack him when he said that? Oh well, she was mesmerized by his charm, and his good looks that she forgot she even hated him.

Aric is a 2000 years old ancient man who looks 23 because of his immortality, and Evie is only 16. The fact that Aric coerced Evie into having sex with him as a test was a low blow. The age gap was already horrible, and coercing someone is NOT right! I’m seriously having a headache from all of this Aric and Evie thing. How can one think it was okay to blackmail a teenager? The fact that Aric is a twisted person and think it was okay to blackmail Evie and forced her to have sex with him if she wants to save Jack just shows how horrible and evil he is. I was disgusted when he was kissing her and licking her breasts without her consent. She had to poison him and put him to sleep using her power so that she can escaped. That was truly horrible.

Aric and Evie’s relationship is so wrong on so many levels, but I think the author will keep this love triangle for awhile and I already hate it. All I want is for Jack and Evie to get their HEA and for the game to be the main focus. There are others who are starving and dying out there, Aric!

As for the villain in this book, the Hierophant was great. And he was so vile and even his power is very scary. If the Hermit was still alive, the two of them can be the power duo and pose a larger threat. There was also a mentioned of Vincent and Violet also known as The Lovers card. The twins will be the next villain in the next book, they were mentioned many times in this one, and the ending of this book proved that they will be the next threat. I’m excited to see how the author will write their characters.

This book was great since it has a lot more to share with the readers especially on the arcana and tarot spectrum, but the only thing I’m disappointed in is how the author focused on the love triangle more in this series. I want to see more of the arcana gang—the one with Jack—in the next book. I find the story quite enjoyable since it finally show the readers who is the mysterious Death and his backstory. Also, I really liked how Kresley go so deep with the whole arcana thing; not just the game, but also the characters. I really find her writing so unique and it wasn’t like any other authors I’ve read before.

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