Title: BLOOD, FIRE & MERCY
Series: DA’VALIA TRILOGY #2
Author: CHRISTINA DAVIS
Publication Date: NOVEMBER 10, 2021
ABOUT THE BOOK
18-year-old thief Neva Roberts has been living on the run since absconding with the Eye, piece of the greatest weapon ever created. But she’s running from more than a cold-hearted ruler. She has exiled herself to a barren land, trying to forget the pain she caused.
When Trinizhi’s squad of assassins catches up with Neva, her life on the run comes to an abrupt end, and the ultimate betrayal is unveiled. Only one person—Astiand—knew where she was hiding.
With the help of Emiliand and a new Djinn friend, Neva will return to her homeland for the job of a lifetime. If she can overcome dragon wardens, escape a prison island, and double-cross Trinizhi, Neva might just start forgiving herself…
This sequel gets even better more better. I’m not going to lie here, the story is more interesting and stakes are even higher which made me feel nervous and on edge the entire time trying to see if Neva would be able to complete her new mission without getting herself injured or killed.
The sequel started off with Neva gone into hiding and left her family behind after what happened to her ex-boyfriend. I was puzzled as to why she left them but then she revealed the reason why and I understood it right away. Having the Hand’s power inside of her is dangerous, especially when she didn’t know how control it. She also didn’t want a repeat of what happened at the battlefield back in the end of the first book when she lost control of the Hand’s power and ended up killing many and injured a few. I really get her concern of not wanting to use the Hand’s power and pushing people away from her. I’ve seen and witnessed what she can do with that kind of power, and as much as it was impressive on a huge scale, it was also dangerous if not use properly.
In this book, the story explores more of the Hand’s power that is inside of Neva. In case any of you didn’t know, the Hand is part of Dhianz’s trishula. Dhianz is one of the gods that exist in this world where the Da’Valia story takes place. There are three objects that contains massive powers belonged to Dhianz and these three objects are the Hand (Neva, because her mother did some sacrificial thing when she was a baby and put the Hand’s power inside of her), the Eye (a globe), and the Mouth (a sword called Sword of Elon).
Out of these three powers, so far the Hand is wilder because of how powerful it is which makes it hard for Neva to control it. Add to that, she also went to her mother’s friend and asked him to transfer the power of the Eye from the globe to her. Two powers of Dhianz inside of her body makes her more powerful than she already is. I liked how the Eye’s power is easier for her to control compared to the Hand’s but during the final battle scene when she had to go up against the dragons and had to use the Hand’s power, it surprisingly heed her command. That was the starting point that shows she’s able to control the Hand’s power after all and I hope she’ll be able to keep it under control because losing control of it is something she can’t afford, not after experiencing what happened to her ex-boyfriend.
As for the Mouth, I don’t know what it can do because Neva didn’t get to use the Sword of Elon when she stole it from the dragon’s lair because it was stolen from her by Thatcher right after she got it. I was surprised to see Thatcher again in this book actually. I thought he’s already gone for good in the first book. So seeing him again is truly unexpected but he seems to be getting some help especially after seeing how he managed to stole the sword from Neva and escaped from her. Neva’s a Da’Valia with four horns which makes her the most powerful Da’Valia to ever exist while Thatcher is just a normal human being. Someone must’ve gave him something that made him able to get away so easily. He’s going to stand in her way and make her job to get the sword even more difficult now.
Neva’s mission and journey in this book is getting harder and harder. Trinizhi surely didn’t want to give Neva an easy task or even an easy life at all. In the first book, Trinizhi asked Neva to steal the Eye and now the Mouth. Her job is getting complicated but I know she’ll succeed in the next book. She just have to get rid of everything and everyone that stands in her way, and Thatcher should be her first target. I never like him since the first book.
Neva also had to go through heavy obstacles in order to finish her mission this time. She had to make friends with a Djinn, she had to sign a blood contract, she had to go to Lithlorian Island and get the sword then leave or try to escape from the island, she had to face vicious dragons, she had to face a gang who tried to kill her, she had to face a cunning mage, and she had to convince a notorious pirate to help her and her new friends. It really is a long and complicated process and I take it all as a way to test her.
By agreeing to complete the mission and going to Lithlorian Island, it opens up new a door to introduce new characters and new background stories that are important and plays a part in Neva’s entire journey. This is actually a very clever and smooth way to bring in more new characters and having their stories connected to Neva in some way. I was more amazed by that when I really think about it. This only makes the story more interesting to me.
This book introduced dragons, pirates, mages and gangers. They appeared in the second half of the book hence why the second half is my most favorite part because so many exciting things happened. The first half was a bit slow and it wasn’t that much interesting aside from meeting Neva’s new friend named Mari who is a Djinn, and seeing the small reunion between Neva and Astiand.
The second half of the story is where things take a different turn in a good way because of new characters and more deadly battles. Seeing Neva joined the Dragonslayers and made friends with them really warms my heart, especially after she felt so alone on her journey to Lithlorian Island. The island is full of gangers and not everyone are good people there, so at least she has the Dragonslayers with her which are a bunch of good people with a kind heart who will protect one another. Their main purpose is to slay the dragons who are attacking people on the island. These dragons job is to guard Lithlorian Island which makes it hard for anybody to escape. Going up against the dragons is a life and death situation but Neva along with the Dragonslayers managed to do so without getting killed. They are brave fighters and I hope they will help Neva with more things to come in the next book.
The Dragonslayers aren’t just brave and fierce fighters but they are also a hilarious bunch of people. With Ballard as their leader, they have Tavo, Durant, Rinaldo, Debo, Crowe and Neva as the official members. Mari on the other hand is an unofficial member of the group but she has been so helpful when it comes to sneaking around and getting informations about anything that will help Neva with her plans. After all, Mari is a Djinn and not everyone knows of her presence or even see her.
Having Ballard on the team as the leader also introduced readers to Ebenezer Tavish who turns out to be Ballard’s grandfather. This opens up another background story that introduced a mage named Alewiscious, and the Obsidian Brotherhood which is a brotherhood of mages. Things just keeps getting more interesting ever since Neva landed on Lithlorian Island and joined the Dragonslayers.
I liked knowing that the new characters are somehow connected to Neva and their stories are somehow aligned. It makes perfect sense and it was easy for me as a reader to understand what’s going on. I was wondering when will Neva and Alewiscious cross path because since the start of this book, under some of the chapter numbers—before Neva continues telling the entire story in her POV—there are letters from Alewiscious that he wrote to the members of the Obsidian Brotherhood. He mentioned about his time on the island and the experiments he’d been doing in his letters. I didn’t know what his purpose was at first and how he ended up there, but once Neva and the Dragonslayers met Ebenezer Tavish and he told them how he and Alewiscious are connected not because they are former mages of the Brotherhood but because of the magic that Alewiscious has been experimenting on. That was the moment that made me say, “oh…now it make sense.” By meeting Tavish, it also opens up the truth about the Obsidian Brotherhood and Alewiscious’ true nature.
Alewiscious is a very cunning mage. He calculated everything and was being careful with his moves the entire time. He was always willing to help Neva and the Dragonslayers but turns out he had his own hidden motives. He wanted something more powerful to help him demonstrate whatever new experiments he’d been doing for years so that he can earn his place back in the Brotherhood. He was banished due to craving more power, experimenting new magic, and playing with time by prolonging his life.
From his letters, he always mentioned two people named Noridemus and Osirus. There’s a high chances these two will appear in the next book. I don’t think the author mentioned their names only for the sake of mentioning them as Alewiscious’ contacts and not having them actually show up in the story at one point. I’m sure they will play a part in the next book, be it big or small. Ever since Alewiscious’ final letter to them revealed the item he needed, I have no doubt that the Obsidian Brotherhood will try to go after Neva since the said item is in her possession—only if they agreed to Alewsicious’ plan. There are so much to look forward to when it comes to the Brotherhood and the name alone is already intriguing enough for me to want to see an entire legion of mage and what they will do.
That is how meeting Ballard introduced the readers to Alewiscious, Tavish, and the Obsidian Brotherhood. Another thing is, Neva joining the Dragonslayers also introduced the readers to meeting the crew of the Dancing Sandpiper which is a group of pirates. There are so many pirates with so many ships that stops at Lithlorian Island during Docking Day but not many ships can outrun the dragons and the Order. Only the Dancing Sandpiper can do that. By meeting the crew of the Sandpiper ship, readers also get to meet another set of new characters named Mad Merrick which is the ship’s captain and Genivra (a woman with magic) along with their crew members.
Mad Merrick and Genivra may not have important roles in the story but the fact that they are willing to help Neva and the Dragonslayers makes them important enough to me. After all, his ship is the fastest and he never once get in any sort of troubles. I hope he wants to continue helping Neva and the Dragonslayers on her next mission. Plus, Genivra has proven herself useful in their fight against the dragons. Having someone with magic on Neva’s side will make doing her next mission a lot easier.
By agreeing to go to Lithlorian Island also put the Crocutas in Neva’s path which is another small group of new characters introduced to the readers. This small group of people are Neva’s enemies whom she didn’t know at all. It great knowing that they’re gone for good and hopefully they won’t make a comeback like Thatcher did. I understand why they are added in this book but to be honest, their characters contribute nothing to the story at all. They aren’t even important to begin with and are easily defeated. If their characters are cut from the story, it will still go on without a problem. Having Thatcher is already enough to put a setback on Neva since he also went after the Sword of Elon. The Crocutas going after the same thing and yet did nothing to achieve it is embarrassing to me. Like I said, they aren’t even important enough for them to be in the story at all.
I’m sure it was Trinizhi who not only sent the Crocutas to steal the Sword of Elon from inside of the dragon’s lair, but she also sent Thatcher to do the job. It wasn’t stated who told Thatcher to go after the sword but to think logically, Trinizhi is the only one who knew where the Mouth was which is the Sword of Elon. She was the one who told the Neva where to find the sword which is on Lithlorian Island while Neva never even knew the location of the Mouth to begin with. Thatcher like I mentioned earlier is a normal human being and he obviously didn’t know about the Mouth or the importance of it because he’s not a Da’Valia. Only beings such as Da’Valia knew about Dhianz’s trishula and how important they are. Why would a normal human pay attention to a sword that can easily be mistaken for a normal sword? Why would Thatcher stole it from Neva if it’s not important to humans at all and not a single human even knows about it? Surely someone told him about the sword and I have no doubt that it was Trinizhi.
Trinizhi hired so many people to go after the same thing. She made Neva signed a blood contract and then already had a small group of people and one well-known thief on the island to do the job. Why forced Neva to agree to do the mission knowing she might fail? Trinizhi really wanted to control Neva’s life and having Neva’s power. She’s so greedy and power-hungry which is why I never like her character since the first book. In case you didn’t know, Trinizhi is the leader of the Da’Voda clan which is a clan of Neva’s people but she is an over-controlling leader who is greedy for Dhianz’s powers (the Hand, the Eye, the Mouth) and wanted to use those three to rule all Da’Valia instead of bringing peace.
The stakes in this book is already high but it will become even higher in the next book since it’s the final book and a lot of good stuff will happen in it. I don’t know how the author will wrap up the story and Neva’s journey but I hope it will be satisfying instead of disappointing. From the ending of this book, so many fights will happen in the final book. Not sure how many and how big it’ll be but I’m sure Neva will have to face a lot people and fight them since they are after the same thing which is Dhianz’s trishula (the Hand, the Eye, the Mouth). Neva gave Trinizhi a fake object that posed as the Eye while the real Eye is already inside of her—the power of the Eye has been transferred into her body and become one with her, just like how her mother transferred the power of the Hand into her body when she was a baby.
Once Trinizhi found out Neva has both the Eye and the Hand, she may want to take the power of those two from Neva and since Neva’s mission is to return Dhianz’s trishula back to the god and bring peace to Da’Valia, they will have to fight each other due to different intentions. As for the Mouth, luckily Neva used the Eye’s power to see into the future and I’m sure when she told Mari that she had the new coordinate, she means to go after Thatcher and take the Mouth from him. She found out which ship he boarded which is the Ezmerelda—one of the ships the Dragonslayers mentioned during their early discussion about which ship should they board for their escape from the island. She definitely taking that Mouth back and I hope she’ll be successful.
The visions of the future also showed her that her ally Emiliand is fighting the Vodou Witches with Xandrazhi (the leader of another Da’Valia clan). I’m not sure if they survive the battle but it looks like they are trying to stay alive. This is also the part I wonder about. Why even mention the Vodou Witches if they aren’t important? I want to believe that these witches works with the Obsidian Brotherhood. Mages and witches working together doesn’t sound too far-fetched to me but I’m not sure about it either. That is my only theory regarding the witches anyway. Let’s see how important they are in the next book. They don’t seem to be after Neva and only targeting Xandrazhi, so I’m puzzled as to what their deal is and why are they getting a mention in a story focusing solely on Neva. Emiliand mentioned a little bit about them but I viewed it as not important. I have to see what the author has in store for the witches in the final book.
Another vision of the future that the Eye showed Neva is regarding Alewiscious’ meeting with the Obsidian Brotherhood. This only made me believe that the Brotherhood will show up in the final book and that Alewiscious is going to reveal everything to them which makes them to go after Neva. Again, if they agreed to his plan but I hope they won’t go after her. She already has a lot to deal with. I hope they want to help her because she obviously going to need any help she can get if she really want to go up against Trinizhi. I’m sure a legion of experienced and sort-of-immortal mages can go up against one of the Da’Valia’s leader.
There are going to be many fights that will involve Neva in the final book. Neva vs Trinizhi, Neva vs Thatcher, Neva vs the Obsidian Brotherhood (possibly), and if the Vodou Witches shift their attention to Neva then it will be her vs them. I feel bad for Neva, she hasn’t known peace ever since she met Bryand and Astiand then willingly joined them to meet the clan where her mother came from. Her life as a normal human literally ended the moment she embraced her true nature of being a Da’Valia. Now things are getting intense and I hope she wins in the end.
I also hope for the battle scenes to be legendary like the ones in this book. The Dragonslayers going up against the dragons are the highlight of the entire story here. The battle was phenomenal and if it were a film, the scene alone would win so many awards. I was amazed the entire time. All those rough trainings they had to go through, the Dragonslayers managed to win twice against those vicious dragons. Their trainings really worth it even though other gangers look down on them and said they are fools to hope to win against the dragons. The Dragonslayers proved them wrong when they won twice. I hope they will help Neva when she have to face her enemies in a battle in the final book. Also, the Dragonslayers along with the Dancing Sandpiper crew should be protected at all costs. I hope none of them are getting killed in the final book.
The ending of this book was wild and really intriguing. It boost up my excitement for the final book and make me look forward to so many things because now, anything can happen and I’m half ready and half not but still excited for it. Those future visions are enough to make me want the final book now. Will Mad Merrick want to listen to Neva’s words? Which direction will Neva go to next? Is she going after Thatcher first or go to whichever dry land Emiliand and Xandrazi are at to help them against the Vodou Witches? And there’s a matter of Alewiscious and the Brotherhood too, and Astiand and Trinizhi too. So many things are happening in one final book and I’m over here being excited and nervous. I am trying so hard to calm down. Hopefully everything goes smoothly in the next one.
Now moving on to the main characters…
Neva in this book has some improvements from the previous book. Her character is slowly developing into this brave young woman. All this time, she went into hiding because she felt so scared of her own power. She’d seen the damage she’d done when she accidentally unleashed her power without a single malicious intent. It resulted in her injuring her ex-boyfriend and nearly killing him even though she was just enjoying her time with him. I get how scary it was for her and I also get why she ran away, and why she pushed away those who wanted to get close to her. She couldn’t afford to accidentally hurt them or worse.
It wasn’t the power of the Eye or the powers she was born with that scares her, but it was the power of the Hand and the fact that it always wanted to unleash itself when she didn’t want to use it at all that scares her. The Hand is a tough one to control compared to the Eye, but during her second battle against the dragons and she unleashed the power of the Hand while still managed to control it using her mind alone proved that she will be able to control the Hand again and doesn’t have to be afraid to use it when needed. All she needs to do is make it listen to her command only and make sure her mind is strong enough to control the unlimited power of the Hand.
Neva is still as brave and fierce as she was back in the first book except the Hand put her confidence in shambles this time but she gained her confidence back at the end of this book. I can’t wait to see what she will try to do next but most importantly, I want to see her do her own training to control the Hand so that when the time calls for her to use it, she won’t be afraid of unleashing it against her enemies while still be able to protect the people she cares about without worrying that the Hand might try to hurt them too. I hope she’ll survive whatever happens next. If she continue with her plan to return Dhianz’s trishula back to the god, will removing the Hand and the Eye from her body kills her? Both have immense amount of power and removing both from her body at once seems like a life and death situation to me just like transferring the power of both into her body. Guess I have to wait and see the result in the next book.
Astiand on the other hand doesn’t have a big part unlike in the previous book. In this one, he handled things behind the scenes for the most part and only communicate with Neva through a looking glass that he gave her. He also helped Neva even though their distance are too far from one another. He didn’t say anything about what are the things he had to work on in this book regarding Trinizhi. He only mentioned the work he did that Neva asked him to do which is obviously to play his part as a spy. Whatever he did or about to do, I hope the author will show it in the next book. I was hoping for him to get his own POV like Neva’s but what I got is just his POV like Alewiscious’ which is he only tells his side of the story by writing letters to his sister. And those letters can be read under some of the chapter numbers before Neva continues to tell the entire story in her POV. At least I get his POV even though it was in that format than none at all.
From those letters, it gave the readers an insight to his character and to get to know him better. In the previous book, he was this moody and grumpy man who is also very protective but in his letters to his sister, there is more to him than just that. His letters helps me understand him on a much deeper level and from there it proved that he didn’t like Trinizhi’s ideas and plans at all. In the previous book, it seems like he agreed to whatever Trinizhi did but actually he didn’t as he revealed in his letters here. He has an excellent skills at concealing his emotions. I can’t wait to see what will he do now that he revealed his true plan which is to betray Trinizhi and put a stop to all of her plans once and for all. This scares me actually, I hope he won’t get caught. I don’t want him to die but what if he sacrifice his life for Neva? He always put the safety of her life first before his own. I don’t want to think that he might die or even jinx it. I hope he put his plan in motion successfully without any failure.
Emiliand on another hand also doesn’t have a big role in this book just like his role in the previous book. In this one, he helped Neva but then gone on his mission just like he did back in the previous book. His mission this time around is helping Xandrazhi fighting the Vodou Witches. I’m not sure if they’ll survive the attack. There isn’t much to say about him other than he was there for Neva even though it was only for a short period of time. Let’s see how important he’ll be in the next book.
Mari is the new addition to the main characters and even though she’s a Djinn, she’s still pretty helpful and is a good friend to Neva despite her saying that Djinn doesn’t have friends. Their friendship is so wholesome. She was there for Neva and vice versa, and even though she knew Neva’s mission is too dangerous, she still wanted to help. Her character is very important especially when it comes to spying and sneaking on the enemies using her Djinn form which only not many people can see. This is mainly so she can get informations. I can’t wait to see more of what she can do other than possessing people and any beings. How useful can she be in a battle? I’ve seen what she can do against the dragons but I want to see her do some magic and I’m sure a Djinn do have magic even though nothing more is stated regarding her abilities and powers so far. One can only hope.
There isn’t any romance in this book which I’m totally fine with since the stakes are high. All the characters should focus on surviving and finding a solution to their problems. If I were to discuss regarding the romantic relationship of Neva, I strongly hope that she and Astiand are the endgame. I’ve been rooting for them since the first book. I hope there is no love triangle between her, Astiand, and Emiliand. I can’t stand the love triangle trope and passionately hate it, so I hope it won’t come to that in the next book even though there was a hint in both previous book and this one that a love triangle will eventually happen, but I won’t count it since Neva made it clear which of the two men she choose.
Both men treated her with respect and are very kind to her, so I get why she feel conflicted sometimes but she also knew that her feelings for Emiliand is not romantic while her feelings for Astiand on the other hand is the total opposite. Emiliand made her feel safe and so is Astiand but Emiliand couldn’t match the fire inside of her like Astiand did. Also, Emiliand always wanted to protect her whenever she gets into a physical fight despite knowing that she can handle the fight on her own and his overprotectiveness irritated her as she stated in the book. Meanwhile, Astiand didn’t need to protect her in a physical fight at all because he knew she can take care of it on her own and even told Emiliand that she’s doing fine without a protector.
There are many things that points to Neva choosing Astiand more than Emiliand. While she admired Emiliand, she doesn’t have any strong feelings toward him. He once told her that for now they can be friends but he would want more from her which she didn’t say anything to that at all. She never think or even hope of wanting to become more than just friends when it comes to Emiliand, but when it comes to Astiand she dare hope for it. She even said that she wanted to have a future with him, and when Astiand wrote a letter to his sister, he also said that he wanted the same thing too. This is why I strongly believe that they will end up together and hopefully they will. Emiliand may not like it but all he can do is respect Neva’s decision. To add to that, Astiand and Neva always understand each other while Emiliand failed to understand her sometimes.
This sequel as an overall is very enjoyable from the start until the end despite the slow start but it gets better as the story goes on, and it also helps me prepare for the final book. There are so many things to look forward to next, and the ending of this book already hinted that major events will happen in the next installment. I’m excited to see how all of this will end, and I’m sure it’s going to be emotional saying goodbye to this big world and the precious main characters. I can’t wait to see Neva and her trusted allies again and to see how the trilogy will end for them.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES
1. She had wanted to think him indomitable, but he carried invisible scars as clearly as he carried the physical ones.
2. It’s your heart to give and take as you please.
3. I can’t be involved with someone if I’m afraid at every moment that I will hurt them.
4. How was it that he could make everything seem all right when her life was anything but?
5. Sometimes, it was easier to not depend on anyone else.I want you to think real hard about what kind of person you want to be. The kind no one would risk their own necks for or the kind they would risk everything for?
6. She’d been that person once, someone worthy, but that had been a long time ago. She wasn’t sure she could be that person again.
7. I often find a string of truth in every tale of lore.
8. We can’t expect to succeed without being daring.
9. People do stupid things when they’re afraid.
10. This is your second chance. Every choice you make determines who you will be.
11. We all did things we’re not proud of, but we’ve learned to trust ourselves to do the next right thing. It’s all any of us can do. Dwelling on a past you cannot change will only lead to a wasted life.
12. When every choice seemed to have an unintended consequence, how could she choose correctly?
13. It’s a lot easier to fight a dragon with the whole gang backing you up.
***FOLLOW THE TOUR HERE***
Christina Davis was raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a California girl at heart. She spent much of her childhood in and out of hospitals and embraced reading as an escape. After being home-schooled through high school, she graduated summa cum laude from San Jose State University and attended NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute before embarking on a decade-long career in journalism. She enjoys chocolate, cosplay, coffee, and board games, but not necessarily in that order. She now lives in beautiful Monterey County with her husband and daughter.