Faith and Moonlight continues as an unapologetic out and out serial storyline. Kay did what she had to for her place in the Faith school for Razors. Sleepwalking, nightmare-ridden, all but abandoned by her beloved Roan, can Kay control the dark power rising within her?
It’s very hard for me to talk about this one without spoilers, so bear with me here because I have ALL THE FEELINGS.
Kay is accepted as part of Faith, and her skills are developing rapidly. Everyone – from the adorable Eric Saer to the utterly untrustworthy Gideon – reassures her that what she feels is the spirits of the Ascended, but the dark power that rises within her seems distinct from what she feels when she pierces the veil. She struggles to retain her grip on it, but it’s all too clear to anyone familiar with narrative tropes that this is going to end badly (and in case you think there’s room for escape, there’s plenty of foreshadowing to point up what’s coming).
It’s almost reassuring when she hears that Roan too is having nightmares – not that the once inseparable orphans are seeing much of one another these days. While Kay is still surrounded by the warm-hearted gang that took them in on their arrival, Roan has been scooped by the insufferable Royals. Gideon is determined to forge him into a weapon that can top the Ladders and win a place in the Grand Tournament – and in case he needs added motivation, Roan is taken to the Colosseum to see what happens to the Razors that don’t over-achieve.
Hats off to Gelineau & King at this point, because they finally lift the lid on why the Faith school seems so idyllic (except for the snotty Razors) yet every Razor we’ve met in the other Echoes has been an arrogant, mean streak of corruption. Why do I love the explanation? Because it’s pure economics. Anyone who can pierce the veil can be a Razor – but the numbers who are guaranteed work (for the king or the nobility) are strictly controlled. Of the 3,000 in Roan’s year, only 50 will be offered a place. The rest? Well, they can fight to the death in the Colosseum in the hope of being taken on, they can give up their powers… or they can
turn to the Dark Side become bandits or mercenaries.
Gideon is certain Roan can win a place in the Tournament. Suddenly, the pressure is on – and the consequences are clearer. The Schools are not the shining promise the orphans hoped; but there’s still a chance for Roan to redeem his past and win a future.
It’s a shame he doesn’t have the time to stop and tell Kay any of this. Roan fails at friendship in a number of predictable ways, too busy being wrapped up in his own schemes for Making Everything Okay. In the meantime, his newfound Royal friends are going out of their way to bait Kay and her friends. It can’t end well.
In true serial style, Faith and Moonlight Part 2 ends on a cliffhanger – and the parallels between this and Skinshaper are hard to ignore (and intriguing). I am ten shades of distraught about where this story is going because Kay, Eric and Sabine are just adorable (and yes, I clocked the hint in Civil Blood). Roan is… less my cup of tea, but I feel for him. He’s caught between worlds and memories and loyalties, and the question is whether he’ll be able to see through all that to recognise where the real danger lies.
If this instalment felt a little less complete than the first, I think it’s largely because I’m now so utterly hooked and demand to know WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. The idea of waiting 4 months to find out is a new form of cruelty. Well done, Messrs Gelineau & King. You got me.
Faith and Moonlight Part 2 (Echoes of the Ascended | Roan and Kay 2) will be released on May 15 2016. 7 other Echoes of the Ascended are available now.
I received a copy of Faith and Moonlight Part 2 from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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