The runaway princess-bride of Roar (2017) returns to protect her city from threats both political and magical.
With her newfound magical abilities, Princess Aurora and her team of storm hunters return to her city of Pavan, where they discover how bleak the situation has become. The Locke family has seized control over the city by keeping Aurora’s mother, Queen Aphra, drugged, and their governance style is ruthless and cruel while refugees from the villainous Stormlord’s path of destruction pile up outside the city looking for salvation. Being back home means complications for Aurora’s relationships, especially with love interest Kiran, as she’s pulled between the liberties she had as Roar and her obligations as Aurora—and the secret threatens their romance. In the city, she lucks into contact with the revolutionary group resisting the Lockes. Despite the young adult heroine–as-rebel storyline’s lack of freshness, the emphasis on Aurora’s own agenda and on the characters’ ties to each other bolsters the plot. Breaks from Aurora’s and Kiran’s viewpoints—focusing on Novaya, Cassius, and Cruze (through flashbacks from 17 years prior)—give enough space that the central romance doesn’t smother and even allow for hints of other characters’ romances to come. Though the less-a-conclusion-than-a-pause ending is typical of middle books, the last act has surprises and action. Aurora is white, but many other characters are described as having varying shades of brown skin, including Kiran and Cassius.
Adequate escapism. (Fantasy. 14-adult)