Tenley’s joined Troika, but Myriad’s not out of tricks, and the war between the afterlives is far from over.
After Firstlife (2016), Tenley (fair-skinned, with vague “Native American” heritage) is dead at Myriad’s hands, but the battle rages as she wakes to her Troikan Everlife. This puts Irish-accented, bronze-skinned Killian in the awkward position of defending himself by killing attacking Troikans while protecting Tenley by killing his fellows in Myriad. By the time the Troikans get Tenley to safety in their realm, the casualty count is high enough that she doesn’t receive the warmest of receptions—people are concerned she’s more loyal to Killian than to her own people. Tenley hardly has enough time to grieve her losses before Gen. Levi sends her through her paces, as they need to get her to her full potential as a light-generating Conduit as quickly as possible. Myriad has managed to infect a human, biracial black/white Dior, with Penumbra, an almost mythical plague said to create an Abrogate (the Myriad equivalent of Conduit)—and only Tenley can help Dior. Despite Tenley’s thoughtfully expository narration, readers who skipped the first title are likely to be hopelessly lost. Returning readers will find that the chessboard-strategy maneuvers and star-crossed romance are satisfyingly bolstered by themes of forgiveness and personal responsibility.
Tense, philosophical, and enthralling. (Fantasy. 13 & up)