Gaines’ (Amare: Bloodstreams, 2016) sequel sees a flurry of new revelations change the dynamic between Amias and his nemesis, Kaden.
Amias is an altéré—a fighter who was born with enhanced strength, stamina, and healing abilities. More than a year ago, his confrontation with rival altéré Kaden, a criminal who kills anyone unwilling to join his organization, led to the deaths of his brother, Blaise; his mentor, Virgil; and his lover, Jasmine. Now, the altéré who fight for good operate from an old cement factory outside London, and along with some human allies (including Mia, Amias’ ex-girlfriend), they number about 200 strong. Their greatest fighter, a woman named Olivia, trains with Amias. His new mentor, John, believes that Amias will be able to take Kaden down; however, the younger man is insecure in his powers. Later, Amias nearly kills one of Kaden’s people, and John fears that Amias is dangerously obsessed with vengeance. As a result, John places an altéré named Lucas in charge of the next mission to gather intel on Andre, Kaden’s deadliest agent. The six-person surveillance mission, however, goes very wrong, and Amias ends up face-to-face with the man who destroyed his family. Kaden then reveals shocking information about Amias’ parents and sibling—but can the manipulative villain be trusted to tell the truth? In this sequel, Gaines adds to his narrative mythology when a council of altéré leaders from around the world meets in London to decide how to beat Kaden. Action fans will find much to love, including an opening melée at a rock concert and a chase on foot through a restaurant. The hard edge of realpolitik intrudes on the gleeful mayhem during a waterboarding scene. Gaines skillfully executes several twists—sometimes playing upon established events, but occasionally stunning audiences with new revelations. Amias also receives solid advice along the way, such as “You can make a choice to allow what’s happened to overcome you, or you can let it make you stronger.” The finale brings savage closure, but also leaves the door open for further adventures.
A substantive sequel that strengthens the foundation of its predecessor.