In this second installment of a fantasy-romance series, an immortal woman must deal with her mandatory induction into a council that reaps human souls.
Leah Winters is a 19-year-old college student. She’s also an immortal, part of a bargain her 170-year-old fiance, Jack Hammond, made with the Councilium Animarum to save her life. This moreover led to council member Vita, who had wanted to get rid of Jack, ending up in Shadow Death, which is essentially hell for immortals. But before Leah and Jack can enjoy eternity together, Death makes it clear that he wants Leah to be Vita’s replacement on the council. Leah has no choice in the matter, as Death threatens Jack and her mortal family. She’ll have to train to develop skills such as shadow walking (traveling to other places through shadows) and mind control. Unfortunately, the ultimate goal is for Leah to carry out “gatherings”—collecting mortals’ souls. Those training her include immortal allies, like Artagan, but also a few adversaries upset that Death gave the council seat to Leah. But of greatest concern is Domitilla, Vita’s twin, who Jack suspects is involved in assigning Leah a cruel and seemingly impossible task for the council. Printy (My Soul Immortal, 2014) excels at centering on the romance itself over sex; old-fashioned Jack doesn’t want to consummate the union until after he and Leah are married. This prompts a stirring scene of Leah attempting to seduce Jack, which turns comical when they’re interrupted. But the book gradually transforms into a consistently paced and tense narrative in which Leah’s council obligation remains a constant hurdle for the couple. This comes with moral plights for both protagonists: Leah’s taking the souls of apparently innocent people and Jack’s blaming himself for her dreadful circumstances. Domitilla is a particularly memorable baddie; she’s a definite menace before ever appearing in the narrative, as Jack, from the beginning, anticipates her retaliation for Vita’s fate.
Exemplary sequel that solidifies the main couple’s relationship and takes the supernatural story in new, invigorating directions.