The end of the world is nigh, and the characters from Given to the Sea (2017) must decide how to meet it.
Khosa—now the Redeemed and queen—is married to the king of Stille, Vincent, although they haven’t consummated the marriage despite pressure to produce a royal child, as Khosa can only endure Donil’s touch. Meanwhile, Dara, unwilling to see her beloved Vincent married to another, sets off on her own to exact revenge on Witt for killing her people, the Indiri. Donil and Khosa resist their attraction to each other out of loyalty to Vincent, while Vincent, aware of this, endures the pain of his wife’s romantic rejection. Meanwhile, Witt struggles with un-Lithos-like feelings of compassion and regret. When Khosa discovers an islander has built a sailing ship, she hopes to build more for those brave enough to leave their dying island. Elsewhere, Khosa and Donil must face the consequences of their actions, while a rescue attempt by Vincent and Donil yields unexpected results. The ending of this lyrically written sequel is even more shocking, well-executed, and, refreshingly, not entirely happy. Most characters are presumed white, though Dara and Donil are speckle-skinned Indiri.
The distinct perspectives shine, and the harsh-yet-hopeful conclusion ensures this duology doesn’t succumb to the tired trope of happily-ever-after, making this a worthwhile read. (Fantasy. 14-adult)