To stop the Sorceress and save Sempera, Jules must unravel the tangled web of her past lives and keep those she loves at arm’s length.
Framed for the murders of the queen and her childhood friend Roan, Jules Ember is on the run. She is the Alchemist—the reborn ancient nemesis of the Sorceress, who is the true murderer, hiding in plain sight as Caro, the queen’s lady-in-waiting. Now Caro is bent on breaking Jules’ heart by killing everyone she cares about: If she succeeds, she believes she’ll take back the heart Jules stole from her centuries ago, restoring her full power. Jules embarks on a quest to unearth memories from her past lives, hoping to find the key to defeating Caro. Liam, Roan’s brother and an expert on the Alchemist, wants to help. But Jules, who is drawn to him, is torn, not wanting to risk his life. Each recovered memory leads Jules toward a weapon that could end this centuries-long battle, but finding out the truth proves as difficult as keeping her loved ones safe. Jules’ journey at first feels aimless, and her pursuit by the Sorceress far removed, lessening the tension. The reveal at the end returns the focus to the lore, where the story really soars, but it’s a too-winding road to reach it. All main characters are white.
Directionless dips into the far-flung past don’t allow the underlying mythology to sing as it did in the previous installment. (Fantasy. 14-adult)