Allegra Saldana, from Assassin’s Heart (2016), is full-grown and plunged into new dangers.
An invitation comes from the king of Lovero, summoning the Saldana presence out of exile, to swear fealty as one of the nine clipper Families to his daughter now that the princess has come of age. Allegra’s especially excited at the chance to finally learn more about her parents, whose fates were covered in the first book and whom Allegra’s aunt Lea refuses to speak of. When Allegra learns the truth, however, she’s devastated, and her whole sense of identity is undermined. The repetitive prose from the first book is more effective here when read through the lens of a conflicted character who’s replaying what she knows to try to make up her mind. She also throws herself into the arms of a handsome traveler boy, Nev, for comfort in steamy hook-ups that feel like a deep connection—until Nev spots Allegra’s pendant, a gift from her half-traveler uncle, Les: it’s sacrilege when the singura’s worn by a nontraveler. Thematically, love and freedom are set in compelling opposition. The climactic battles thrill. Allegra’s a blonde, white woman, and, borrowing further from Romani tropes, Nev’s olive-skinned, a traveler characteristic; otherwise both racial and sexual diversity are common and unremarkable in this fantasy.
A well-realized fantasy with strong action and romance. (Fantasy. 14-adult)