Cerúlia must grow up and learn to fight for her destiny in Kozloff’s (A Queen in Hiding, 2020) second Nine Realms novel.
Her mother, the Queen of Weirandale, is dead, and Cerúlia isn’t a child any more. She’s left her adoptive peasant family in order to escape evil Lord Matwyck’s clutches and eventually escapes Weirandale altogether. Using her ability to talk to animals and several bird-related aliases, Cerúlia manages to trek her way over the mountains and into the nation of Oromondo. Cerúlia knows that the Oros killed her mother, and she wants to avenge her death. She’s heard of a group of raiders who work to disrupt the Oros as they invade and pillage neighboring nations. When Cerúlia finally manages to find them and convince them to let her join up, she discovers not only new friends, but a newfound sense of purpose. But is any of that enough to win back her throne or even save herself from the Oro army? Interspersed with Cerúlia’s plotline are various threads centering on the Oro army and people, Lord Matwyck’s kindhearted son, and the raiders themselves. This is the second of a four-part series, and, as such, it falls into the expected pitfalls. The self-contained plot works, but it inevitably feels more like a buildup to further books in the series than its own story. It rises above filler, though, and Kozloff is clearly laying the groundwork for something good, particularly with the very last chapter.
Perfectly fine despite second-book syndrome.