Series: Florence Waverly #2
Published: November 28th 2012
Being the only human in a world of merfolk... isn't easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.After posting the review for the first installment of this series, Florence, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Mr. Cho, offering his second book in the series for review. Of course I was happy to do so. I was unable to get to the book for a few weeks but finally, I picked up my kindle and started reading it. WOW. Amazing. It is absolutely incredible to see the evolution of an author, and how their writing changes and matures. Some authors start off badly and stay that way. Some start off excellently and never manage to achieve that again. And some just keep doing better. Ciye Cho keeps doing better.
The tournament is a rite of passage--a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament... or will she perish inside it?
Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.
The first installment had it’s kinks and issues, but merited the 4 armchairs I gave it. After reading this one, I’m tempted to change my rating to three armchairs, and give this one 4, just so that the improvement is more obvious.
There is less of a focus on the world-building details given that it has already been established in book one, instead, we get to focus more on the characters; Florence’s adjustments to her new life, and the fact that not all is what it seems. The first book works hard to establish the Reader’s belief in a harmonious and peaceful society where every creature has its place and its job. The second book deconstructs that. Not only is this a part of the plot, but you see in the new mers that Florence meets that not everybody is that simple. The princess mer is not the only one with difficulty choosing a life path. Wynn wants more than one life path and Marilenna wants to excel at them all before she settles for one.
The plot of the book was refreshing. It made use of a different “bad guy” with different ambitions and intentions. Because it does this, it avoids that “middle book” slump where the middle of a series isn’t as developed as the beginning and end. Instead, Cho used Luminaire to drive forward characterization, demonstrate how anxious Niemela is getting, and set up the scene at the end so that the third book ties back to the first.
There were a few inconsistencies and plot holes, but overall, this book was a huge improvement and highly entertaining, and I can only expect more of the same at this point for book three.