Gut-Wrenching, Heart-Warming, & Action-Packed Night – Alexandria Warwick

Hello, my dear book lovers,

Ah, do I have a juicy review for you today. The author of this book, Alexandria, kindly contacted me and asked if I could review this ARC after I had previously reviewed the first one in the series (which you can read here), and I just couldn’t say no. I had to find out what happened after that cliff-hanger! Now we are back here, and I am ecstatic about this book. It is phenomenal, and there is something about it that just makes me feel so content and like hugging an old friend. The second book is out in less than a month and I’m so excited! The first book was amazing, but the second one is something else entirely, and I mean that in the best way. Read more below to find out what I’m talking about!

Information

TitleNight (North #2)
AuthorAlexandria Warwick
Format
E-book, Advanced Reader Copy
Pages
392
Publisher
Wolf Publishing
Publication Date
October 8th, 2020
Language
English
Genre
Fantasy
Blurb:

After months in captivity, Apaay managed to escape Yuki’s labyrinth with her life. But her freedom did not come without a steep cost. When the Face Stealer, the North’s most notorious demon, calls in her blood oath, Apaay must heed his demand. Debts, after all, must be repaid.

As Apaay attempts to navigate her uprooted life, something dark slithers among the snow-dusted conifers of the North. A long-dead war is unfinished, and there are those who would see it revived. In a place where misplaced loyalty could mean her death, Apaay must look inward to repair her broken soul—for if she cannot place trust in those around her, she might find enemies are closer than they appear.

In this stunning follow-up to Below, Alexandria Warwick brings the second book in her dark and seductive North series to thrilling new heights.

Thoughts

I am struggling to find the words to describe how much I adored this book. It has everything I could want in a story and hits all the right notes. I love the characters, the worldbuilding, the tension and conflicts. It is such a rich and beautiful story.

There was a great deal of worldbuilding, as well as insight into the world’s history and backstory which led the Face Stealer and his allies to be in the present moment of the second book. It’s full of fantasy, and it worked so well. The creatures were terrifying but not too unbelievable, and I am still crazy about the Inuit lore. It’s such a fascinating culture.

The book had a much slower pace to it, but it worked well with the story and the anticipation of bigger things to come. There was a good amount of action and mystery that kept me hooked, and I could not put the book down for the life of me during those moments. There are also so many amazing reveals that by the end of it I was just gaping at the screen of my iPad. It ended with so many cliff-hangers and I have no idea what is going to happen next!

I loved the increased focus on the Face Stealer, or Numiak, as is his real name. We see more of his role in this whole conflict between the different Territories and the Unuma/shapeshifters, and we find out that not everything is as it seems. Should the kindness he is showing now erase what he did whilst he was in the labyrinth? His turbulent relationship with Apaay explores this question throughout the book.

I also loved how this book did not shy away about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. We see Apaay, our strong and brave heroine in the first book, slowly deteriorate into a self-hating survivalist who struggles to find herself again and forgive herself for her past transgressions. Her home and her community have been destroyed and scattered, and she blames herself for all of it. She becomes very distant from her friends and family and struggles to understand her place as a survivor. She suffers from nightmares about what she has done for her family. But the worst thing of all to her – the person who started all of this, the Face Stealer – is now her greatest ally against Yuki, the person who caused her all this pain. They must work together to stop the worst that is yet to come, a war that can end everything. They are quite the pairing; they balance each other out and they challenge each other at the same time.

Both Numiak and Apaay struggle to find a balance in their new relationship, and it was interesting to see how it unfolded and changed throughout the book. We see more behind the façade of the Face Stealer, and look more into the complexities of Numiak, and how he became said Face Stealer. He is an extraordinarily complex individual and I have such a soft spot for him.

Apaay’s emotional and mental journey was by far the best part of this whole book. We see a whole new side of her – it is sad, dark, and a bit nerve-wrecking because she pushes so many people away and is so sceptical of Numiak’s intentions and kindness. She goes through so many emotions, and her journey is just that – a struggle. Apaay wallows, and hurts, and works against her own interests and those of others, until it’s too late. But she slowly finds her way back and learns how accept and let go of the past. She doesn’t realize how her own mental health issues affect others around her, and she struggles with thinking outside of her own dark thoughts and assumptions.

Ila also takes more of an active role in this story and works on her own fears and lack of strength. I could really relate to Ila and her insecurities and seeing her work so hard to be strong and find out where she came from and who she is nothing short of inspiring. She is so full of love, and strength, and kindness, and she really cares about others. You also see her struggle with her friendship with Apaay, feeling angry, helpless and insecure, and it is heart-breaking. This creates a lot of friction between them, which is expected, but it is still painful to read.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.


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