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If the first book was okay-ish, this one is just out right bad. I despised the main character more with every page I read, her actions and thoughts just do not make any sense whatsoever. Her „mission“ to solve her twin‘s murder is mentioned once every 20 pages or so and she is claiming to have some kind of plan (she doesn‘t, at least not one that the reader get‘s to hear) which is why she can’t give in to be with her stupid prince. Who, by the way, is actually a very nice and considerate man, who saves her life on the regular and treats her like a queen. One thing that made it particularly hard for me to keep reading is the fact that the author never explains any plot or location changes. The story just jumps from one point to another and the reader is left to to retrace what just happened by themselves. It just does not make any sense and I am very mad at that book and the fact that I spent money on it.
** major spoilers ahead** I wasn’t thrilled with the first book, but I was still holding out hope that what I found the first book lacking in would amount to secrets/plot twists that would be revealed in the second. I wasn’t entirely wrong, but boy was I bored. Most of this book was a struggle to read. As I said in my review of the first book, the story has such an amazing foundation for a truly magic, dark, forbidden romance with an intricate plot and beautifully built characters and world. How Maniscalco dropped the ball this badly, I’ll never know. I can’t even tell you what happened in this story because NOTHING. HAPPENED. The Sin Corridor was intriguing, but once again Emilia was the damsel in distress who got sick or hurt and needed to be saved by Wrath. Of course she made it out completely unscathed, we can’t have Emilia facing any consequences. There are so many times Emilia throws herself into a situation out of pride or anger or god only knows what where she absolutely should face some consequences, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t even get a scar from any of the injuries she sustains in the first or last book. The one consequence she faced was losing her magic for stealing a grimoir, and there was absolutely no sense of urgency over it?? Not once did it hinder Emilia. She told no one, didn’t do anything to get it back, and only had the Crone return her magic in one of the last chapters just because. There were many opportunities for interesting scenes- visiting other circles and dealing with culture clashes and snobbery from nobles, running into unique monsters and demons and being actually put in danger for once (which would’ve made her losing her magic actually interesting), or the princes actually being the embodiments of SIN and trying to mess with her instead of handing her clues and tips for the “mystery” of who she was and what happened to her sister. Despite the boring chapters of training to resist the emotional influences of the princes of sin and the HUGE hype around the feast of wolves, the feast was the most lack luster event possible. Big whoop, people publicly fornicating- no one tried to mess with Emilia, Pride was boring as all get out, and NO ONE HAD TO EXPOSE THEIR GREATEST FEAR. There could’ve been some actual danger and interesting experiences with Emilia or Wrath being faced with their biggest fears, but no. And I would’ve LOVED reading about the traditional hunt and seeing what an ice dragon could’ve done, but of course we had to follow Emilia’s little solo trek across the circles to find some convenient plant that knocks a prince out. And when she returns and meets Pride, the literal devil, he’s the most boring and weak minded character to the point Emilia corners him into a deal. Very “and the y/n saved the day because they’re just so badass and impeccably dressed.” And can we talk about the princes?? In the first book they actually inspired fear, but in this one they’ve taken on the much unearned status of lovable villains. Oh, and we haven’t even met Sloth yet. Emilia is one of the hardest main characters to root for I’ve ever encountered. She follows no lines of logic, quickly makes friends with a girl in hell just because she’s nice to her and decides to consider her her new bff, and you can not tell if she loves or hates Wrath at any given point. Yes “there’s a fine line” and all that, but I’ve read enemies to lovers before and there was always a defined progression of affections, maybe with a few hindrances along the way. Emilia flip flops from using Wrath for her own gains to suddenly being in love then back to using him. She finally decides at the literal end of the book to consummate their marriage bond, and even then it’s in the hopes of breaking whatever spell or curse or whatever it is I’m supposed to care about that blocks out her memories of whoever she really is. The plot was boring- too many things happened for convenience sake so Emilia didn’t have to work for anything, as always. The food and clothing descriptions received more attention than the actual plot. Wrath being king was not a shocker, I had that one figured out with the first book. Emilia STILL had not expanded her magic (we won’t even talk about her “big emotional explosion of magic” at the end being a fire flower. Like, really?). The big interesting climax event resulted in Emilia and Wrath being forced to get off rather than share one or the others biggest fear (oh nooooo). Emilia’s constant inner dialogue was drawn out, boring, overwhelming, and honestly? Confusing. Maniscalco threw so many theories at us, I honestly couldn’t find a reason to care. I still don’t care that Emilia might be someone cursed to forget who she really is. I kind of don’t care that Vittoria might be alive either. This book did little to make me want to read the third. The many typos did not help. To be quite honest, there’s not much in this second book to make me want to continue reading this series.