The second installment of K. Mareet’s Evolution of Peri Delant saga (after 2014’s Blood Legacies) continues the fantastical adventures of the self-empowered and foul-mouthed Delant as she and her family collectively play a powerful role in unifying a realm torn apart by hatred and ignorance.
With no prelude to give readers a refresher as to what transpired in Book One, the story begins in a jarring fashion, introducing more than a dozen characters in the first few pages and immersing readers in Delant’s family’s frenetic existence. The family consists of hunky husband Duke Vanik, their five children, including newborn twins, and a sizable extended family.
Delant and crew seemingly go from one mishap to another, helping Vanik’s brother, Axon, in a dispute with the king involving Axon’s two unattached daughters; escaping the clutches of a group of depraved, death worshipping cultists; helping the survivors establish a sanctuary called New Home, and aiding an ornery dwarf in finding his people, to name a few.
There are some highlights here. The writing is fluid and clean. Delant is a fascinating and unique character with untapped potential. The author’s adept use of symbolism and theme is profound (for example, the memorable stone carving in the center of the village square in New Home).
But for all the action and adventure, the reading experience is conspicuously flat, both in emotional intensity and overall tension. The narrative is needlessly wordy and fixated on dialogue, which negatively impacts pacing, narrative momentum, and immersion. Additionally, while featuring scenes of mundanity—eating, talking before bed, etc.—is advantageous for deepening character development and dynamism, the overuse of these scenes makes for a meandering and ultimately lackluster reading experience.
Lastly, while no one should judge a book by its cover, the ill-conceived cover art does nothing to help identify the genre category and narrative content to potential readers.
In short, some revision is necessary in order for this story to attract an enthusiastic readership.
Also available as an ebook.