Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Endless Knight (Arcana Chronicles #2) by Kresley Cole #Review


Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Author: Kresley Cole
Audible || Amazon || Barnes & Noble
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Audible Audiobook Purchase
Rating: 5 out of 5 (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)

(!!!Warning!!! Possible spoilage for anyone who has not read book one, Poison Princess. If you have, your good to go. Carry on.)
"This is what I truly am…"

Jackson stumbled back from me, making the sign of the cross. Just as I once predicted. With that one gesture, he has broken my heart utterly.

—"And yet, I could not be prouder, Empress"— seductive Death whispered in my mind.

I heard him so clearly; he must be close. I had nothing left to lose, no reason to live in fear of him. "Watch your six, Reaper, I'm on the hunt."

A rasping chuckle. —"Your Death awaits."—

I started laughing, and I couldn't stop. Jackson paled even more. I hoped he would desert me now and take the three with him, out of my reach. Because otherwise, the Empress might just kill them all—
It's official! We definitely have ourselves another winner! But before I get to the story let me say something about the format I used. I was given a copy of this book for review, but due to a severe back injury and lots of pain meds, actually "reading" a printed version became impossible. So I purchased it in audiobook format instead. I actually prefer audiobooks anyways, but I've noticed that I don't really like to listen to YA in audiobook because the narrators always seem less than desirable to me. However, I'm also not a teenager so maybe that's the problem.

In the audiobook for Endless Knight, we have only one POV so we only have one narrator. The first book, Poison Princess, had both a male narrator, Keith Nobbs, for Jack's POV and a female narrator, Emma Galvin, for Evie's. While I thought Keith's narration for all male characters was awesome and spot on, especially the cajun creole, I didn't care for the way he performed Evie's voice. I had similar feelings about Emma's narration, except for her it is more about accents than tone. Because she can't pull off the cajun creole accent, her Jack just isn't right in my opinion. It sometimes became harder to determine WHO was actually doing the talking a few of times. However, she did do a great job with Death. So I'm torn. It wasn't horrible narration, but it wasn't as good as it could have been either. In looking at other reviews, I seem to be in a minority though. Lots of reviewers were more than pleased with her performance and she is apparently a very popular narrator on many other YA series. However, I'm personally going to recommend actually "reading" the book. Preferably in a format with actual covers you can ogle and caress lovingly, because this series is definitely one to keep on your bookshelf.

Now, for the story… I don't really know what to say that won't give away any spoilers, except that we start off right where we left off in the last book. Evie has defeated the… well, you know who, and has blossomed (pun intended) fully into her powers in a portentous and eventually "uh-oh!" moment as she realizes that Jack has witnessed the whole thing. And that's really about all I can give you without slipping into spoilage territory. Except maybe to say… WHAT an imagination Ms. Cole has. This story is just as clever, inventive and intriguing as the last one with lots of action and shocking surprises. The only difference is the second book seems a lot more gruesomely gorier than the first. Seems impossible in a series with Zombies, I know. But trust me on this one. She's also done a fine job stirring up an emotional hornets nest of conflict, and angst. Wait… let me rephrase that. It's more like she's used a bat and a lot of shaking to make good and sure, by the end, your emotionally conflicted, angsting hard and wondering how in the hell this is all going to resolve itself? And, YES, there is a cliffhanger. So if you hate cliffhangers, you've been warned.

We are introduced to several new characters from the arcana in Endless Knight, like Lark (Strength, Mistress of Fauna) and Ogen (The Devil, Foul Desecrator). Lark uses animals kinda like wargs do on Game of Thrones and is a tad bit on the scary side. Ogen is… well, beastly, for lack of a better word, and quite a bit farther to the south side of scary. Think more along the lines of the seventh level of hell? And just like the Alchemist in the first book, there is another creepy villain they have to avoid in Endless Knight as well. The Hierophant is the leader of the cannibals and lets just say… soilent green never looked so tasty compared to the way these people operate. Last but not least, we have Jack, our lovable, cajun, bad, boy from the wrong side of the swamp and Evie (The Empress, Our Lady of Thorns), a once regular girl with a troubled past, now a supernatural girl (with wickedly supernatural gardening skills) and an even more troubling present.
"You smell like honey suckle. You liken' ole Jack now?"

"I never stopped liking you. Even when you were warding me away with the power of Catholicism."

"Can't help the way I was raised--anything supernatural is supposed to be either a miracle or satanic."

I rolled my eyes. "And you're still trying to figure out which I am?"

"Non. I'm trying to figure out if I'm still Catholic."
Now they're stuck in a battle royale (of sorts) to the death with other kids who's supernatural powers all stem from the characters in the tarot. The prize for the last one standing is immortality and possibly (depends on who wins) a long lonely existence, full of regret, guilt and the need for lots of intense psychotherapy. Who wouldn't after such a gruesome experience?

Endless Knight also gives us a much bigger broader view of Death. Who has been chasing after Evie since the first book, warning the others that her death belongs to him alone. Death is quite an intriguing character; deadly serious and menacing, with mad warrior skills, but also intelligent, well read, gentlemanly and… YES, a sizzling hottie!
Death raised his brows, unashamed to be caught ogling.

"Just because you're a gutless harlot doesn't mean I won't find your . . . attributes attractive. I might be immortal, but I'm still a red-blooded male."
But the way he plays the game leaves you questioning… what is REALLY going on and what are his actual intentions? For that matter, I had the same questions about Lark and Ogen, because you never know… can you really trust ANY of the players in the game? Could people that look and seem like your friends and allies be your worst enemy in disguise? Is it possible there's a real solution beyond murdering everyone? Or are most players just getting played… by each other. We'll have to stick with it to the end to find out where Ms. Cole takes this crazy train. 'Cause at this point, I'm suspicious of pretty much everyone. On a lighter note, there appears to be more than one love connection brewing between characters, so that must mean MORE books from different POV's. Yay!

All in all, I loved this book just as much as Poison Princess, but waiting for the next one is going to be a killer!

Yep, I did just say that.

I fully recommend Endless Knight to anyone who is already a fan and everyone who has never read a Cole novel. Plus, I actually think this series makes the best introduction into Kresley Cole's writing.

P.S. - I've gotten to the point where I ignore most book trailers because… well, they're always kinda cheap and cheesy. But I have to say this is a really interesting book trailer. Very well done. Kudos to the people who made it. You should check it out!


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