4 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work.
I love this new Mercedes Lackey series. Here is the link for my review of the first one.
Like a lot of Mercedes Lackey series, the first book is mostly used as an introduction to the plot and the world of the series. Now that we are on the second book, we get seriously into the meat of the story.
Joy has mostly gotten used to living in the city. The celebrity status of Hunters no longer surprises her, she has friends and has just managed to become an Elite. Even her romantic relationship is going well. Her uncle decides to assign her to patrol the sewers. Larger and stronger monsters have been sneaking into the city somehow and her uncle has a hunch they are going under the barrier.
Joy does end up finding newer and larger monsters, but also starts tripping over Psimon bodies. The first one or two might be coincidences, but soon it becomes obvious that something weird is happening. The Psimon command orders her point blank to leave it alone, but something murdering powerful psychics in the sewer is hard to put aside.
Adding to the trouble are increased attacks against the city, sightings of monsters that have never been encountered, and the possibility that Ace may still be gunning for revenge. The pacing moves along really nicely and we get to know the characters introduced in the first book a lot more.
This is a really good second book in a series. It follows and enhances the storyline the first has set up, while deepening the plot, adding some new problems and trials and leaving room for a good solid third book. It does not fall off or stagnate like a lot of second books do.
The one problem I have with quite a few Mercedes Lackey books is what a simplistic worldview they present. The good guys are good and the bad guys are bad and you can easily tell one from the other. There is really no moral relativism, or even an attempt to justify bad behaviour in a way that might be empathizable. The moral questions are never tough and the good guys always do what is right, whatever the cost may be. Because of this, they are excellent comfort books, but not that great if you are looking for a challenge. If I want to question my worldview or solve a philosophical quandary, these are not the books you go to. They are great for when you are sick or sad though.
This is a great second book and I think everyone who enjoys YA fantasy should take a look at this one.