"Lies That Bind" is a great sequel in the Anastasia Phoenix series. While the first book had a lot of character building plus a big pace slow-down in the middle, this one has a smooth pace that keeps you easily reading throughout the book. Although the story isn't complete, this sequel didn't feel like an in-between book, but rather, told its own story. Here, Anastasia is staying in London with her crew- including her romantic interest Marcus. Determined to take down Department D, they embark on a journey to find other "Dresden kids"- kids who have been wronged by Department D, with the goal of collecting enough evidence to turn over to the CIA and shut it down for good.
Although it helps to have read the first book to really understand the characters, this book is set up well to be read a while after the first- everything from the first book is recapped well (not in too much detail, but just enough to remind you of what happened in the first). I really appreciated that, as it's not always easy to return to a series after some time. While this one maintains the teen-spy feel, it almost begins to feel more like a police procedural. Nothing comes out that is too surprising, but we follow the clues they gather to the end of the book.
The romance really builds well in this book, and although there is some teenager drama, it seems more natural here. The relationships are well done (not only between romantic interests, but between siblings, children, friends, etc.). The book moves really quickly overall and so it doesn't fixate on most of the side characters (there's one that I think maybe will pop up again in future books), but the plot is really driven forward here. More of the mysteries from the first come to light, and I think it advances the overall story really well. I look forward to seeing what Anastasia will do next!
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.