The story immediately pulls the reader back into the dark and complex world where Moria and Ashyn are struggling to find the taken children from Edgewood. With vivid, quick descriptions and a slow-burning, but fast, pace, Kelley Armstrong skillfully weaves a plot line that kept me up far, far past by bedtime. The tension growing from the mystery around the empire flows into both Ashyn and Moria’s romantic ventures, creating more than a few moments where I wanted to throw the book across the room in delicious frustration.
While the first book contained more physical horror, this book still seems darker as the sisters battle their lingering emotions from the earlier dangers and face new and unexpected conspiracies. However, Armstrong leaves plenty of room for comic relief with delightful wit interwoven in the dialogue. All together, the emotions in this story, from the sobs to the laughter, make the characters feel real and true.
Some of the mysteries of the story left me a bit confused as far as direction goes. The focus in the first part revolved around finding the children, but there are times throughout that make it is easy to forget the reason they are embarking on all the various quests. As more mysteries are added, the original one (the location of the children) seems to fall away a bit.
Likewise, as more relationships come into the mix, the central relationship between Moria and Ashyn isn’t as strong. The two start out the story a bit disconnected in their individual grief, and I felt like there was never a resolve to that. The two do have some meaningful scenes together, but for the majority of the book, their relationship doesn’t continue to develop or grow.
Empire of Night is a wickedly dark and entirely mesmerizing story. Moria and Ashyn embark on journeys full of danger, death, and romance that wrapped me in so well that it was nearly impossible to put the book down. Though there are a few areas that I wanted more from, there is no doubt that the book hangover from this one will last a long time.