Upon arriving in Sudesia, Ruby learns that she is not a welcome addition to their society and is given a very short amount of time to prove herself amongst the Firebloods, to attempt to become a Master (after a series of life-threatening tests). Although I thought this sounded like something that could make a whole book, the tests are a relatively small part of the overall story and most of the novel deals with interpersonal relationships. Ruby seems a little immature and to spurn the devotion of Arcus. The love triangle (or should I say square?) that develops felt a little forced, and I couldn't really understand all the drama around it. The relationships seemed like more of after-thoughts than anything else, and I couldn't get into the dilemmas/dramas surrounding them. The very real threat of the Minax who was released and continues to torment the kingdom and Ruby takes a backseat to a lot of relationship drama, when I often felt it should be the other way around.
Overall, I still enjoyed it and would give it 3-3.5 stars, but it didn't spark the same passion I felt about the first book and seemed more like a rehashing/less personal growth in this one. I am still curious to see how this develops and would like to continue with the series- I'm hopeful that we'll see a lot more growth and focus on the storyline that pops up here and there (the battle with the Minax/threats to sanity that were hidden in the thrones). The last part of the book was again the most action-packed and interesting, while the first half seemed a bit slow. I'll be curious to see how the next one develops!