She cloaks this journey within one that her advisors have recommended - trying to find a spouse and sire an heir. As she travels to the islands within her borders, Amora finds that she still has more to learn about ruling and about the needs of her kingdom. While she travels with her closest friends, Amora's grief and fears keep her apart, not allowing her to share her burdens and sorrows. Keeping these secrets could have dangerous consequences.
What I loved: The world-building in this series really blows the reader away with well-crafted cultures, magic, and mythology. Visidia and its people really come to life on the pages, and I love the way that magic, mermaids, and gods are woven throughout the story. In terms of the characters, the fall-out from the first book felt very real. Amora is struggling, deeply, and her isolation is self-imposed but also a protective mechanism after the trials of the first book. Her grief over her soul/magic and her father are tangible and ever-present, and this felt so genuine. Her character continues to grow through these and other experiences, as well as through interactions with her friends.
We should all hope to have such friends - what a fantastic group of characters. I loved every word I read about each of them, and I would have loved to read a book on them all. They are all so whole and real and with their own stories to tell. I was fascinated by the whole main group, and I grew to love them all through the telling. In terms of the romance, it was a backseat to the themes of politics, morality of power, and grief, but every drop of it we saw was potent. I definitely loved them as a couple and to see how the dynamics and relationship shifted with the challenges placed before them.
In addition to defining herself, Amora must also define the way she wants her country to be run and its future. These weighty decisions are quite thought-provoking, and a major theme is lying, forgiveness, and the path forward from such. The rulers of Visidia have lied to the people for generations, and although she cannot change the past, Amora has major decisions to make about the way she will move the country forward and the truths that the people deserve. These discussions and the way that these ideas and themes evolve throughout the story - from the smaller scale of friends to the larger scale of the country - were really thought-provoking.
On another note, the plot is well wrapped-up, and it did not feel rushed. This was the ending that Amora and her story deserved (even if I may not be ready to leave this fantastic world yet).
Final verdict: With intricate world-building, intriguing themes, and fantastic characters, ALL THE TIDES OF FATE is a satisfying and thought-provoking conclusion to a strong YA fantasy duology. Highly recommend for fans of FABLE, DANCE OF THIEVES, and TO KILL A KINGDOM.