With the aid of her friends, Macy, Flint, Luca, and Mekhi, along with both Jaxon and Hudson, Grace is moving forward, determined to protect those she loves and forge a better future. This will be no easy task, and she must search for a magical relic- with lots of unexpected stops on the path to get there- along with her friends. The journey may break them.
What I loved: This book has a lot of intensity to it, and the world-building is massively expanded. The reader gets to see other kingdoms/courts as well as some of the way the magical world is run (with plenty of greed and corruption). We also get to hear a creation myth that was infinitely interesting. While the earlier books had lighter world-building, this is where the reader can be more fully immersed and learn about the broader magical world of the series. It was easy to become enchanted by each of these glimpses and begin to feel like the reader understands more, particularly with dragons and giants, but there's a lot of intense and enthralling information. The book also teaches more about the mating bonds, and the complexity that has and will face Grace.
In many ways, this book felt more like a questing book, and I really enjoyed the journey, as the characters take small steps toward reaching their ultimate goals. In the process, the journey was equally as fascinating. Character development also increases here, with Grace having many epiphanies about who she is and who she wants to be. Her relationships likewise mature as Grace studies those around her and sees the paths laid out before her. I also enjoyed the new characters we meet, Remy and Calder in particular.
There are some thought-provoking themes in this book about love/sacrifice, guilt and its mental toll, the need for prison reform, and the difficulties around others trying to decide what would be best (eg, parents making decisions for you about what should happen in your life- and the fallout from those drives). The prison themes were really interesting and touched on a lot of the debate around the power dynamics between jailor/prisoner, the meaning of rehabilitation, the cruelty of a system that does not easily allow for such, and the mechanisms by which people are placed into prison. There's a lot more than I can say in just a review, but I found these themes particularly thought-provoking, and they would be great for discussions with book groups.
The book does ultimately end with a cliffhanger, looking towards the next book, and leaving the reader eagerly anticipating the way this journey will ultimately continue/end. I am also curious how some of these plots will grow in the next book, particularly with some of the side characters.
Final verdict: COVET is a heart-pounding, riveting, and captivating sequel in the CRAVE series. Would recommend reading the books in order, but this one is particularly good for people who like questing fantasy, thought-provoking themes, strong world-building, and character growth. Highly recommend for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout's COVENANT and LUX series, TWILIGHT series, and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series.