Game of Thrones meets Shadow and Bone in the second book in this action-packed fantasy from Andrea Robertson, the internationally bestselling author of the Nightshade series. Ara has taken up her mantle as the Loresmith--but her journey is far from over. After suffering betrayals and losses, Ara, Nimhea, Lahvja, and Teth must try to come together and find the Loreknights across the kingdom. The Loreknights are their only hope in overthrowing the evil Vokkans and putting Nimhea on the throne for good. But their journey will put Ara and her companions in grave danger--from the endless pursuit of the Vokkans to perilous encounters with the gods, and the near impossible trials they face along the way--will they be able to survive long enough to help the rebellion? And through it all the Vokkans are expanding their reach throughout Saetlund, putting everyone Ara and her friends love at risk. Only Ara can forge a way forward, take up her powers, and fight to change the world--no matter what it costs. From internationally bestselling author Andrea Roberston comes the second book in a gorgeously written new fantasy series perfect for readers of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone or Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series.
Cast in Secrets and Shadow (Loresmith, #2)Featured
As they seem to find danger at every turn, Ara grapples with how to fulfill her destiny while also being true to herself and her feelings. She has accepted her fate, but it is not an easy path to walk as she fears for those around her and seeks to do her best at the tasks given. As the Vokkans continue their plotting and destruction, Ara and her crew must continue forward despite the great costs along the way.
What I loved: The world-building and mythology are truly incredible here, and I loved learning about some new gods in this world as well as the way people have continued their work and reacted to the problems. The challenges continue to be really fascinating, and I loved not only the challenges themselves, but especially the journey. There is a new character which we meet after not too long, and I absolutely adored them. The core character group is filled with people I found really compelling and cannot help but love. There are definitely some nail-biting moments as a result.
This book moves even faster than the first, while everything continues to make sense and be explained just enough. It's great for readers who appreciate the just-right quick adventure speed. There is also a lot of character growth in the story, as particularly Ara and Nimhea must define themselves and their roles as they continue forward. Both characters really develop in the story, and Nimhea comes into her own. I continued to adore Lahvja, Teth, and other recurring characters. The people in this story really come to life, and I appreciated their wit, humor, and truths.
The themes here are even further developed around religion, sacrifice, conquering, destiny/fate, love and its selfishness, and duty versus feelings. These were really thought-provoking and would make this a great book for discussion in a book club.
What left me wanting more: As a small point, this does have a middle book feel, as we take a few steps, but are still so far from the big picture. However, I don't think it could have gone further without missing some important parts or rushing too much.
Final verdict: With intricate world-building and compelling characters, CAST IN SECRETS AND SHADOW is a fascinating and thought-provoking YA fantasy sequel. Highly recommend for fans of FURYBORN, FIREBORNE, and THE YOUNG ELITES.