By Kresley Cole
Arcana Chronicles #2
Hardcover: 369 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4 out of 5 Stars
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Related Reviews: Poison Princess - Arcana Chronicles #1
Categories: Dystopian, YA, 5 Stars
Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.
With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.
When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can't remember--but Death can't forget...
Dammit all to hell. Miss Cole just had to throw a love triangle into this up 'til now, perfect series. Gah! I knew it was too good to be true. This series had to include something completely frustrating at some point. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be this. Sigh.
Endless Knight picks up right where Poison Princess ends. With Evie murdering Arthur- the Alchemist Card- while Selena, Finn, Matthew, and Jack look on. Jack sees Evie in all her 'red-witch glory.' But Arthur is only one enemy not standing in Evie's way of reaching her grandmother in North Carolina. Like most things in her life, the quest will not be easy. Along the way, it seems everything stands in her way; bagmen, cannibals, evil slavers, not to mention the many Arcana that are vying for her head.
No longer afraid of her powers, her understanding of the game increases exponentially. But there is a growing fear inside of her since her first kill; can she still be Evie when the blood lust is so alluring? Can she keep Jackson in her life, even though he acts like what she is repulses him?
Gone is the fumbling girl, in her place is an Evie that is strong, powerful, and intelligent. I began to admire her character more and more throughout this book. Forced to play a game that she never wanted any part in, she tries to make her own rules. Convince other Arcana to ally with her, take out Death, and stop the game for good. Too bad her previous lives as The Empress have not given her any credibility to her character. The dreams that she experienced before the Flash were of HER in her previous lives, an evil, blood thirsty witch with the ability to kill at will.
We learn so much more about the characters in this second book; Jack, oh Jack. I still am deeply in love with his character, and so much more is learned about him. He is still mysterious, full of danger and a pent-up rage that never seems to fully go away. Which only made me frustrated when Death came into the story. Dammit Miss Cole. How could you do this to us? We are faithful readers, and this is what we get in return? A messy love triangle, albeit sexy as hell, but still. Death's character is beyond frustrating, yet he has every excuse to be that way. We learn later on through the story what Evie and Death's back story is, and damn, it's a messy, emotional one. I don't know who I want to see Evie with. Both men tried to covet her for their own selfish reasons, and I am so upset with Jack and his part in Evie's misery. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but dammit, I want to rant about the turn this story took! Anyone who would like to read the spoilers, I'm going to hide them .....right....here...(:So yes, after sifting through my feelings in my spoiler-filled rant, I am going with Jackson. Yes, he lied to her about certain things, but he never tried to hurt her- physically or emotionally. Death had no qualms about hurting her, terrorizing her, and threatening her. He showed no mercy or pain when she was hurting, so how much can he truly care for her?
All in all, this book did not live up to Poison Princess, and I was beyond disappointed with the whole love triangle situation. It was a great story, and I found myself unable to put it down though. The planet is in ruins, humans are thrown back to their basic natural instincts- kill or be killed, survival in its most basic form. Matthew is still a raving lunatic, only speaking in riddles when he even speaks at all. Selena has grown on me, as her attempts at seducing Jack are not so blatant anymore. Finn is so much fun! I really do love his character; he is charming, funny, and California surfer sexy! And Lark- the Strength Card- Mistress of Fauna; she controls animals. We meet her part-way through this book. I found myself loving her, and hating her, and then loving her again. I never truly did figure out which side of the fence that she was on until almost the very end, but I found myself liking her character regardless.
At this point, all of the cards have been revealed save for six. And there was mention of a card that would remain dormant until their first kill, it would then be activated as a member of the Arcana. I am hoping beyond all hope that it is Jack! I am almost positive that he is Arcana, and if so, him and Evie HAVE to end up together, dammit! Especially if his card ends up being The Emperor, one of the still hidden cards at this point!
To wrap up this ridiculously long review/rant, this book is an absolute must read, as is the entire series. Miss Cole is a masterful story teller, with a multitude of fresh, original ideas! I really did love this book, and if it wasn't for the love triangle, I would have given this one another 5 star review!
""What do you mean by game?" Finn asked. "Strip poker's a game. Quarters is a game. Games are fun." As though the words were dragged from her, Selena said, "Every few centuries, a contest begins, pitting twenty-two kids against each other in a life-or-death conflict. We're called Arcana, and we have special powers, the same in each game." Finn held up his hand. "Whoa, you said before that you didn't know why we had powers." "I lied," she said without an ounce of shame. "The last one standing gets to live until the next contest, as an immortal. Our histories were recorded- on Tarot cards." I glanced over at Jackson to see how he was taking all these revelations. His eyes were narrowed, the wheels turning. Yes, Cajun, we all hid secrets from you, me most of all. Yes, we're not totally, well, human. And oui, you're stuck in a cellar with the freaks. Selena continued, "Some families keep logs of the players and battles, detailed chronicles. My family did. Evie's as well. Her grandmother's a wise woman of the Tarot, a Tarasova. Yet for some reason, Evie says she's forgotten everything about the game." Selena pointed to my hand. "Now Evie's entered the game for real. She made a kill." -Finn, Selena, Evie, Jack & Matthew revealing the truth, finally.
""Matthew, you haven't told him I'm safe! Do it now!" "-Won't lie.-" Another worry to put on the heap of them. But for now, all I could think about was Jack. Voice gone raw, he asked Matthew, "Is that bastard... is he hurting her?" "Tell him I'm fine, just passing time until the storms end! Tell him I'll meet up with you in a couple of weeks. Please, please don't make him suffer like this." Jack looked like he would go insane if this went on for much longer. Which put an even more pressing clock on my mission to win over Death. "Matthew, please, I'm begging you to help Jack." "-He's tempted to beat your location out of me. But you asked him to keep me safe.-" "I thought you couldn't read Dee-vee-oh well." "-Doesn't take a Fool to foresee this! Jack Deveaux talks with his fists.-" "You sound almost admiring." "-Jack is... unexpected...-" Unexpected? That was something for a psychic to say. Even I didn't know what Jack would do if his back was against the wall. And it was. Which meant mine was too. "-Work on the Reaper, Empress.-" "The man hates me. I can rarely even get into the same vicinity." A couple of days ago, I'd hit my limit with everything- being a captive, missing Jack and Matthew, even Finn and Selena. And I'd been fed up with this place. It might have all kinds of luxuries, but no one laughed here, no one conversed or joked. It was like a giant tomb. Fitting." -Evie mind-speaking with Matthew