I continue to be impressed with this great fantasy romance series. I really enjoyed book one and this second installment is just as strong. The world building is fresh and woven skillfully throughout the story. The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot, with just the right blend of emotional pull and sexual tension.
We first met our hero and heroine in A Hint of Frost. Mana is still in Araneidae territory, where she was brought after saving her cousin Rhys's life. Vaughn, Rhys's half-brother, is supposed to escort her home. Their journey takes on another layer when he is charged with bringing along Pascale for Mana's people to watch over. The young woman has been sentenced to indentured servitude for her actions in the last book. But a neighboring clan wants Pascale dead for killing their heir. The threat from that clan makes the long trip, through icy terrain, even more dangerous.
Along the way, Mana --who can communicate with the dead-- comes in contact with Vauhn's father. He has his own agenda. The story follows Mana and Vaughn's journey, first to her home... then to his. The two have been attracted to one another for years, but the more time they spend together, the stronger their feelings become. Mana fears giving in to her desires, since her people believe in soul mates and she never dreams Vaughn could be hers. So their feelings are forbidden, which of course makes them even more delicious.
Vaughn is very tough --and the heir to his people's throne. But there is great vulnerability in him. He's never felt first in anyone's heart. And Mana, well, she is innocent in the ways of love, but she is powerful and driven to do the right thing --even if means facing the deadly plague threatening Vaughn's people.
There's a lot happening in the story --too much to try to map out here-- but it flowed together very well. I felt so immersed in the world, the story, and the romance, that I did not want to put it down. Simply put, I am a big fan of these books. If you enjoy fantasy at all, I definitely recommend you give them a try.
Rating: A-*ARC Provided by author for review