Note: This review is for the second book in a series. It does not contain spoilers for this book, but it may contain major plot points from book one.
In The Waking Land, we followed Elanna as she became acquainted with her vast power, learned some new truths about her homeland, and helped to overthrow the government for her people. I was sucked in immediately, and the introduction of several secondary characters (like Jahan Korakides, her love interest) made me love the world even more.
The Memory of Fire is entirely from Jahan’s perspective and starts off slightly after book one ended. I’m not going to lie to you. The reason I gave this book four stars is because the beginning is boring. I could only read about a chapter at a time, honestly, without wanting to give up on the book altogether. It doesn’t help that Jahan is whiny as hell. But, after Jahan is forced to return to Ida to try to broker peace with the Emperor and find his brothers, it gets way more interesting. Jahan gets distracted from his consistently depressing inner monologue, and things start to happen.
But seriously, the part where Elanna says she loves him and he’s like, ‘I guess I love her too, whatever’ made me want to punch him.
I wasn’t particularly interested in Jahan during book one, honestly. I loved Elanna and her natural magic, and Jahan seemed a little out of place. I didn’t read up on book two before I started, so I was a little surprised it was entirely in Jahan’s perspective (and not in split POVs, as many authors do with sequels). I ended up liking it, though, and it made me understand Jahan as a character. He gets a huge amount of backstory, and once I could look past his angsty, secretive persona I enjoyed his perspective.
Though I had my issues with Jahan’s character, I have to say, Callie Bates has somehow avoided the usual sophomore slump of series writing. This book was interesting, well-written and immersive — just like book one. Usually, I find myself questioning the author a lot during the second book in a series, but I think the lack of split POVs and the focus on Jahan’s separate storyline helped Bates a lot here.