The Plot: Fifteen years after Cassius returns from England and reclaims his throne, Malonia is at war again. Aldebaran has been murdered, magic is dying, and the country is unraveling from the inside out. Anselm, now sixteen, struggles to hold his family together while the world falls down around them. When his step-father is called up for service in the war, Anselm, now the man of the house, is left facing a mountain of debt, a sister who doesn’t understand why her Papa left, and a very pregnant mother. Anselm is determined to hold as much of his old life together as possible. But his mother, Maria, and step-father, Leo, are each harboring dark secrets about the year of his birth. When Anselm puts the pieces together and learns the truth about his father, it is more than he can handle. Meanwhile, Juliette and Ashley, two teenagers in modern England, set out to find the truth about their own families, and why they don’t seem to fit in anywhere.
I enjoyed Voices in the Dark, the second book in Catherine Banner’s The Last Descendants trilogy much more than the first book. It is more plot-driven, and Banner has definitely matured as a writer. I love the way the book is set up as a series of stories on a long journey. It works wonderfully to tie the multiple storylines together, without giving away the reason for the journey until the end of the book. There were a few spots where the narrative seemed to drag a bit, and I felt that Banner spent too much time on details that ended up being completely irrelevant. That being said, the characters were very believable in this book. I especially enjoyed Anselm’s little sister, Jasmine. She was the bright spot in a book about war and betrayal. Anyone who liked Banner’s debut novel, The Eyes of a King, will love this book. I’m torn on whether or not to finish the trilogy. On one hand, I’d hate to never know how it ends. On the other, Banner does a good job at creating a war-torn and bleak world. As for right now, I need a break from Malonia. On to something lighter!
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