Faced with holding up their end of an impossible bargain, Van and Zander must choose between playing it safe and risking everything.
Zander has failed to reproduce the spectacular show of power David is so desperate to see again, which puts him on the outs with his supposed mentor. In order to keep their bargain with the Eroi, he's forced to work more closely with them, which means being subjected to Ivy's mind-stealing presence again. Fighting his hunger becomes secondary to convincing her the Eroi are wrong about her purpose.
Once the most detested of the Roth siblings, Van has now become David's pet. It's clear he intends to take her into his inner circle, but at what price? Van is forced to decide what she's willing to do in order to keep her family safe. If becoming David's protege is the only way... can she live up to his expectations without losing herself completely?
Annabelle's spur of the moment decision to run has caused a rift with the Roths that need to be repaired if they are to trust her again, especially Oscar who took a very dim view of her choice. The Roths are committed to work with the Eroi and Isolde and are not convinced that they can really be trusted, but Zander feels that the agreement to protect Vanessa from David will be worth it, even if part of the deal subjects him to being around Ivy to be tested by the Eroi. Ketchup knows that Zander is hiding something important from Vanessa, Oscar reveals his big secret to Zander and the truth about Noah is revealed.
Lots of interesting stuff happening in this book! Lets start with Oscar. It has been so great to have him fully involved in the story as he is such a dangerous and fascinating character. Finding out the secret that he has been keeping from his family is a bit of a surprise but it helps to show that in spite of the bad things he has done, he is actually a good guy at heart. It just made me love the character even more.
Vanessa is enjoying her training now that dance moves are being brought into it but it is a shock to realise exactly what she is being trained for. She understands now that the best way to keep her family safe is to do what David tells her, learn and resign herself to her fate, hoping that she doesn't lose her own identity and humanity along the way. Is Ketchup going to be able to keep her grounded and help her through the trauma of what she is about to do? When the two of them also uncover what Noah has been hiding from them, they are unsure what to do about it. I'm not going to say anything to spoil this part of the plot!
Zander is hating the way Isolde wants to keep testing his reactions to Ivy but getting the chance to talk to Ivy is what Zander wanted all along and he uses it to try and get her onto his side. He is starting to believe that she does care about him but how does he really feel about her after all that happened? Will she be able to help him to fight back against David? Annabelle is not happy about Zander being in contact with Ivy but after her own silly stunt, she has to concentrate on winning back his trust instead of rocking the boat further. They continue to research the history of the Eroi and Godlings, especially the prophecy about who is the Gift who will end the war.
David decides to set his plans in motion at last as Vanessa and Chris go on their first joint mission. He wants to know if Vanessa has what it takes to do his work. The mission is not something she wants to do but she fears for her family if she doesn't. And the way things go have a dramatic effect on her. David puts Zander in to fight James again, determined to find out if Zander is what he wants him to be, unaware that Zander is prepared for this with some help from Ivy. But will it be enough to stop David for good?
There are so many twists in this plot and a lot of tension! Noah's reveal and Oscar's secret provide us with vital information about the past of the Roth family. I found Oscar's whole backstory to be the best part of this book. Poor Vanessa is really put through the wringer with the mission that she is sent on and the effects it have on her are nothing short of heartbreaking. Ketchup is ready to do anything to protect her. The book builds up to the big showdown as the Roths make an attempt to take back their destiny from David with help from a few allies. It was pretty exciting and tense. I had my suspicions about who the Gift was even as our group wondered about it.
This series keeps up the excellent standard of the previous books and I am totally invested in the Roths and their struggle to survive and control the hunger!
Read December 2016.