Ever the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2)
Published: Dec. 5, 2017 (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference events from the first book. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Ever the Hunted.
After saving the King from an evil Spiriter, with her new and developing Channeler powers, Britta Flannery wants nothing more than to live peacefully in her little cabin near the Ever woods. This, however, is not in the cards for Britta as the King insists on properly thanking her for saving his life by making her a member of the nobility. At the end of Ever the Hunted Britta discovered that by saving the King’s life, she bound herself to him, and he to her, which effectively nulled the same binding that was formerly between herself and Cohen.
Speaking of Cohen. Britta’s love, best friend, and the King’s bounty hunter, has been gone for the past month searching for the Channeler who ensorcelled the King. While on his quest, he discovers a mysterious plot involving the disappearance of young female Channelers from Shaerdan.
When it becomes apparent that the plot also serves to bring the already tense relations between Shaerdan and Malam to a boiling point, again, Britta will have to figure out a way to harness her burgeoning magical abilities if she wants a chance to save the Kingdom and her heart.
Ever the Brave was a little tougher for me to get into than its predecessor. The mystery of the disappearing girls and the political upheaval that carried over from Ever the Hunted was where the book excelled for me. We also get a more in depth look at the magical aspects of the Channelers since not only are all the missing girls Channelers, but Britta begins to come more into her magic. Every occurrence of one of these things really drove the story forward for me.
What halted my progress, however, was the addition of the ubiquitous love triangle, which was introduced as a kind of cliffhanger at the end of Ever the Hunted. I was onboard for the hard-won romance between Britta and Cohen in the first book. They had just reunited after more than a year apart. I wanted to see them work on their relationship, I didn’t want a roadblock put in their way with lies and omissions thrown in on top. The idea that it’s the bond itself having heightened influence on all parties involved is brought up, and an interesting idea in my opinion, but that’s really all that’s mentioned about it. I mean if there was going to be a romantic choice thrown in there for Britta, I wanted a little more rumination on the topic. Instead I felt like the relationships were just muddied without Britta really being allowed the time to make up her mind.
While Ever the Brave didn’t work for me on all levels, I still enjoyed the story. The end leaves readers with a good glimpse of things to come for the Kingdom of Malam and I’m interested to see where the next book takes us since it will move away from Britta and Cohen as the leads and allow a secondary character to step up.
Sexual content: kissing