One of the few times I’m doing an abbreviated review because it makes sense for how much time I spent on this audiobook. Much stronger than the first book, but still quite many flaws. I am surprised by how I’m anticipating the next book in this series. Better focus on worldbuilding in this book, though some descriptions were really repetitious/lacking in term of the portrayal of certain cultures (and some instances were problematic).

Characterization varies. Shinobu’s role doesn’t really have as much distinction as the previous book because he’s focused more on his relationship with Quin (or injured), though I liked the parallel with his struggles of power to his former drug addiction. Quin is still a rounded character, but oddly enough, she wasn’t the standout character to me in this book. I liked her, and she has some decent action scenes and moments in the book. John’s role/struggle is a little more clarified, though he’s still a bit odd in presentation. Catherine was by far the strongest character with motivations and painful losses – to me at least. (And her role clarified John’s struggles and history much more).

I thought the narrator was a decent fit, but I’m surprised by how inconsistent the pronunciation of Japanese words were. Sometimes she was right on point with the mention of names, but other times, it was like it reverted back to the incorrect word. I wasn’t sure why this was and I’ll admit I kept mentally correcting it as I listened to the audio (though unfortunately, I don’t have the physical book to compare some of the spellings of names – and I should note I speak Japanese a little. Writing the language is a different story, unfortunately, but I’m working on it.)

Overall, a decent read and worth the time, but it had quite a few stumbles in places that I hope are improved in the next book.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

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