Cole’s second installment in The Arcana Chronicles hits it right out of the park. Picking up immediately where Poison Princess left off, Cole gives insight into the process of Evie accepting the mantle of "The Empress," and the ramifications of this act. Cole further fleshes out the characters by building on relationships, especially the one between Evie and Jack. Evie's history with the enigmatic Death is fully explored here and leaves readers panting for more of this distant alpha male. The novel keeps a steady pace, never losing steam and keeping readers turning the pages until the climatic end. Please note, Cole does leave the bedroom door open. A year is a long time to wait for the next book.

As Evie, Jack and company try to deal with the aftermath of the Alchemist’s death, the group continues to evade their pursuers, still on the path toward Evie’s grandmother. Along the way, her group must contend with vicious cannibals, the zombie-like Bagmen and new Arcana, enemies and allies alike. When Evie meets Death face to face, the entire game changes. Not understanding their shared romantic history, Evie struggles to discover the past while relying on her wits rather than her powers. SIMON & SCHUSTER, Oct., 336 pp., $18.99, ISBN: 9781442436671, HC, 14 & Up)

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Reviewed by: 
Trent Hart