The Never Tilting World was one of my favorite books of 2019. So you know that the sequel, The Ever Cruel Kingdom, would make it to my most anticipated list of sequels. And, basically right after receiving it, I started! Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but this time it did and I am so glad it did! Keep reading this book review to find out if one of my most anticipated books lived up to the hype.
After a treacherous journey and a life-shattering meeting with a twin neither knew they had, Haidee and Odessa expected to emerge from the Great Abyss to a world set right. But though the planet is turning once again, the creatures of the abyss will not rest until they have tasted another goddess’s sacrifice.
To break the cycle, Haidee and Odessa need answers that lie beyond the seven gates of the underworld, within the Cruel Kingdom itself. The shadows of the underworld may hunger to tear them apart, but these two sisters are determined to heal their world—together.
Sister stories will never not be my thing. Picking up immediately after the ending of The Never Tilting World, The Ever Cruel Kingdom introduces us to a world of change. A moment when the world we know is transforming into something terrifying and new. It’s up to Haidee and Odessa to fight for their future. Not only a world where they do not lose the ones they love, but one where their worlds will survive. The stakes have never been higher and The Ever Cruel Kingdom is practically non-stop action. If you thought it couldn’t get any more intense, think again.
But where Chupeco’s books consistently hook me are the characters. I live for the friendship between Lan and Arjun. The ways they share looks like, “OMG can you believe her” and their fierce sense of protection. This multiple POV format allows us to get to know our favorites even better. I’ve become so invested in them that there were moments that made me tear up and my heart drop. It may just be me, but I also got some series Tomb Raiders, searching for clue, vibes and I was here for it.
The Ever Cruel Kingdom is very much a story about our past mistakes. There’s no limit to what we will do for the people we love, but also in our attempts to cover up our mistakes and avenge them. It’s full of complicated family bonds of power, resentment, and lingering scars. I’ve read enough fantasy books to realize that power never comes cleanly. But the question becomes how can we fix the mistakes of the past, the gears we set moving, and the pain we have wrought.
Will Haidee and Odessa be able to break this cycle of sacrifice and death? Of cleverly told truths and badly formed lies? The cages of their mistakes and destines? If you finished The Never Tilting World and had any curiosity, you need this in your life. The Ever Cruel Kingdom is a phenomenal ending to one of my favorite duologies. Change, true change, is a process that is fraught with pain, mistakes, and development.