Title / The Bitter Twins
Author/ Jen Williams
Publication date/ 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Winnowing Flame trilogy
Page no./ 320
Overall Star Rating / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy and continues soon after the end of the first book, The Ninth Rain. Since this is a sequel I will not be going into details of the plot, but I will say that this sequel maintains the fantastic standard of the first book.This is one of my most anticipated book releases of this year and I am happy to report that it does not disappoint. As I mentioned earlier, this sequel picks up right where we left off in the first book. The pacing does start out quite slow, but after a couple of chapters I had settled into the flow of the story. I attribute some of the this to the fact that I didn’t refresh my memory by rereading the first book, so I was a little hazy on the details. Despite the slow pacing, it was easy to slip back into this world as Williams does a fantastic job at making these books immersive. It was great to be back in this world and with these characters. The world is explored more in this book and you can clearly see the effort Williams has put into this world. The world building in this book, as well as the first, is fantastic. There are so many layers to it and I loved that we got to explore new areas in this sequel. The city of Ebora is so intriguing and it is one of my favourite things about this book, as well as the first book. If you enjoy good world building, then you will not be disappointed with this book.
In terms of the plot, this book is just as compelling as the first book. There are twists and turns throughout which will keep you guessing until the very end. Whether it’s a big battle scene or some quiet exploration of relationships, Williams does a wonderful job at keeping you engaged and glued to the page. Once I’d started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Each chapter is from a different view point, so if you are not a fan of multiple perspectives then it is something to be aware of going in. I personally felt that it gives you a wider look into the events of the book and it worked well with the story. All the characters have distinctive voices so there is no issue of differentiating the character perspective and Williams manages to keep each chapter as compelling as the last. As with the first book, the writing is great, and it is easy to settle into the flow of her writing style. Through her writing, Williams creates a sense of unease in this book that really lends itself to the story and makes you worry about the larger threat that the characters must face.
One of the main strengths of this trilogy are the characters. It was so great to be back with these characters and their development in this sequel was fantastic. Relationships play quite an important role in this book and I loved how these relationships were explored. Both the romantic and platonic relationships are so well written and there is some great dialogue between the characters. The interactions between the characters feel so natural and realistic. There is such a diverse and complex range of characters that are all so well written. The development in this sequel was wonderful to see and you find that you’ve really come to care for these characters. Noon is one of my favourites, but I love all of the characters. We also get to see more of the enemy in this book, but I loved that they still remain a mystery in many ways. I think it adds a sense of suspense and unease, when the enemy remains largely a mystery to the reader – I guess it’s the fear of the unknown. Williams does a great job at introducing this enemy a bit more in this book and I am very much looking forward to seeing how things progress in the next book.
Overall this was a fantastic sequel and a good example of how to write a second book in a series. It has brilliantly built on from what came in the first book and it was a great reading experience. This trilogy is fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait for the third and final book to be released. So far there is no title or release date for the third book, but I will be keeping an eye for it. The world building is fantastic, the characters are complex and flawed, and the plot is compelling. I cannot say enough good things about this trilogy. If you are looking for a new fantasy trilogy to try, then I would highly recommend checking this one out. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.