I apologize for the possible length of this review. It has been around 3 days since I finished TWOTQ and I haven't stopped think about it thus I have opinions. After reading the book I saw all the drama that this sequel brought and all the hate that JLA received for her choices as an author. Really nasty things were said and many "fans" even decided to not read her book and rate her 1 star on Goodreads. Which imo is just plain rude, anyone is entitled to their opinion about said choices but at least read the book for yourself!
With the disclaimer out of the way, was I a fan of every choice she made? Not really. Is this my favorite book in the series? Not by a long shot. However I overall enjoyed the story and how it developed. It left me with many unanswered questions of what is to come and in a way that is how an author is supposed to write. Leaving the reader nervous for what is to come (and yes I am very nervous in every sense). I also think I need to clarify that I enjoyed this book for the romance. The plot has a lot of holes, that I mentioned since the very beginning, and it came to a point were I just simply stopped thinking about the world building and focused on the characters. TWOTQ is defiantly better in terms of dialogue and world building. I feel that reading ASITE also helped, as I got more background for Poppy's story and it (the world and history) overall came together better.
During TWOTQ's Casteel is entrapped by Isbeth and Poppy is set to rescue him. Meanwhile she has to fight for more land and new characters are added to the mix and her relationship with Kieran grows. Many of the reviews mention how she emotionally cheated on her husband. I disagree, I don't think there was any flirting involved and honestly I felt like Kieran and Poppy bonded more over the trauma of not having Casteel with them. I also think that this idea of them 3 Joining and being more than just friends has been brewing for a very very long time. I do feel that some scenes were kind of iffy and I see were people can interpret it as flirting or emotionally cheating. However, me as a reader did not see it that way. However, I never really have liked Kieran as a character because I felt he acted more of a sidepiece rather than an actual character that could stand on his own. Talking about this throuple I feel like I need to get into the elephant in the room.
The joining and my thoughts : Chapter 44 is a very very steamy one. I wasn't pro the Joining because like mentioned before, Kieran has always felt like a very flat character and his dialogue with Poppy (and all the repetition) always made me mad. However, I was always expecting the Joining to happen and it turning sexual (ALWAYS). I knew this was going to happen and at some point I became excited for the possible steaminess of the scene. As mentioned before I solely read this book because of the characters because the world building is not as good as other fantasy books I have read. Hence, for the "romance" it made sense for this scene to happen. I also think that it was described in a way that (although at the beginning I WAS VERY CONFUSED) makes sense. JLA created a scene where the characters individuality doesn't matter but how they were coming together as a trio. Also, Casteel started the kissing and I also feel like that allows for the "emotionally cheating" accusations to be removed from the table, because if anyone wanted this Joining to happen it was Casteel. So yes, very hot scene and I agree with it. Now it's what Kieran might become to Casteel and Poppy that worries. Is this becoming a polyamorous relationship? That I am kind of in the fence about. At the end I will still read these books and probably like how they develop. However, Casteel and Poppy are heartmates and I feel that Kieran would just become an "extra" in their relationship. I also feel that Kieran deserves another person in his life that adores him as much as Poppy loves Casteel and is not just considered a different type of love.
With the joining out of the way, I can get into the other parts of the book that I liked and didn't like.
I liked the introduction to other characters like Reaver. Which increased my love for the books, specially because I read ASITE before and seeing the characters from that book in this one made me smile so many times. He also has GREAT dialogue!! I also felt the action in the book was better and more explained than in prior books, but the beginning (while they're waiting to rescue Casteel) drags a little.
I disliked Casteel's chapters. I felt like Casteel got a whole personality change in this installment. He is living through a traumatic experience and all he can think about was Poppy, which yes was cute but also felt very flat (character wise). In prior books, Casteel really became my next book boyfriend, but in this book he just felt like there. Both Kieran and Casteel have become sidepieces to Poppy's importance, which kind of removes me from the romance. Which makes me sad because I actually really loved Casteel and Poppy, but after reading Sera and Nyktos I see who the real superior heart mates are (and there's no risk of an extra person being introduced there.)
I am excited and nervous to see how JLA decides to continue the series, specially after the whole drama this book caused. At the end of the day I hope she chooses what SHE, as the author and creator of this world thinks is best, and not really what the reader wants.
Overall rating: 4 stars