City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter
Series: Crescent City #2
Published by Orbit
Published on: December 2, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Still coming to terms with their unexpected partnership, Augustine and Harlow have a tentative truce. Although with Harlow slowly working to accept being fae, Augustine still learning how to be Guardian, and feelings growing on both sides, they do not have an easy road ahead.
But when a young girl is stolen from the Mardi Gras Exemplar Ball -- the biggest fae event of the year -- Harlow and Augustine must put all their issues aside to bring her home alive. Harlow's father, Branzino, is of course their number one suspect, but evil lurks in every corner of the city and time is running out. Their only choices: Either find a way to rescue the girl, or Augustine must die.
The second installment in Kristen Painter’s CRESCENT CITY series was more plot than character driven which was a welcomed tweak because my prevailing criticism about book 1 was the heroine. In fact, I re-read my review of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN before writing this one, and observed that all of the elements that I’d previously gripped over were amended in CITY OF ETERNAL NIGHT which is exactly what you want to see in a sequel. I asked for more fae mythology & less brattiness, and that’s precisely what the author delivered. Harlow did however make one rash decision towards the end which resulted in a super predictable ending, but other than that, I was one happy camper.
This universe is chock-full of magic and techie excellence; the gaming references, neato gadgets, and spelled clothing fed the nerd. I got a kick out of Harlow and Cy’s Realm of Zauron exchanges, the too-cool-for-school contact lens with built-in facial recognition, and that the beautiful dress that’s featured on the cover was described in vivid detail. The author also tackled well-known fae lore such as mirror travel, and the alternate plane which made for some very robust world-building. In addition, the real reason why Branzino (the villain) wants Olivia’s house so bad was explained, and both the witch & voodoo aspects of this story were in evidence as well.
In the earlier chapters I feared that a love triangle was on the brink of developing between Augustine, Nekai & Harlow, but Painter quickly put the kibosh on that which was a relief. I enjoyed this novel’s investigative-style plot line, and how the author used the various characters’ abilities to her advantage to solve the Fairy Queen’s kidnapping case. Lally’s back story was alarming to say the least, and I liked how all of the threads came together to form an exquisitely crafted cohesive whole. I was surprised that the antagonist was subdued this early on, but there are plenty of contenders to take his place, so I’m not the least bit concerned about this trilogy’s staying power.
Harlow finally showed remorse over her mother’s death, and seemed more open to her fae ancestry which were big pluses for me. I liked that she was deeply involved in Guardian business; it kept her character looking forward instead of wallowing in self-pity. I’m content with how her relationship with Augustine is progressing, and found that their chemistry was much improved in this installment. The only thing that stopped this from being an A+ read were the closing chapters; the heroine was quick to jump the gun after acquiring new info which in turn led to an ending that prompted more than one I-told-you-so moment. I hope this lamentable mistake won’t take all of book 3 to repair.
Kristen Painter’s fae were a head above the rest in CITY OF ETERNAL NIGHT—I ❤ this world!
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