I rushed to get a copy of this sequel. Book one is my favorite by author Lia London to date. I liked the space frontier settings, the sensory details, and the humor and spunk of the heroine. Book two has all of the above plus a deepening of the adventure as well as the stakes.
Caz journeys to Craggy, the second of three planets she must visit to cycle the gypsy pearl, free the fanep race, and bring justice to the Granbo system. Her gifts of strength and memory serve her well during several narrow escapes. She must sort through the cast of characters and their intensions. Who is a friend? And who wants her dead?
In particular, I really like the surprises Caz finds hidden within Craggy’s bleak landscape. (I can’t give away more!) I also appreciate the revelation of some of Caz’s history and the way the villain’s plan and motivations begin to make sense, allowing me to begin making some book three predictions.
Craggy did not evoke as much emotional response in me as book one. It’s really, really hard to develop a hero’s character in a sequel. It’s already been established in book one. Caz is so powerful in that story. She maintains her quirky character, and I see hints of a broadening of her bewilderment and dread and a deepening of her commitment to her cause, but her motivating factor is mostly survival. This makes for some great action, but it didn’t leave as much of an emotional footprint. In addition, a certain extremely significant individual makes an appearance, but the backstory lacked the strength to move me toward tears or anger when I think it could have. It does surround the individual with a sense of mystery—and that might have been the author’s intension. Said person feels like a bit of a wildcard who might increase in significance in the trilogy’s conclusion.
All that aside, I have to praise my very favorite element of Lia London’s stories—her writing style. It’s so smooth and eminently readable. And she likes to bury little gems for us to pull out and admire. Like this beautiful description: I couldn’t guess ages of the miners based on their wind carved faces, but their muscles and gaits spoke of tired youth. Or this perfect takeaway thought dropped so naturally in the middle of a conversation: “Haven’t you ever known something without learning it logically?” “Trust,” he said. “What do you mean?” “That’s trust,” he said, looking at me intently. “Trust is when you know—like I know it’s a good idea to stick with you.”
Want a great story with beautiful style? Grab up this series. Looking forward to the third! Recommended for ages 10+
Kindle versions of The Gypsy Pearl:
Craggy (book 2) – $1.99
Caren (book 1) – $.99