I wasn't sure if I would like Froi as much as I liked Finnikin. In the first book, he was rough and raw. Froi was coarse and towards the end, he was a bit more civilized, but he was still a work in progress. This book, which takes place three years after the curse is lifted, Froi is different from what he used to be. But he still has his moments. But after finishing this one, I think Froi was a great character. He learned, not only about himself, about where he comes from and about the world he was born to. Froi was a joy to read.
So, this book follows a different curse. One that took places a few short years before the curse in Finnikin of the Rock. Charyn has suffered for 18 years with men and women unable to conceive. It was intriguing, following Froi as he made his way to Charyn, learning about the curse that has the potential to give a nation a very slow death.
I admit, I didn't take to Froi right away, but it didn't take long to admire this character. Quintana was a very difficult person for anyone to get close to. As more of her story was revealed, I wanted to weep for how she was forced to grow up. About what she did to protect the other lastborns. And for the grim future she has if she can ever find a way to make it back to the palace without becoming a slave to someone else. Because of this, Quintana is a hard person for anyone to like (in the book) and Froi manages to not only get close to her, but to make a new bond. One in which he will do all he can to protect this girl from the life she's forced to live. In my book, that is a true hero.
So the surprising part to me was Lucian. He has been struggling with leading his people. And even worse, he has been unkind to his Charyn wife. The way he treats her, and the rest of the Monts, is very uncharitable. It makes me look down on the Monts. What a woman Pheadra is. She's portrayed as a weak woman. Monts point of view. But she's clever and sometimes stubborn. I enjoyed watching the interaction with Lucian and Pheadra and those scenes with Pheadra and her people.
This book, like the last, has followed a few different stories. I found myself anxious to find out what happens for each storyline and that is a major feat. There are an overabundance of books that try to have several stories that take place in one book that fail to truly add to the story. This was superb. I'm really excited to start the next book.