Book Review: Possession by J. Elizabeth Hill
I was very privileged to be able to read an advanced copy of this novel. If you haven’t already read the first book in this series, I highly suggest you do so. Here’s the review I wrote for that one: https://quix689.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/book-review-bound-mirrors-of-bershan-1-by-j-elizabeth-hill/
And for those of you who might have forgotten (or didn’t know in the first place), this book is coming out TOMORROW! I’m so excited that everyone else is about to be able to read this book. I highly recommend it, and if you read on you’ll see why.
Also note that this review contains very slight spoilers for the first book. Read at your own risk.
After binding themselves to each other through their magic, Faylanna Derrion and Tavis journey back to her ancestral home, Iondis, intent on restoring the estate to its former beauty. From the moment they arrive, they find the secret horrors of the place aren’t exhausted yet.
Faylanna finds an old journal of her father’s, one that shakes her understanding of her own past. Worse, Faylanna and Tavis are both nearly killed when attacked by one of the men set to guard the Ninth Mirror of Bershan, still residing at Iondis. In the aftermath, he disappears with the newly-found journal. Sure there is more to this event than they know, Faylanna and Tavis return to the capital, Rianza, for help.
More secrets await them there, ones kept for years by people Tavis never suspected. When the truth is revealed, it alters his present and future completely. Can he rise to the challenges this new fate presents him with or will the change be more than he can handle?
The truths each learn about themselves and those they thought they knew will test Faylanna and Tavis’ love for each other. Will they be able to endure the pain and chaos they face, or will it tear them apart?
Sequels can be tricky. You need to keep fans interested in characters they’ve already gotten to know, and you have to keep the story moving forward. Many authors fail to do this.
J Elizabeth Hill does it brilliantly.
I don’t usually enjoy reading about what happens after the love interests get together. I usually find the story boring after that. That’s not true with this book. The characters didn’t just fall in love and suddenly not have any problems anymore. In fact, they seem to have more problems now than they did in the first book, even though they don’t love each other any less.
I love Faylanna and Tavis, separately and together. Tavis got a bit annoying with his “I have to protect you” mantra, but for once a book features a protective guy who actually has a reason to be protective, and he’s not a jerk about it like so many of the other love interests I’ve read about lately, so I couldn’t really blame him for feeling that way. And Faylanna doesn’t just sit there and let the guys take care of her. She’s strong and determined to take care of herself. It was nice seeing how they could both be really stubborn but still so supportive and loving at the same time.
I also loved the supporting characters, all of whom have as much depth of personality as the main characters. We learn so much more about the rest of the cast in this novel, and I loved it. Even characters who are no longer physically present are given more depth, which was unexpected but great.
Really, the character development is just fantastic, and these characters are what really drive the plot forward and kept me glued to my Nook. I had to learn more about them. I had to figure out how they would react to certain events. I had to make sure they were all going to be safe.
This book was a lot darker than I was expected, but it definitely fit, and I really enjoyed reading it. There were also several moments where I was laughing out loud. So this book definitely covers a range of emotions, which is awesome.
Also, the writing was fantastic. The writing was great in the first book, too, but I enjoyed it even more in this one. The words flowed so naturally, and the events progressed in a reasonable fashion. I was never stuck wondering what had just happened. We also get to see part of the story from Tavis’s point of view this time, which I really loved. It was great being able to see things from both of their points of view.
Really, the only slightly negative thing I have to say about this book is that it didn’t have the same sense of urgency that the first book had. Almost from the beginning of the first book, you knew something bad was going to happen, and you had to keep reading to figure out if everything would be okay. There’s still a lot of that in this book, but it comes later in the novel. I still really liked it, though, and this wasn’t a big negative for me at all, as I tend to prefer character-driven stories anyway.
Overall: If you like fantasy novels with really strong, well-developed characters, you definitely want to read this series, as it seems to just get better with each book.