Two Serpents Rise was a huge downgrade from Three Parts Dead.
Two Serpents Rise is the second book in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence series but chronologically, this takes place before the event of the first book; look at the number in the title of each book, that’s the chronological order of the story line. Because Craft Sequence is a standalone series, almost every book featured different main characters and story in a different locale.
Unfortunately, the changes in characters, story, and settings were also where the book fell short for me because almost everything in the book—with the exception of the world-building and the prose—just didn’t work for me. The story wasn’t interesting, the characters were infuriating and felt unoriginal compared to Tara and the other characters from the first book. The fun magic system was also lacking in appearance here. However, what infuriates me the most was the non-chemistry romance between Caleb and Mal. The romance sparked out of nowhere, it was an insta-love with absolutely no chemistry. Seems like the narrative tried to implied that Caleb and Mal have a strong chemistry but just saying don’t make it true. I found Caleb’s action and obsession with Mal to be boring, unreasonable, and incredibly hard to care about. Finishing the book, I realized that the only pivotal event that stood out to me was their romance, and it’s not a good one to remember. The world-building was still great and imaginative, the writing has improved, but overall I simply didn’t enjoy reading this book.
I mentioned in my Three Parts Dead review that I’m content with just reading that one book as a standalone and it seems like this sequel didn’t spark my interest in continuing with the series, at least not anytime soon. That said, I may be on the minority with this book so if you loved and feels like continuing, you definitely should. I may not be continuing with this series but I still highly look forward to Gladstone’s upcoming book, Empress of Forever next year.
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