Many thank you’s to the author for an E-ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!
**Warning! My Review Does Contain Spoilers from the Previous Book, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!**
To see my review of book 1 – These Wicked Lies – Click HERE
To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series so far – Click HERE
Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars
What It’s About:
The official synopsis:
After a single life-altering recollection, Astrid flees Hakran. She wants nothing more than to put space between her and the men who continuously upend her life, even if it means halting the search for her memories and forsaking her friendships.
But when she gets word that Stellaris has been attacked and that Lex and Dash are working together—albeit reluctantly—she decides it’s time to face her faults. Together, the trio embark on a tense journey to Stellaris to discover who is behind the provocation, while simultaneously learning how the incident relates to Astrid’s missing memories and the late Goddess of Deception’s motivations.
Astrid must figure out how to navigate these wicked truths, while torn between her two identities and the two men taking up space in her heart.
If you’re someone who really enjoyed the first book in this series, I’m going to safely assume you’re going to freakin’ LOVE this second book even more!
Miranda Joy had an interesting journey to partake on this sequel, at least in my opinion…I was very curious as to how she was going to keep the story going after what felt like a major conflict was resolved in the ending of TWL with how Astrid/Aife literally slew(?) the head off her (fake) mother’s head! Hats off to her! With Enira’s death, what else was there to keep the story going and keep the audience’s attention?? This book fills you in on those questions if you too had them, and it really encapsulates how much bigger the world the author created truly is. I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much and that there was going to be that sequel slump like there is with so many other books, but *HUGE sigh of relief* that isn’t the case.
The story continues literally right where we left off in the previous book: Enira’s beheaded body is, like, STILL gushing blood it’s so fresh and Astrid/Aife and Lex are having a hot AF tongue lashing competition with each other, much to the spice loving readers’ delight. Aife finally learns the truth of who she is, but unfortunately her memories are still locked away somewhere and definitely is suffering a bit of an identity crisis…she’s hurt from all the lies, but she has to live with the lives she’s hurt too; it’s a lot to come to terms with…
While she’s hiding away in Nevaris, Lex gives her space and Dash rules Hakran and they form a VERYT reluctant alliance in order to help her find her missing memories, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! You also learn that Stellaris is under attack and the looming threat of war is literally washing up on its shores. Soon, they are forced to leave and come to aid, but lets just say……….who, or what, they find is not at all what they expect……………..
To be honest, everything just felt very elevated in this book! The sexual tension, the comedy, the characterization and their development, the way the story is told with multiple POV’s, even the stakes of the main conflict were raised; it felt like the author became more comfortable with her craft. Sure the pacing beginning was slower than I cared for, but once this book got going, oh honey did it get going!
What I Liked:
- The Why Choose/Reverse Harem Romance! Someone go back in time and slap Bella Swan for being so stupid, because WHY CHOOSE/REVERSE HAREM is the REAL love triangle we all needed back then as much as we do now! Like seriously, why WOULD you choose when there are TWO very eligible men vying for your attention?? The added sexual tension with Dash and Lex sharing Astrid/Aife was a FOR SURE highlight in this book!
- The Mental Health Rep! Astrid/Aife’s mental journey was so spectacularly well done and was a great example of showing mental health awareness in literature! As someone who now works in a therapy office where mental health understanding is so important, we loves to see it! Astrid/Aife has a lot going on inside her head, and I thought it was a very organic, natural, and believable way of how her internal journey was portrayed with all this. It’s a part that might be overlooked by some readers, but I think others who’ve had a similar mental struggle will really appreciate this addition to the story! I know I do!
- We Got Both More POV’s! I personally love fantasy books that have multiple points-of-views within, so adding Lex and Dash to telling this story I think was a great decision and added a lot more depth to the story. It was nice to see certain things from their perspective and not just Astrid’s this time around. It made both men more well rounded characters with more complexities added to them and thus making them more memorable this time around!
- Callan! Callan got way more attention this time around, and he is absolutely EVERYTHING I love in a comedic-relief side character. First, he’s like an all powerful, celestial being and yet he’s like a human golden retriever! And Second, I love the friendship and advice he has with Aife throughout too. I’d marry him in a heartbeat!
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Slower Pacing at the Beginning…I’m not going to lie, the beginning was slower than I was hoping for and made for me struggling to first get into this book. It was much more character driven and was more about the inner journey, and the romance/spice was pretty slow burn too, so I was just rather impatient for a lot of the beginning. BUT when this book gets going, it GETS GOING!
- I Want to Like Dash, But I’m So Torn…I like Dash, but I don’t….he’s a frustrating character and I actually enjoy that about him! He drives emotion from me and makes me care, even though its frustration…He reminds me a little bit of a mix of Chaol and Cassian in my opinion, two AMAZING Sarah J. Maas characters. Like Chaol, I believe Dash is who he is and not everyone is going to agree with that. Still though, I’m so torn on him!!
Overall, this second installment in Miranda Joy’s These Wicked Lies was an improvement on intensity, sensuality, comedy, and also a little bit of a maturing in terms of both the author’s writing and the story she’s weaved together here. It’s not perfect, but I argue you definitely see improvement!
My worries of how this story was going to continue have disappeared like a puff of smoke, I think the author has a great handle on what they’re doing and their publication future continues to look bright!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell