I expected to steam through this on a reread, since these books are totally candy for my brain… but actually I stalled on it halfway through, again. I must conclude again that it’s mostly the lack of Vale — he barely appears in the story, and is barely relevant to the plot at all, which is largely in another world. It’s great that we get to see more of dragon society and Kai’s place within it, and we get some movement on Kai’s arc… and it’s also great to have a different setting for this book (Prohibition-era New York)…
But it really suffered for me without any sign of Vale. Which is greedy, probably; he’s important, yes, but he’s not part of the Library. He’s a human, albeit a convenient one, and tied to a specific world — it’s almost weird he’s managed to be such a big part of the plots so far!
I do still feel unsure about the ending. The will-they-won’t-they between both Kai and Irene and Kai and Vale always felt like a distraction; I was much more excited about the three of them working together in an intense friendship, balancing each other out. Irene and Kai as a couple don’t quite work for me without Vale, and yet he immediately becomes little more than a third wheel there. I’m hoping that feeling will be proved wrong by the next book!
In any case, it is still a lot of fun to run around after Kai and Irene, and to meet another Librarian and more dragons. The change in setting is fun, a reminder that it isn’t all steampunk worlds, and seeing Irene trusted by the Library with a difficult task is great after her shaky start in earlier books.
It’s just not my favourite.