Please note, I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Usual spoiler warning for book 1, Firebrand, applies here.
Seth and Conal MacGregor have spent so long hunting for the Bloodstone for Kate NicNiven, their queen, that they're reached the present day in our world (after Firebrand took place in sixteenth century Scotland.) They still haven't found it, though, but they have got themselves involved with some wonderful new characters, notably sullen teenager Finn, who's unaware of her Sithe heritage but about to find out with far-reaching consequences. Returning to the realm of the fairies with her in tow, and two others, the MacGregor boys are about to find even more trouble.
Seth burst onto the scene in Firebrand as an incredible narrator, full of youthful rebellion and fury, and while four centuries or so have passed, he's still the same flawed but lovable hero. Add to that Conal, calmer but just as wonderful, and great new characters like the surly Finn, and this is a surefire winner. The narration is mainly by Seth but parts are done by Jed, the human son of a woman Seth has a relationship with, and his voice brings an interesting new twist to things.
It's an epic, sprawling, plot, as befits a series which has so far spanned four hundred plus years over just two books, and similarly to its predecessor sees betrayal and revenge as major topics. It's incredibly difficult to know who to trust and that makes the book a really tense read.
Special praise for the ending, which was incredibly striking and felt, in many ways, nearly unbearably final. However, with two books to go in the Rebel Angels series, it's clearly not. I have no idea where Gillian Philip will take us from here - but I have every confidence that it will be an incredible journey finding out!
High recommendation, and this series is definitely one which adults will enjoy just as much as teens.
Further reading suggestion: Another excellent book about humans interacting with strange creatures from another realm is Cold Tom by Sally Prue, a fantastic retelling of the folk tale Tam Lin.
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