Even though I wasn’t completely on board with A Curse Dark as Gold, I always had a feeling that I just hadn’t given it my full attention and appreciation. So I was looking forward to seeing what Bunce would write next – and I wasn’t disappointed. The only disappointment might be that the book doesn’t tell you it will have a sequel until you reach the end – but even that I can live with, because enough things are wrapped up and enough are left hanging.
In terms of mood and pacing, it reminds me of Graceling – some political intrigue, a setting that feels both historical with some fantasy thrown in, some fighting and adventure and deceit. Although I must note that Bunce mixes in only the merest hint of romance, while Cashore throws in a good deal more. The developments in the plot kept me guessing throughout, but there were no twists so unlikely that they took me out of the story.
With so many different appeals, I could see handing it to a variety of readers – fans of historical fiction, fantasy, spy stories. Readers who like good world-building, character development, or snow-bound stories where characters try to keep their secrets in close quarters. The cover might be a touch girly, but I can see this appealing to boys, too. Recommended to sophisticated middle school readers and up.
Source: I bought myself a copy