Allegra had tried compromise and all she had to show for her work was a crater in the side of a mountain. She had tried peace, and that just made the rebellion worse. She had seen a demon with her very eyes, and that hadn’t been enough to move the cardinals into action. But despite all this, never had she thought they would try to murder her.
When General Bonacieux shows up at the Cathedral to demand she be turned over for public execution, the cardinals waver. Instead of submitting, Allegra declares her own war: freedom for all mages.
As new demon marks open on Orsini soil, Allegra takes a stand against the very people who gave her power. For as Captain Stanton Rainier said, they would only get her over his dead body.
So much for peace.
The Nightmare We Know is the second book of The Dark Abyss of Our Sins trilogy, a sort of high fantasy story revolving around politics and magic, with a good dash of romantic subplot.
I’m a huge fan of Krista’s and I’ve read several of her books now, both fiction and non-fiction and I really do think every book published is just a tad better than the previous one. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it really does feel that way.
The first book in the series ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so needless to say I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. We pick up where we left off with our characters separated into two groups, neither knowing if the others survived the events of the first book. But they’re not given time to grieve as they still have an army on their tails, bent on their destruction. They’re beaten down, injured, exhausted, and exposed to the elements, but they have to keep moving forward to safety. The first part of the book is a bit of a slow speed chase but I loved the way the tension was kept up throughout. Even once we get past that immediate danger there is a good bit of tension as our characters try to convince the city officials of the danger on the way. The end featured some great action sequences with an epic battle. Overall I really enjoyed the pacing of this one!
There are also a lot of politics in this book. Not intrigue, but bureaucracy. You really get a sense of how dysfunctional governments can be when bureaucracy is involved. So much red tape involved in even getting the simplest action set into motion. It’s frustrating for our characters and it’s frustrating to read about because I see the echos from our own government reflected here. There’s also a bit about those that are refugees from the first book that had to flee their home after it was attacked seeking a safe haven and how the different classes of people are treated differently. There’s plenty of food for thought, seeing things that could apply to our own world reflected here.
That being said, this book never gets tedious and it’s a fun read because of the characters. The dialogue is great and I love to watch the back and forth between various characters, especially when they’re joking with one another. Characters are really Krista’s strength. You can’t help but love our heroes and want to root for them and feel frustrated along with them when things aren’t going well. I also love the relationships between the characters, whether it’s friendship or romantic in nature (I could squee about the romances in this forever, btw). It was tough when they were separated, wondering if they would ever be reunited. And watching how the relationships evolved throughout, some growing stronger and others failing under the stress of the situation. In this book you start to learn what’s most important to them, what they’re willing to fight for. There were some surprises here for me.
There is a little bit of darker stuff in this one. The characters have been through hell and they haven’t come out of the other side unscathed. Some of them are dealing with physical ailments while others are dealing with trauma. And yet the story never feels too heavy. The dialogue and interactions between the characters help to keep things light.
Overall, I loved The Nightmare We Know and I can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy. If you like books about people fighting for what they believe in, friendship and a dash of romance, you should probably check this series out. 5/5 stars.