The Exiled Queen continues where the first book left off, with both Han and Raisa traveling across the lands to get to the famed academy where they train soldiers and magicians.
I couldn't finish this book. I almost can't believe it. It's not a horrible story, it's not as if I utterly loathe it. I got through 50% of it (120 pages or so) and then skimmed through the rest, but somehow... I just can't bear reading another 200 pages with sequels to boot.
Here are the reasons I have dropped this book, and consequently this series:
The plot has gotten ridiculously simplified. I don't even think half the plot lines are feasible.
None of the characters have changed or grown up.
I don't believe anything she writes anymore.
All of it bores me.
For the plot: (spoilers) Han meets the Bayar twins at the academy and prepares to face off. It's like Chima wanted to do a school scene of all a sudden! Ridiculous. As if problems aren't happening outside of their individual issues. What about the country and the war outside? Usually books go from a small, isolated area (like a school) and then expand outwards into the world. It doesn't really work in the reverse because there are more important things that I would rather be reading about - rather than seeing them master the magical fundamentals with childish rivalries.
As for Raisa, it's as if Chima decides to put her through a lot of trouble and give her the gift of "witch-speaking". What the bloody hell? One little speech gets her through life and death every single freaking time. I don't believe it all. She hasn't grown up nearly enough to deserve talking her way through survival and admittance to school. It's not believable and it's not doing anything for her character growth.
Picking up Cat, flaunting Han's amulet without any repercussions, Raisa preventing her death through five lines of pretty speech. No. Not believable at all. In fact, a very early point in the beginning of the story tells us that Han is going to the academy for revenge. What in freaking blazes? Nothing in his characters suggests that. I don't even know what this character is thinking. None of it is believable anymore. These characters are like caricatures of real people. It's like they're being dragged along a plot without any real character development. The main characters are too astute, the enemies are too stupid. Why aren't adults at a school smarter than the students? ...really. Caricatures, I say. Which makes me hate the story.
And the romances are just plain stupid. Everyone falls in love with everyone else - and I can literally say everyone because there are really only a handful of characters that matter.
Honestly, at this point, I don't care about the characters anymore. I don't care about the plot. I don't really care about the world and the magic. So what's there for me to continue reading?
One star because I can't finish the book. Perhaps with a bit more time on my hands and persistence, I actually probably could have finished this book through sheer will power. But it would have still been a book that is filled with unbelievable plot-twists, stagnant characters, and a very subpar world.
Recommended only if you can't bear to drop a series. And if you absolutely have nothing else to read. But I'd suggest you pick up another series entirely.