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Two Twisted Crowns (The Shepherd King Series #2) by Rachel Gillig Review: Nightmare is the best part of the book.

Read Time: 3 minutes
Published On: July 1, 2024
Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig

Two Twisted Crowns is the sequel to the beloved fantasy romance “One Dark Window” by Rachel Gillig

About "Two Twisted Crowns"

Author: Rachel Gillig

Series: The Shepherd King #2

Publisher: Orbit Publishing

Genre: Fantasy Romance, Gothic

Page Number: 437 pages

Audible Listening Time: 14 hours 12 mins

Goodreads Rating: 4.45/5

My Rating: 4/5

This sequel to "One Dark Window" had all the ingredients for greatness: a spooky magic card system, a captivating world, and a complex villain with a hint of hidden depths. Unfortunately, the execution left me a little disappointed.

Elspeth, the heroine of the first book, is practically shoved to the sidelines here. The exciting dynamic she shared with Ravyn is barely explored, and their promised romance fizzles out. It felt like the author was more interested in telling a different story entirely, focusing on a new couple, Elm and Ione. While I didn't dislike them, their insta-love felt unearned, and their plot took away from the momentum of the main story.

The biggest saving grace for this book was the deepening exploration of the Nightmare. His cryptic warnings in the first book blossomed into a full-fledged backstory, revealing a dark and surprisingly emotional past. We learn why he is the way he is, and his character development was genuinely captivating. He easily became the most interesting character in the entire duology.

Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig

The author's writing remains beautiful. The atmosphere is even more deliciously creepy and gothic than in the first book. The banter between characters, particularly between the Nightmare and Ravyn, is witty and engaging. However, the constant switching between viewpoints, particularly between the fast-paced action with Elspeth and Ravyn and the slower moments with Elm and Ione, disrupted the flow of the story.

Walking away from this duology, I have mixed feelings. There's no denying the author's talent for crafting a world and weaving a dark and atmospheric tale. The Nightmare's character arc was fantastic, and the ending, while not what I expected, was satisfying. However, the sidelining of Elspeth and Ravyn, the forced introduction of a new romance, and the pacing issues left me wanting more from the story I initially signed up for.

I'll definitely continue reading this author's work – their talent is undeniable. But this particular sequel felt like a missed opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of the first book.

Amazon Blurb of "Two Twisted Crowns"

In the luscious, dark sequel to One Dark Window, Elspeth must face the consequences of what she's wrought - perfect for readers of Hannah Whitten's For the Wolf and Alexis Henderson's The Year of the Witching.

Elspeth and Ravyn have gathered most of the twelve Providence Cards, but the last, and most important one remains to be found: The Twin Alders.

If they are going to find it before the Solstice and cure the kingdom of the dark magic infecting it, they will need to journey beyond the dangerous mist-cloaked forest that surrounds their kingdom.

And the only one who can lead them there is the monster that shares Elspeth's head. The Nightmare. And he's not eager to share any longer.

Buy "Two Twisted Crowns"

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