First up, apologies once again for the absence. I had hoped to get back into blogging a lot earlier, but there’s been a lot of personal stuff going on regarding the Coronavirus and to be honest I’ve been feeling mostly just completely unmoored recently. I’ve been trying to write, but my brain has just felt so foggy and thoughts don’t seem to be coming well to me, so I decided to take a bit of a break to try and recharge and not push myself to do things that might impact negatively on my mental health.
There’s been a lot going on in the world in the last few days, and I plan on doing a proper post about that at some time, with some recommended reading lists. In the meantime, there are some excellent places you can go to donate money to bail funds and the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as a Go Fund Me page for George Floyd’s family. What you’re all doing out there is incredible!
Today I thought I’d start blogging again with my review of Son of Secrets by N.J. Simmonds for my part on her blog tour. This is the second book in The Indigo Chronicles, a series about past-lives and angelic forces and love that endures through many different periods in history. Before I continue on to my spoiler-free review (of book two, please go and read book one first because there are some spoilers here for that), I should say that THERE IS A CONTENT WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING: mentions of self-harm and suicide, sexual assault, rape, and mental health issues. I’m not sure if the CW warning will be in the book itself, but I know there was one for the published copies of TPK but I know there was a lot of similar content in this one too.
Ella has been waiting for Zac for three years. She’s convinced he’ll return for her, but fate has other plans. When Josh is thrown back into her life, Ella has a choice: step back on to her rightful path, or wait for the one who dared her to rebel.
But Ella’s not the only one missing Zac. Luci has been searching for her blue-eyed boy over two millennia and will stop at nothing to get him back. Even if that means hunting down the only girl he ever loved.
From Tuscany 5BC to 17th century witch hunts, Ella, Zac, Luci and Sebastian’s lives have been forever intertwined. The time has finally come to complete the circle.
In a fight against destiny – who will win?
Firstly, I want to take a moment to talk about the gorgeous cover for this book. I love the dark wing design, the way it uses a sort of blood red and black colour scheme witht he kind of spatters around it. The series is quite dark and has a lot of mature content, and I think the design reflects that perfectly.
The series is very romance-heavy, which I imagine some people will really love and some might feel a bit apprehensive about. I personally don’t mind if romance is a biiiig focus in a book so long as I know it going in.
Son of Secrets picks up three years after the events in The Path Keeper. Ella is now a hotel manager in Spain, trying to move on from Zac’s death. While the book was maybe a little slow to start, I found myself drawn in to the world again quickly and Ella’s character was as engaging as she was in the first book. I love how she’s an actual person. Although she was a teen in TPK and an adult in this book, she feels like her actual age- she swears, drinks and has sex, all things that actual teens and adults do too. I didn’t get a sense that she was secretly a fifty year old nun hiding in the body of a twenty-year old, and for that I’m really pleased to see her character shining through. She’s funny and witty and just so human that it’s hard not to love her as a character.
Simmonds paints an accurate and complex picture of grief in Son of Secrets. There are lots of different types of loss in this book, and the way the grief is handled differs starkly from person to person. I found it fascinating how loss shaped each character, how it changed their perspective of the world and their dreams. At times it was moving and deeply riveting. The language employed is beautiful, particularly in these moments– Simmonds really knows how to place her readers in a scene.
I also appreciate the different POVs we get, and the memories of past lives we get glimpses into. You can tell the author has done her research here. The scenes shift from present day Spain and England to the Netherlands at the height of the witch-hunting frenzy and Italy during the Roman Empire. There’s less of these flashbacks than there were in book one, but I think they add a lot of value to the novel and I found them possibly some of the best moments in the entire book.
Mostly though, I loved the clever little nods to mythology and the fantasy elements woven into Son of Secrets. There aren’t a whole lot of fantasy books out there that are about angels, and I thought again that there was a lot of thought and effort that went into making their presence in the book not feel like a reach. It meshes wonderfully together, and there are moments where you can definitely sense that the author has had a lot of fun playing around with the world-building and the stories. The whole Lucifer stuff in particular, was definitely a favourite of mine. Although I can’t really say too much about that because this isn’t a spoilery review. You’re gong to have to read it for yourselves…
There are a couple of things that I wasn’t entirely sold on, of course, as there almost always are in books. At times, the dialogue was rather on the nose and sometimes there were chunks of exposition in what people were saying that I thought could have been streamlined and woven into the narrative a bit better. And as much as I loved one of the new characters included in the book, and her multifaceted personality, I did struggle a bit with her disregard for consent when it came to sex. This particular character has endured sexual assault in the past, in a scene which is incredibly disturbing, so I found it uncomfortable that this same character uses her ability to compel people to do what she wants to effectively take away their ability to consent to sexual activities with her. And while obviously such actions can never be excused, I do hope that the author takes time to address this issue and these actions at some point in the series, to acknowledge that the character is repeating some of the very same behaviour she experienced herself. But the series isn’t over yet, so I hesitate to be too critical of this point because I think there’s a chance it will be addressed somewhere down the line.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Son of Secrets a lot. As I’ve said, I think the series is utterly unique and the different POVs, the historical scenes, and the pacing of the plot means that it never gets dull. And I am excited to see what happens next!
If you’d like to purchase a copy yourself, you can do so via Amazon UK here
Thanks so much for joining me today. If you enjoyed my review, please go and check out some of the awesome other blogs on the tour, and feel free to leave a comment down below to share your thoughts on Son of Secrets. No spoilers though, please!
Until next time ❤