Pros: Gets better as it goes
Cons: Very mundane; a couple of specific plot points
Rating: 3 out of 5
Christina Bauer’s Portia (Angelbound Offspring Book 2) was billed to me as being able to stand alone despite being book two in a series. That was more-or-less true–I was able to follow the plot. But the non-main characters needed more detail or background. Read book one first, in other words.
Portia is a princess who has been Marked in a way that means she’s eventually going to turn into a Void demon. In the meantime she’s a powerhouse of magic studies, and races to find some way to shore up the worlds that are being taken apart by the Void demons. Add in a dragon Emperor, Tempest, who’s sworn to help her fix things, and life gets interesting.
Portia includes creatures of all kinds–dragons, angels, elementals, demons, etc. Unfortunately, they all just sound and act like ordinary humans. Tempest is the only one who sort of transcends that. It makes the book feel utterly mundane until close to the end, and that isn’t what I look for in a fantasy novel–even an urban fantasy, which this sort-of is. There’s at least a nice love and lust plot between Portia and Tempest; I enjoyed it quite a bit. The book could probably use one more round of copyediting, but unless you’re really sensitive to missing words and so on, you probably won’t notice it (whether this is a con or not depends on your reading tastes). The plot is interesting–restoring the Firmament so that whole worlds won’t be destroyed–and in particular later on it gains some tension and interest.
SPOILER WARNING… skip ahead if you want to avoid spoilers: Toward the end of the book we find out Tempest and Portia have the whole “mated” thing going. It’s kind of abrupt, and frankly I think their relationship would mean more if that were replaced by a straight-out love plot. Since they were already heading in the love direction, the mate thing seems like a bit of a shortcut, a deus ex machina for the heart. SPOILERS END… we return you to your regularly scheduled review.
Unfortunately I don’t have a lot more to say. I kept putting this book down in order to do other things, which isn’t the greatest recommendation ever.
NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher