Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 genies
Published: October 1, 2013
Genre: Mature YA, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Purchase At: Amazon.com or The Book Depository
Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who’ve been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It’s kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.
With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.
When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she’s drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can’t remember—but Death can’t forget…
In this seductive follow-up to Poison Princess, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole takes us deeper into the dark world of the Arcana Chronicles.
Never before has Death looked so good. I give props to Kresley Cole; she wrote this character in such a way that completely changed my mind about the Reaper.
From what I recall of Poison Princess he didn't feature that much in the story, save a few threatening inner monologues between himself and Evie, and the odd flashback here and there. Going into Endless Knight, Death was not my preoccupation, Jack was. The Cajun stole my heart during the first book, and while I still hold a tender place for him, Death shares more of my affections. I'll break the book down into sections and better explain what I loved:
Setting: This was perfect! Throughout the book, the group journeys through the wasteland in search of Evie's grandmother, also avoiding the other Arcana and Bagmen following closely on their tail. Firstly, Endless Knight picks up from where the previous book left off with Evie just having done away with the Alchemist and Jack standing there shocked beyond belief. There is desolation everywhere and from the imagery of blood splattered on the woodwork, dripping from Evie's talons, you get a sense that this world is far from ordinary. Other books I have read in the genre cannot compare to Cole's gorgeous and thrilling world of the A.F. I loved everything.
This is a world that I immersed myself in, picking up the book and not stopping until it was finished. I couldn't get enough of their terrifying circumstances and the world post Apocalypse is so very perfectly written and conveyed.
Plot: I couldn't believe how engaging this story was; I never saw anything coming, save a guess on rare occasions, and even then there was more to the revelations than I could have assumed. Impressed is probably the only way to describe how I feel about Endless Knight. It thoroughly impressed me, and this is a sequel done well. I never felt like putting it down, the writing flowed and a consistent peppering of adventure ensured that I never grew bored or tired.
Cole does dance a fine line between YA and Adult with some of the more mature scenes involving Evie and Death, even the cave scene with Jack seemed more risque than the average young adult book. For this, I have to suggest the book for older readers in the 17+ or 18 and above age range. The scenes are steamy and my contention is that Evie doesn't seem like a 16 year old in all of them. I am not complaining, yet simply noting that if a book is written for a particular age group, it should stick to content appropriate for that audience. Mainly, it would have been more consistent with Evie's character had she acted her age.
Then again, I suppose it isn't every day that the world ends and maybe those scenes are proof that she needed to grow up quickly? It depends. I loved this book either way, but that was me giving younger readers a heads-up.
Characters: Not going to lie, Jack got on my nerves a little at the beginning, he blamed Evie for keeping her powers a secret and had little hissy fits earlier on. Needless to say this was annoying, especially in light of what is later revealed about him and Evie's mom; his emphasis on truth is hypocritical in retrospect.
He would distance himself from the group and be all broody, but later when things worked themselves out and he accepted the truth of the Arcana I loved me some Cajun! I was all vouching for him to get Evie away from Death, sure he was trouble, until I met him.
Officially, I've jumped ships. A little. My feet are kind of half in one boat and halfway on the deck of another.
Death was trouble, make no mistake, but I can't for one second figure out a better reason to be bad than for him. He's a lesson in proper character development, and as I got to know Death better, I respected his character more. He isn't good, what he does at the end keeps him firmly from being that, but I have trouble detesting his character. In a weird way, this is pleasing. I like characters with shades of grey and because of their shared past he seems perfect for Evie; I want them to be endgame.
And Evie, she was the leader I needed her to be. Initiating the treaty with the other Arcana and also defying death, she was fierce and is coming gradually into her own. It is no secret that I've liked her from day one, she is relatable and someone I do not mind rooting for. I'm glad Cole kept her as the girl I fell in love with in the beginning. You get a good idea of what there is to lose, also how things hang in the balance, and as more characters like Lark and Ogen are introduced, other dynamic Arcana included, one thing is for certain: it is anybody's game to win.
The ending left me thrilled and equal parts worried. What will happen to Evie...and Jack? I wanted to slap Death and cheer simultaneously because he took control of his life and went about getting the girl he wanted, but I disagree with his method. The way I see it, he's going after what he wants, but her indecision aside, I wish he'd waited for Evie to resolve her feelings; it would have made him the better man.
And then I remember, he's Death, and will probably never be the "better man" in that sense. I just hope his ultimatum doesn't ruin things for him and Evie's relationship. Cole did it again; I need her next book AASAP: Already As Soon As Possible!