The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

*Spoiler free, but possible spoilers for The Never Tilting World*

After a treacherous journey and a life-shattering meeting with a twin neither knew they had, Haidee and Odessa expected to emerge from the Great Abyss to a world set right. But though the planet is turning once again, the creatures of the abyss will not rest until they have tasted another goddess’s sacrifice. To break the cycle, Haidee and Odessa need answers that lie beyond the seven gates of the underworld, within the Cruel Kingdom itself. The shadows of the underworld may hunger to tear them apart, but these two sisters are determined to heal their world—together.

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I finished the first one. A world split in two, ruled by two goddesses. One cloaked in eternal darkness, one under eternal light. Four POVs, two twins, and a heck of a journey for every single character. It was a brilliant book and I could not wait to see what the sequel, and conclusion, would have in store. Trigger warnings: self-harm, grief, cannibalism

Reviewing sequels is hard. How much do I give away? How do I stay vague, but give enough detail so people know what I’m talking about? Well, I’m going to try!

I ended up loving this book just as much as the first one. It’s a spectacular duology all around.

I will say, that I think I ended up liking the first book better than this one. The first one had a very specific journey in place. The rules of the world were very rigid, so the plot was very rigid as well. But, this is the sequel. Everything has been blown open. Worlds are now turning and colliding. Characters are coming together. And at the same time all that is happening, a conclusion is fast approaching. It made the book seem more open, and while I know that’s such a weird way of describing it, it just didn’t fully click into place for me. Though, that does not mean it was completely bad! I really did enjoy most of the plot, it just felt like everything was so expansive, but there was only so much book to explore it in.

Alright, let’s move on to characters, because I love all these dorks so, so much. Arjun, Haidee, Odessa, and Lan all have POVs again and they are all just as wonderful as they were in the first book. I loved seeing the romantic relationships blossom, and I loved seeing the new friendships blossom as well. I was worried about tension between some of the characters, but I really loved how the emotional turmoil was handled. Honestly, I should have expected that with how well Lan’s trauma was handled in the first book. Heavy, painful emotions are not shied away from in these books, and neither are turmoils in relationships. Chupeco certainly knows what they are doing in regards to emotion.

The overall concept of these books amazed my in The Never Tilting World and it amazed me in this book two. Seeing how the result of the world turning again is affecting all the characters and their world was incredible. Really, everything about this world was incredible. It’s hard to describe it words other than just downright fascinating. Plus, the writing just makes it all the better. Everything seems so vivid, and the horrors, the beauties, and everything that makes this world tick seem so vivid.

Overall, I truly did love this book. It ripped my heart out, but it was everything I wanted in a conclusion and a sequel. There is a small part of me that feels like there were small parts that were rushed and maybe could have benefitted from there being more books in this series, but it is just a small part! I wish this book got more attention, because it truly deserves the world.

You can add The Ever Cruel Kingdom on Goodreads and order a copy of your own!

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