2.5 star, YA

Review: Ally by Anna Banks

Series: Nemesis #2

ally -anna banksPrincess Sepora of Serubel and King Tarik of Theoria have formed an uneasy truce between their kingdoms since the deadly plague began to rip through Theoria.

Since their feelings for each other are entangled in politics and power, they must use their own trusted resources to find common ground.

But when traitors with powerful allies arise from unexpected places, Tarik and Sepora face challenges that will change both of their kingdoms forever.

Will they learn whom to trust—including each other—in time to save their kingdoms, their relationship and even their lives?

2.5 Drink Me Potions

I was looking forward to reading Ally after the first book’s set up, but the storyline felt haphazardly slapped together. Slow at times, but rushed and hurried in other areas, there was little room for new character development yet plenty of space, apparently, for misunderstandings between our two protagonists, Tarik and Sepora.

Where do I even start?

There were certain highlights to Ally that I admit to enjoying.

1) The continual romantic tensions between Tarik and Sepora. I did find this kept me somewhat interested in finishing the book as I wanted to know if they ever could resolve the deep-seated trust issues they had with each other stemming from book 1. However, it got a bit unnecessary later on (more below).

2) Exploration of a bit more of the world they lived in. There were little moments of expansion about other kingdoms and how they lived, for example her mother’s home kingdom of Pelusia.

3) The mystery behind the Quiet Plague that has devastated Tarik’s home of Theoria since the very beginning of the series. I always love a good solution to the main ailments of a book, especially if it’s conducted well.

But as you may imagine, these very things I liked were also flipped on its head and were the things I thought weren’t good enough.

1) The misunderstandings between Sepora and Tarik take a turn for the worst (if that’s even possible). I honestly sided with Tarik half the time and was extremely annoyed reading from Sepora’s POV. She felt lied to and used for her ability to Forge yet Tarik had never truly made her feel trapped about using her abilities for his kingdom. In fact, he gave her room to make these decisions on her own without truly forcing it on her as he could have.

Yet the stupidity of their situation couldn’t all be her fault. Tarik just couldn’t admit to Sepora about his darn feelings half the time, expecting her to know about what he felt as any Lingot could, but she would have to solely rely on his actions to relay what he truly meant as words can so easily be used for deception.

Just…arghhh. The endless misunderstandings between them got old real fast. Was this really all necessary to keep the story momentum going? Plus, the way thing were resolved super-duper fast in the span of a few TINY chapters in Part 5 just wasn’t satisfactory. No matter how much I enjoyed the ending.

2) World building is only as strong as the time spent lovingly crafting it and stoking it into the main storyline. I felt this was poorly done, with little random facts such as the Pelusians love for DISGUISING thrown into the book for fun like an afterthought to make the book more interesting besides problems in Tarik-Sepora land.

3) And what of the mysterious plague? It wasn’t so mysterious after all, falling prey to my initial prediction for its cause. And the cure? Also such a throwaway. “Oh hey, here’s the *thing* that can heal your people, says the Master Healer.”

I don’t know if it’s just me not rubbing well with Anna Banks but this is the 2nd series I really wanted to like by her and it just falls short. With so many stories out there in this genre, there’s really no time to waste on a book that doesn’t stand out from others. I did enjoy the romance component to an extent, but there were too many things that I found at fault with the book. If you enjoy a story mostly centred on its romantic tensions between the girl and her lover interest, with all else INCLUDING the action of impending war – which totally fell flat in its execution and lasted mere pages – acting as a secondary component of the book, then you’re in luck. This is YOUR book! Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d suggest you try.

Overall Recommendation:
Ally was a promising sequel and conclusion to this series, but it really fell flat with my expectations. While the book had many advantageous parts to it – mysterious plague, impending war with other kingdoms, world building, tensions between lovers – none of these things were really explored extensively. Aside from spending way too much time on the misunderstandings between the protagonists, the other things were not given the appropriate amount of time to flourish into a genuinely amazing novel. If these things would bother you, I recommend you don’t read it. Otherwise, fans of Nemesis may enjoy it well enough.

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