Book Review: Second Daughter (The Dharian Affairs, Book Two), Susan Kaye Quinn (2014)

November 14th, 2014 11:54 am by Kelly Garbato

Fun & Action-Packed, with Just the Right Amount of K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-copy of this book for review from the author.)

When last we saw the Third Daughter of Dharia, she was on board the reclaimed skyship Prosperity, bound for Jungali with the “barbarian” prince Ash at her side. The two planned to wed – for love, not country – but their happy ending was somewhat overshadowed by the possibility that their former Samirian allies had build a second, undiscovered skyship, ominously named the Dagger. With one sister – the Second Daughter of Dharia, Seledri – married into the Samirian royal house, the prospect of war with Samir threatens to tear apart Princess Aniri’s family as well as her nation.

Second Daughter picks up where Third Daughter left off, with Aniri and Ash’s return to his (soon to be their) Jungali mountain palace, where preparations for the upcoming nuptials begin immediately. Though Dharia and Jungali are united by a peace treaty, a marriage will help to further cement the alliance – especially important in wartime. But with her return to relative normalcy, Aniri begins to distrust her heart, which led her horribly astray in past dalliances. Pre-wedding jitters left unspoken threaten to derail the wedding. And then comes word of a foiled assassination attempt on Seledri, giving Aniri ample reason to play the proverbial runaway bride.

With handmaiden Priya, Master Tinker Karan, and still-recovering raksaka Janak at her side, Aniri flies the Prosperity into Samir – ostensibly just to check on the well-being of her pregnant sister, but with designs to whisk Seledri away to Dharia should she agree. With the assassin still at large, the sisters don’t know who they can trust; is it the Second Son of Samir who wants her dead, in a play for the crown – or is her own, seemingly-adoring husband to blame? As they attempt to escape Samir, the group must rely on old enemies-turned-allies for assistance, including Aniri’s former Samirian lover, Devesh, as well as their father, long since presumed dead, who in truth abandoned their family for his Samirian lover.

The story ends in a rather unexpected and dramatic climax, which sets the stage for an action-packed conclusion to the trilogy.

I can’t lie; while I greatly enjoyed Aniri as a protagonist, I’d really hoped that each successive book in the series would switch to the next oldest sister’s point of view. I would have liked to get to know Seledri and Nahali as intimately as we have Aniri, and to enjoy this Bollypunk world from another sister’s perspective. Alas, Second Daughter continues to focus on the exploits of the Third Daughter of Dharia, which just so happen to involve the Second Daughter. Of course, the flip side of this is that we get to spend more time with characters we already know and love: Aniri, Ash, Priya, Karan, Janak. I guess this helps temper my disappointment, at least.

That said, Second Daughter is almost as fun and compulsively readable as Third Daughter. I say “almost” because the second book slump threatens to impede the action at times. A prime example: the romance between Aniri and Ash. A conflict that seemed resolved at the end of book one is immediately resurrected at the beginning of book two, for no reason other than that we can’t have the lovers get together before the conclusion of the series; their coupling is the denouement, after all! As much as I wanted them to get married and get on with it already (!), Quinn does an admirable job of drawing out the Mulder/Scully – Ross/Rachel – Dean/Cas will-they-or-won’t-they melodrama. And the ending is rather explosive. Literally. So I guess what I’m saying is that, while the plot indeed threatens to drag in certain places, Quinn navigates the danger with expertise.

If you enjoyed Third Daughter, I would definitely recommend Second Daughter. While not quite up to par with its predecessor, it’s still quite a ride: full of action, world-building, political intrigue, wonderful steampunk elements, and oh yeah, lots of kissing. Still a 4.5 star dealio (rounded up to 5 stars where necessary), seeing as I devoured it in just a few sittings and can’t wait to pick up the last book in the series.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

 

Comments (May contain spoilers!)

Diversity: The second installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s Bollywood-meets-steampunk (Bollypunk!) trilogy, The Dharian Affairs. All of the characters are Indian.

 

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One Response to “Book Review: Second Daughter (The Dharian Affairs, Book Two), Susan Kaye Quinn (2014)”

  1. Book Review: First Daughter (The Dharian Affairs, Book Three), Susan Kaye Quinn (2014) » vegan daemon Says:

    […] the conclusion of Second Daughter (Book #2 in The Dharian Affairs trilogy), Princess Aniri is about to marry her sweetheart Ash – […]

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