Read The Sapphire Flute by Karen Hoover before starting this book. The number of people introduced in the first three chapters is confusing if you’re not already familiar with the story, and besides, The Armor of Light begins where The Sapphire Flute left off. I started book 2 thinking the author would describe the continuing settings and characters and explain the backstory basics. She didn’t, so I had to go back and read The Sapphire Flute to get a mental picture of book 2’s beginning. I loved book one even though it came to a stopping place as opposed to a real end. It wasn’t meant as a standalone.
I have to admit I wanted to dislike the second book for not being a standalone. That lasted all of three chapters. Then the author began introducing new situations and new magical phenomena as she ramped up the tension. All the color and detail of the first book wove itself into the second tapestry.
One storyline features romance with competing suitors, heart-breaking betrayal, magical battles, death and hopelessness. I cried through certain chapters. Evil gets its due in this book with a storyline fleshing out the antagonists and making one of them seem sympathetic—in a twisted way. The main story focuses on learning, friendship, trust and free-will in a case of nature versus nurture. When hidden evil undermines the good influences, conflicted characters must run or face-off with betrayers.
With exception of some well-deserved dread at expectation the three stories will come together in a disastrous way, little feels formulaic about evil’s bid to gain control of the magic keystones that created Rasann. When the storylines come together with a crash, the elements combine with dark magic to rage against the magic academy that serves to protect the world. A battle ensues that could end in the death of the only person able to mend the fraying magic holding Rasann together.
As trials, joy and sorrow transform the characters in the book, so you will be transformed in the reading. If not for the lack of adequate descriptions in the beginning, I would give The Armor of Light 5 stars. The ending resolves most of the conflicts in a way that feels satisfying to the reader even though the characters suffer great loss and face a terrible challenge, setting a difficult path for future books in the series. I look forward to the journey.