I love this out of all the post-Circle Opens books (I refuse to try and claim the three belong together).
The four are back together and have grown up and apart. So now its time to face a new foe and work out what family means now they are adults. Daja and Tris are hurt and feeling like they don’t have a home, Briar seems to have PTSD and Sandry is heartbroken that they are no longer one.
But of course its time for a crisis, where they all travel together to meet a new challenge and explore yet another new country (spoilers below the cut).
I love that they have to learn how to trust each other gradually again, and work out how to set their own boundaries but ultimately what part of their childhood family bonds of trust are worth keeping.
As a romantic I always find Daja and Rizu’s relationship heartbreaking, but it is of course ultimately realistic. Daja has to stand by her sister, and Rizu would be a fool to abandon her life for a summer fling. But that’s not how love interests in stories should part! I want more escapism in my fictional romance!
And reading this along with Mark, I have for the first time appreciated how badly the four treat Zhegorz. I’d never realised how much they infantise him before. Of course character flaws are necessary, and at least an apology and Zhegorz making his own decisions happened before the end.