Stones of Time (Damewood Trilogy Book 2) by Erin DuranteThis was an awesome read that I daresay enjoyed even better than the first book.
Stones of Time starts off right where Demons of the Past ended as Nadia is imprisoned by the scientists and her betrayer Maurdruik. She gets to know one of her guards, Shaden, probably my favorite character in the book, a soldier who is well read and unlike his brethren. Soon Nadia gains his trust and somewhat manipulates him in helping her escape, after revealing his dismay toward the way the other soldiers think. The opening scenes are interspersed between flashbacks of horrific experiments to create super soldiers and one genetically enhanced "demon" child (whom it is hinted as being Shaden) is subjected to countless painful experiments.
As Nadia and Shaden escape, she stops at a door where her old friend/love interest/former mentor Vestro is being held and still kept alive. Insistent on taking him, Nadia and Shaden then make their escape toward the city of Colorado Springs (with a stop here and there) and run into some old friends, the demon hunter Damien and the former would be king of the Pearl Isles Andrew who has changed a bit in appearance and moved on with a new love interest Anna. From there, they devise a plan to stop the Ordi and the vicious experiments while attempting to gather the last remnants of the Pearl Isles together to rise up and retake the kingdom from the growing Ordi empire.
There are some nice moments between Shaden and Nadia earlier on that I believed would turn into an interesting triangle but instead gave way to another connection that would band Shaden, Nadia and Vestro together. I was taken aback with the revelation and also how Shaden changed from a hardcore warrior to somewhat child-like in mentality and curiosity but it was understandable after getting a bit used to it.
The beauty in this story not only lies within the depth and complexities of the characters but in the detail of this future world. From steam energy powered lights in the future city of Colorado Springs to the fact that California had broken off the rest of the continent, the technological future that was hinted at in book 1 is fully shown as Nadia makes her way out of the city. Genetically enhanced beings are treated with contempt and subhumans and we see in the low paying jobs they are given, the way they are treated as property and the disapproving glances they are thrown on the streets.
This was a great addition to the Damewood trilogy and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the series is tied up as the final confrontation looms and the characters begin to settle with each other and in their home to prepare for war once again.