Seven Devils was one of my favourite books of 2021, and I Could Not Wait for the follow up, so I jumped at the chance to review the ARC from Netgalley! I also buddy-read it with Tessa, mostly for support and general yelling “wtf” at each other.
(spoilers for Seven Devils in the following review, but I will not spoil the actual book of course!)
THE MOST-WANTED REBELS IN THE GALAXY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN SAVE IT
After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the Seven Devils? Biggest score of them all.
The Devils take refuge on Fortuna where Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: it wants its daughter Ariadne back at any cost.
Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The Devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, even if that means teaming up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.
I will start by saying I did thoroughly enjoy this book. It took me a bit to get back into it, but after a while I just could. Not. Stop. Reading. I had to know what happened next. There were also a lot of “wtf” revelations and semi cliffhangers that really made the pacing of this book work for me.
Overall it was very satisfying, and without spoiling, I can say that I was quite happy with the ending. Moving, emotional, but satisfying. I also liked that the book took the time to get to its conclusion, with a few wrap up chapters. A rushed wrap-up often leaves me with a bittersweet taste so I was glad this wasn’t the case here, after such a saga!
I’m also happy with its exploration of genders and sexualities, going further than the previous books. Some depth was also added to some characters in the process and I really appreciated that.
I did feel like a bit more time could’ve been spent on some of the characters and their decisions. I still don’t understand why Ariadne did… at all, at any point in the book. There’s some half reasons given but I did not see the logic in them (yes even for a traumatised, probably neurodivergent kid), I missed that sense that, well, what the character did made sense to her at least. I also felt like some of the plotting was a bit rushed, or not as tight as it could’ve been. Some of the moves felt… too easy. Clearly the authors knew where they wanted to take this story, and so they did. But it didn’t have the same feeling of consequences or unavoidability of some of the first book’s twists, it felt more deliberately author-led than actions coming from the characters or because they had to.
I also enjoyed focusing more on Cato, Nyx and Rhea, but I did feel like we lost a bit of the in-depth understanding of Eris. She was very much central to the first book, and here her own chapters are focused a lot on the other characters. Obviously her main plot point around her identity has been dealt with so it makes sense.
I’m also ambivalent about Cato’s storyline because it does add so much more depth to him and answers some big questions, but I don’t think it was taken to its logical conclusion and so it’s left a bit in suspension at the end, or like that thread was just conveniently forgotten.
If it sounds like I’ve a lot of criticisms, it’s mainly because I’m really invested in the story and its characters. Overall though, it’s still a very strong conclusion to the duology, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It just didn’t hit quite as much for me as the first one did, perhaps because I had a few months to think about what to expect.
Seven Mercies is coming out on 20th January in the UK. You can preorder it from your local bookshop or at the links below: