Release Date: July 7, 2014
Source: Author via NetGalley
Assassins, skyships, and royal intrigue...
With plans for a second skyship exposed, Third Daughter Aniri fears her sister, Seledri, will be caught in a war between the three Queendoms. Seledri is the Second Daughter of Dharia, which means she had no choice in her arranged marriage to the First Son of Samir—a country with whom they may soon be at war. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she questions her own rushed betrothal to Prince Malik, the noble barbarian who controls the skyship—and whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.
Second Daughter is the second book in The Dharian Affairs trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, assassins, royal romance and intrigue.
Let me start with the romance. So in Third Daughter, Aniri got betrothed to Prince Ash of Jungali. It wasn't a love match initially, but things developed between these two in the end. So you'd think it'll be a smooth road to a royal wedding, Bollywood style. Not! See, Aniri felt things moved too fast, too soon, and doubted if the feelings between her and Ash are real or the result being put in a hair raising situation.
And how I loved this part! It's very anti-insta-love and a very realistic rationalization from someone who's a step or two away from getting into a life-long commitment.
Now on to the action! Things escalated on all fronts in SECOND DAUGHTER. Spoiler alert: Aniri's father, who they thought is long dead, is very much alive and the history behind his disappearance is heartbreaking for a daughter to hear. The kingdom of Samir didn't keep us in suspense for much longer and commenced its war against Dharia and it's allies. It got intense really fast, one minute Aniri was sneaking her sister, Seledri, out of Samir, the next they're being attacked by airships, anarchy ensued, and Ash went missing!
I love SECOND DAUGHTER, and no way did it suffer from second book syndrome. The progression of the series arc is great; the characters are logical and are not prone to irrational decisions brought on by strong emotional responses to people and events; the action-adventure parts are remarkable; and I am loving the conflict within Aniri's family. As for the Steampunk part, it's solid and unique, but not in a way where it drags the story nor does it overwhelm the readers with gadget nerd talk and the like. The Dharian Affairs just tinkers with that part and wows us with the visuals. This series is worth the read.