Maleficium: Duo by Natalie Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Think Escape Room, meets Saw, meets Battle Royale. That’s what we’re dealing with.”
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏
Character development: 👨🏻👱🏻♀🧔🏻👩🏻👩🏼🦰
The heroine: Liliana (a.k.a. Lana) – she was the de facto leader of her group of friends and at the end of the last book they had gone through a gauntlet of sorts including Riddles, Murders and Mayhem, with crazy people in masks picking them off one by one.
The Hero(es): Ciaran – the leader of his group of friends and it seems that they are somehow running the gauntlet that Lana and her friends are in this time. They are behind the scenes and moving the pieces around.
The Story: In Periculum the guys were with the girls going through the crazy town and solving the riddles, we even thought one of the guys, Charon had been murdered. However, at the very end, the guys separated from the girls and it was made obvious that not only were the girls families involved in putting them through that, but the 4 guys were also involved. Not only that, but they weren’t done yet.
Their families seemed proud that Lana, Mel and Gracelyn (and Serena, who was with them) made it through the first part of their initiation. But before they can even start to figure out what they are being initiated into, they are on to part two. Though this time they don’t have the guys along with them and they are not happy about the betrayal.
“The question of why was still looming over my shoulder. Abuelo had mentioned this was an initiation. What the f*ck were we being initiated into? Purgatory? I chose to keep my rambling inner thoughts to myself for now. There was no point in adding more unknown variables to this crappy equation.”
In the first book, Lana had seemed to recognize Ciaran from somewhere, but couldn’t remember from where. In this book, she is having the same issues with a lot of things she comes across. It seems someone has somehow selectively erased some of her memories. (It does say that it is 2029 so maybe that is possible).
Like in the first, in this new phase of the initiation, only the strong survive. Lana, as we know from book one is a regular girl in some respects, like the fact that she doesn’t want to fall in line with her wealthy family who want her to only think of improving their status and reputation. She would rather do her own thing. Also she is a sociopath in some ways and feels no empathy for those around her that die in these trials they are going through.
Her friends are also in this one and some new faces. A guy named Dion finds Lana and is on the trek with her and is looking for his girlfriend who was with him when his shuttle bus crashed (like what happened to Lana and friends in the first book).
There were still some steamy moments between Lana and Ciaran even though she doesn’t think she can trust him, and there was definitely a lot of murder and mayhem. It seems every time they come across people that can answer any questions as to what is going on and the purpose for everything, they get the same answer, that they will find out soon. I hope the next book comes out quick because I also am dying to know.
I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.