From the BLURB:
Retra - now called Naif - has escaped from Ixion, the island of ever-night. She doesn't know if her friends on the island survived the battle between the Ripers and the rebels. But she does know that she must return home, behind the sealed walls of Grave, to find out why the Ripers have been seen there talking to the councillors. What links the two worlds?
First she must convince Ruzalia to help her. The fierce pirate captain saves those who face terrible fates on Ixion, but that doesn't guarantee their gratitude. Instead, she faces a revolt - and Naif is caught in the middle.
Naif will need all her courage to survive. For Lenoir, who wants to keep her safe, for her friends Suki and Rollo, if they live, for Markes, who has secrets of his own, and for the new friends she will make on this journey.
The fate of worlds depends on it.
Naif has just been saved by the renegade pirate, Ruzalia. Along with her friends, including the lovely boy named Markes, Naif has been transported from the partying capital of Ixion.
But Naif cannot forget who, and what, she left behind on the island of light and dark.
Her brother, Joel. The mysterious Ixion leader, Lenoir. Her friends, Suki and Rollo. And all those who burn bright and burn out on the island that promises eternal fun, at a high price …
‘Angel Arias’ is the second book in Marianne de Pierres’s ‘The Night Creatures’ series.
I loved the first book ‘Burn Bright’, and after salivating over the ‘Angel Arias’ cover-art (by the very talented Jaroslaw Kubicki) I was frantic to crack this second instalment open. And, unsurprisingly but wonderfully, ‘Arias’ is just as good, if not better, than ‘Burn’.
‘Burn Bright’ was all about introducing us to the interesting world of Ixion. A place for fun and revelry, where young people escape their claustrophobic lives to live forever on the island that encourages you to ‘burn bright’. Our protagonist was the young girl Naif (renamed Retra) who escaped from her strict Seal compound life to find her brother on the island … but what she ended up discovering was tried and true friendships, confusing men and creatures who live in the dark, waiting for the revellers …
The boy’s face appeared in the gloom. “Come. Show you the way.”
Neither of them moved.
The boy moved out of the shadow. His head and body were human but his arm and hand were … Night Creature.
He unfolded a tentacle to both of them. ‘Follow quick or hounds eat you.”
A warm, suckered digit wound around Naif’s wrist and pulled her towards the dark.
At the end of ‘Burn Bright’ Naif escaped the island – but had to leave her friends behind. She survived a near-death experience with help from Ixion leader, Lenoir, whose blood connection to Naif now allows him to enter into her mind via telepathy.
In ‘Angel Arias’, Naif is struggling to cope with the knowledge of who she has left behind, and what she has left them to. Knowing what dangers lurk in the dark from those Night Creatures, Naif knows she must do whatever it takes to find out the root cause of Ixion’s madness and save her friends.
‘Arias’ is not set on Ixion – instead we follow Naif and Markes to her old Seal compound home. It is here, in this sad little village, that we get some idea of why the youths would risk warden wrath and possible death to travel to Ixion. At Seal, girls are not permitted to talk. Clockworkers are revered, on-par with holy men for coordinating people’s lives. And hounds are frequently let loose on unruly teenagers. Is it any wonder that young people would risk life and limb on the promise of burning bright?
I did adore Ixion in ‘Burn Bright’, and thought it was a wonderful bit of world building from de Pierres. The party ‘levels’, churches for come-downs and travelling carriages to take people to their revelry of choice. But as much as I loved walking around Ixion, I thought our glimpse into Seal was a much-needed and very telling bit of setting switch-up in this second instalment. It’s giving us more knowledge about Naif’s past, the quality of life for most children and the adults who rule over them.
In ‘Burn Bright’ Naif’s heart was all aflutter for the boy with the beautiful voice, Markes. He was an intriguing person to capture Naif’s attention – but a fairly hollow love interest. Well, he’s fleshed out in ‘Arias’, and we’re given insight into his history with the ‘trothed’ girl he left behind to travel to Ixion. This is a heartbreaking little side-story, but a wonderful way to learn more about Markes. Still, as much as Markes piqued my interest more in ‘Arias’, it’s still Lenoir who holds the most fascination. He’s an Ixion leader facing a coup, and he risked a lot to save Naif’s life and bond her to him. Some of ‘Arias’ is told from Lenoir’s perspective – but it’s tantalizing tidbits that don’t reveal much, but kept me wanting more Lenoir! I can’t wait to read more of him in the third and final book.
Marianne de Pierres’s ‘Night Creatures’ is a wholly unique YA series – it’s paranormal, steampunk sci-fi dystopia and completely remarkable. ‘Angel Arias’ is more epic brilliance from a traditionally sci-fi author who has taken Australian YA by storm! I can’t wait to read the third and final instalment.