The Rose and the Sword

The Rose and the Sword - Gina Marinello-Sweeney 4.5 stars. Maybe I really should have only rated [b:I Thirst|22090273|I Thirst (The Veritas Chronicles #1)|Gina Marinello-Sweeney||25086565] three stars instead of four, because even though I gave both books four stars, I can really see how Gina Marinello-Sweeney has grown as a writer in this book, and if this one had a higher rating than the first one, it would be clearer. In the first book she had an interesting and unique writing style, and characters who felt like friends. In this book she had both those things, and a much clearer storyline.

I was delighted to see Rebecca, Peter and Adriana again (and I was glad that we got to see more of Adriana.) We also got to meet some new characters, most of whom were likeable. I would have liked to see some more of Jeffrey. How did he react after his friend was arrested? He was an interesting character, but we only saw him in three scenes in the book. It took me a bit to warm up to Amelia, but she had proven herself likeable by the end. I also really liked Christy, which made her quick demise sadder. She's an heiress? If she was an heiress, why was she working as a secretary? Because she was dead at the end of the book, will we ever get answers to this?

At the end of the book, Peter said that Rebecca's assailant looked sort of familiar to him, but not exactly. The attacker also said that he was going to be careful and not end up in jail like 'his own,' and that he knew the Canadian train conductor because he had done some business in Canada. These clues brought me back to my friend and my speculations about what would happen in this book. We'd guessed that someone who cared about the men who went to jail for paralyzing Peter's brother would want revenge on Peter, and attack Rebecca to get at Peter. While we'd originally speculated that the Abominable Snowman lady (will we ever find out who she is and why she enjoys endangering test-taking students?) might have been the mother of those boys, and that doesn't seem to have been the case, it does seem possible that this attacker was the shooters' brother. Maybe we'll find out in the next book.

There were poems in this book as well. While I did enjoy the poetry in this book, I think Yesterday's Chalice from I Thirst is still my favorite.

It took me around 100 pages to finally determine the source of the plot driving conflict, but then the plot did take off. Every now and then the plot did seem to be meandering, drifting from small conflicts or taking a break from conflict altogether, and when this happened I found myself wondering where it thought it was going, but then it would return to the main plot arc and I'd settle back into the story. There were a few other issues I found, such as that I never did figure out what the main antagonist's motivation was (maybe the next book) and the fact that all of the villains enjoyed monologuing to their victims. Gina's strengths are in her wonderful characters and her unique writing style, but her plots could still use a little bit of work. Even so, overall it was an exciting story that I enjoyed even more than I Thirst.