Armistice, by Lara Elena Donnelly

36480645Armistice, the sequel to Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough, picks up three years after the disastrous takeover by the fascist Ospies (One State Party). The characters who survived to live another day are now exiled in the neighboring country of Porcharis. Cordelia, the dancer turned guerrilla leader, had a narrow escape but is plotting her way back home. Artistide, however, is mourning the death of his lover and has buried himself in work and drink. When another character enters the scene, it gives both of them the opportunity to get what they want if they are willing to take the chance—and if their luck holds out.

That character is Lillian DePaul, Aristide’s lover’s sister. She is working for the Ospies as their publicist. She works under duress, as the Ospies have her son. One misstep and Lillian will never see the boy again. Her status quo is disrupted when her boss tells her that one of their colleagues, Memmidev, maybe plotting to right some historic wrongs of his own against the One State Party. Lillian is no spy, not like her brother was, but she does the best she can by using her own connections to try and dig up the necessary dirt. Her clumsy spying becomes the catalyst that drives a host of characters to up their game.

Most of Armistice is scheming. Plans are fleshed out, abandoned, and resurrected as characters uncover ever more secrets. Throughout all of this skullduggery, the characters ask the same question: who can I trust? In some cases, past relationships answer the question. Lillian can trust her old lover because he is her son’s father. Cordelia and Aristide can trust each other because they were friends at the old Bumble Bee in Amberlough. The answer is much more complicated for other characters. Can they trust a self-interested traitor who already betrayed them once? Can they trust the arms dealer who is really just out to preserve her illicit empire? And what about the dilettante foreign prince who seems much more interested in his movie star lover yet knows a surprising amount of state secrets?

Armistice was an great read, tightly written with plenty of character development and tense moments. I strongly recommend reading Amberlough first. Armistice pushes readers right into the deep end and it’s easy to get lost without the necessary background. There will be a sequel to this book, but I don’t think Armistice has even a whiff of middle book syndrome: lot happens in this book. Characters grow. Plots are hatched and executed. There are double-crosses and confrontations. This really was a lot of fun to read.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration. It will be released 15 May 2018.

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