ARC Review: A Feast of Souls (Araneae Nation #2) by Hailey Edwards
Mana can communicate with the dead, but she’s out of her depth when a soul attaches itself to a canis and declares himself an old friend’s long dead father. What’s worse is that she’s stuck with Vaughn and can’t tell him where she’s getting her information, nor does she dare divulge her secret fantasies that very much involve him. Vaughn is a warrior, but Mana calls to his softer side, at least when they’re alone. Outwardly he needs to be just as intimidating as ever while treachery lurks around every turn. GraveTells thinks A Hint of Frost is a worth a look!
- Title: A Feast of Souls
- Series: Araneae Nation book #2
- Author: Hailey Edwards
- Prominent Characters: Mana and Vaughn
- Recommended Reader Age: 18+
- Sexual Content Level: Moderate
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
I loved book one of this series, so I was really excited to delve into the sequel. I have to admit, I feel let down. I liked some of the banter between Vaughn and Mana, and even many of the other characters seen periodically. I liked the canis angle and thought it was fun, even though we’re never led to be fans of Vaughn’s father from stories of him both in this book and the last. I liked Mana’s spirit walking. The plague comes into play again from the first book, and yay for closure on that. Ultimately though, it doesn’t overshadow the flaws.
This definitely doesn’t work as a standalone. There are many story arcs that stem from the previous book so if you haven’t read A Hint of Frost before diving in, you’re going to be pretty lost. Speaking of story arcs, there were quite a few, and because they didn’t all mesh, it made for some confusion as the reader tries to figure out which conflict is the one to take the most interest in. The spirit walking made for a slower pace, while I felt other times were too fast-paced, such as some of the action sequences and the romance as a whole.
I LOVED Vaughn in the first book and so looked forward to reading his tale, but he didn’t seem the same. He’s still gruff and all, but he just seems a little softer, and not just because of Mana. Mana, while she’s got some brave moments that were endearing, she largely comes off as painfully naive, and occasionally a little slow. Old Father tried to tell her something about her soul mate, and it seemed to go right over her head. Their romance felt a little forced sometimes too, which was disappointing. Overall, A Feast of Souls has some inconsistencies and just lacks that magic that made the first book great. That being said, I was still satisfied to have learned their story, seen more of Vaughn’s home and history, and find closure on certain plot lines.
“I found her in the tunnel.” Vaughn traced the shell of my ear. “Listening at the door.”
Rhys transferred his frown onto me. “Is that true?”
“Hush now.” Lourdes slipped between the males and dabbed her handkerchief to my mouth. “Your lip is bleeding.” She spun on Vaughn. “Why is her lip bleeding? What did you do to her?”
“It was dark.” His voice went gruff. “I saw a threat – I didn’t think. I reacted.”
Her eyebrows winged into her hairline. “You honestly expect me to believe that you, whose reputation as a tracker is unrivaled, noticed a possible threat and failed to put your nose to use?”
He glared. “ Aren’t you the one who told me that sniffing people is rude?”
Her sparkling blue eyes rounded in mock surprise. “You mean you were actually listening?”
“Enough,” Rhys said. “My nose is a sight worse than his, but even I can scent the blood isn’t Mana’s.” He smirked at his brother. “It’s yours. Should I be asking…what did Mana do to you?”
His jaw set. “She bit me.”
“ I’ve only lived here all my life.” I needled him. “I could evade the Mimetidae’s best tracker by the age of ten. I can escape the Theridiidae’s dregs and get myself, and Pascale, into the city.”
He smirked. “The thing about tracking is you have to want to find what you’re looking for.”
I narrowed my eyes, my childhood pride draining away. “And you didn’t want me?”
“Boys of a certain age lack critical knowledge they will one day rue lacking.” He traced the curve of my cheek. “Namely that pretty girls often grow into beautiful females.” His lips pressed to mine. “I want you now.” He slid his fangs over my fluttering pulse. “I could find you anywhere.”
Rating: A Feast of Souls