I haven’t read the first book, but I can honestly say it was easy enough to get the gist of the pre-story. It’s not necessarily a prerequisite for this book, because it can be read as a standalone novel.
Fletcher appears to be on the short end of the stick the majority of the time. There always seems to be someone wanting to stick it to him. He literally goes from one frying pan to the other as others attempt to destroy him.
This causes friction, mistrust and also paranoia, even within friendship groups. During their quest this becomes very evident when certain people become suspicious of Cress and question her loyalty.
Matharu uses the conflict between the various races to point out the class and caste structure or system between them all, which in turn leads to racism and discrimination.
I really like the element of having the demons as the familiars (like a witch’s cat) and the way some of them are passed down through family lines.
It is an entertaining read with strong and memorable characters. It reminds me of a few well-known fantasy and magic stories with Matharu’s very own distinctive style.
Hopefully Mathura will explore the betrayal of Fletcher’s parents in the next book, especially after the bombshell cliffhanger at the end of this book.