My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I took a long break between reading the first two books in the series and finally completing this one, so I had a bit of a rough start. One thing to remember (lol) is that Xander discovers a lot about her past and who she is in Namesake. So when this one started off, especially since I took such a long break, I had to back up a bit with "Aura, who?" But it's pretty much a new start for her anyway.
If I said Namesake was dark, this one goes kind of... darker... in many ways before finally going PLOT TWIST but ACTUALLY! Then becomes pretty much hopeful again. Which on one hand is kind of cool because Aura really needs a break, but on the other... I guess there were enough subtle cues that I'm okay with it happening.
Williams sets it up so it sounds like there should be another book in this world, even though this book 3 of a trilogy - and honestly, if she does one exploring that whole side quest on the Al units and why this one guy is hunting down the Alpha Prototype, I'd be all for reading it. (I see other short stories in the Morningstar Universe but none that addresses this. Though Promise: A Morningstar Series Novella might be interesting to read.)
Note: When I say "darker", it's not so much about being more graphic. I think the level of violence is about the same, but it's really very... sex-negative. I get that Williams is portraying villains in this (and is giving the Stormcloud sisters a Very Difficult Childhood), but their main means of control and coercion seems to be primarily sex, especially kinky sex, and abuse in the name of kinky sex.
So "content warnings", if you will: difficult discussions on abortion vs bodily autonomy, mentions of pedophilia, and copious references to rape and sexual assault.
View all my reviews
This finally finishes up March's TBR stretch goal. hahaha. I'll work on December's goal, but I think I'll give up on the stretch goals.