Blind Eye Books, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-9789861-7-9
Lord of the White Hell II is the second book in a two-part series. You don’t think the II in the title is for show, do you? It goes without saying that you should read these books in order. Even if you insist on being stubborn, do read my review of the first book first to get the background details of this series. I should also point out that this review could very well contain spoilers for the first book, so read this review at your own risk.
Now, we move to the second half of the school year at the Sagrada Academy. If you have read the first book, you will know that Kiram is now positively sure that he doesn’t like girls (girls have cooties and are disgusting) and that he and Javier have a spat that see them temporarily estranged when this book begins. The whole white hell thing rears its ugly head again as our lovers move toward the inevitable reunion and… oh, I give up. It’s hard to give this story a compelling synopsis that isn’t a repeat of the synopsis of book one because this is where Lord of the White Hell II becomes surreal. The author has tossed aside much of the plot build-up in the previous book, so much so that this book pretty much becomes another retread of the previous book. Kiram and Javier reconnect again, Kiram goes through the same old mental angst about the differences between them again, and while the white hell thing becomes clearer here, the events surrounding the curse feel familiar. Secondary characters built up in the previous book take the back seat here, making me wonder why the author went through the trouble developing those characters in the first place.
It’s all so bizarre. Any character growth the boys experienced in the previous book is reverted to square one here. Even the break-up between Kiram and Javier, depicted in an explosive manner as a cliffhanger ending in the previous book, is resolved in a “So what?” manner. These two rarely interact meaningfully in the first few chapters of this book, and then, oh look, they are doing naughty things again. Even the more action-paced later chapters of this book feel anticlimactic, thanks to the fact that the villain has left every detail of his plan in writing so that Kiram, who exhibits a charming tendency to snoop around people’s property when these people are not around, can go, “OMG! I know the plan!” at the most convenient moment.
I don’t know what happened between the previous book and this one, but there is no denying that I really enjoyed the first part even as I mostly scratch my head in bewilderment as I turn the pages of this book. Truly, it’s disappointing how much of a let down this book is. What happened, Ms Hale? How did we go from that to… this?