Many, many moons ago, I read Amid Stars and Darkness, the first in Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy. While I enjoyed that novel and definitely wanted to read this sequel, I had some reservations about where the series was going. Spoiler: it’s definitely about a love triangle.
Between Frost and Fury picks up immediately where Amid Stars and Darkness left off. After being kidnapped and forced to impersonate alien princess Olena, Delaney Grace has been safely and secretly returned to her Earth with her alien boyfriend, Ruckus, only to once more be captured, this time by Zane Trystan, Olena’s fiancé.
The plot of book two centers around Delaney learning to get along with Trystan, who is using her as a loophole to get out of his engagement with Olena while still upholding the peace their union was supposed to have established. Naturally, most people on their planet are dubious of his plan that would make a human their queen, and Delaney has no desire to be a queen or Trystan’s wife, but she knows she has to negotiate her freedom carefully to avoid war not only on this planet, but on Earth as well.
Because of this, the story is less action-driven than the first novel, but it still moves at a pretty brisk pace. Trystan is still by far the most interesting and complex character, though it’s abundantly clear now that while he may serve as an antagonist, he’s intended to be a love interest going forward. I was concerned at the end of book one that’s where this series was headed, because at that point his character required some major growth for me to support that, and that is essentially the point of book two. We get more of his POV, more backstory, and Delaney is forced to spend more time with him, all with the pretty clear goal of showing him in a more sympathetic and likable light, and we do see some growth on his part. He’s still jerk a lot of the time, but he wants to be better. But it’s still not until the end of Between Frost and Fury that I see him actually doing anything to try and be better to anyone other than Delaney. So, I’m still not convinced that particular ship is healthy, but I will admit it is showing signs of improvement. Hopefully Trystan’s character reformation will continue in book three.
The third point on this love triangle is Ruckus, who does not get many pages in Between Frost and Fury, and those he does get don’t give him much to do beyond worry about Delaney, so his character, while a nice guy, isn’t any more complex or interesting than what was established in Amid Stars and Darkness. Which gives me a pretty good idea about which ship is going to sail in book three. Poor, sweet, two-dimensional Ruckus.
The intrigue and quick pace of the plot are keeping me interested in this one, but I’m still going to need some convincing in book three if the love triangle is going to play as dominant a role as I expect it will. All in all, I’m giving Between Frost and Fury a 3 out of 5.