It's not often you get a sequel that's better than the first book but I think I liked this book more than FBAA. Armentrout outdid herself with this one. We're drawn back into Poppy's world after she finds out Hawke isn't really who he says he is. That he is actually Prince Casteel Da'neer, the one they refer to as "the darkone". And he expects her to travel with him to Atlantia and get married. He says its for her protection and the best way to save both kingdoms.
I love how well and likeable the characters are written. I like Poppy more and more as her story continues. Her strength, inner moral compass and compassion for others, up to a willingness to sacrifice for those in need is inspiring. Especially after all she's been through. And her growth as a person as she discovers who she is, as well as who and what she wants to be.
This book endeared me even more to Cas. Learning more of his back story and what happened to him while being held captive by the queen. Add in his unending devotion and care of Poppy and what's not to love. We also got to see a more vulnerable, sensitive side to him in this sequel. When he tells Poppy "You’re the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thought I have when I fall asleep, replacing everything else. It’s why when I’m with you, I can be quiet. I can just be. You know what that means" your heart goes out to him as a reader.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention a love for Keiran. His sass, sarcasm and dry humor speak to my soul. I can just picture him rolling his eyes every time Poppy asks him questions.
The book found the perfect balance between character development, world building and a fast paced plot. And that earth shattering ending!! A Court of Gilded Bones can not come soon enough