Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.
Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever.
Following on from the first book, Harper, the overachiever, still has Buffy-like powers and still has to use them protect her now-boyfriend and work with her mage ex-boyfriend to do so. Her ex-boyfriend has also started dating another girl, who is a bit suspicious of seeing him with Harper so often, so no teenage dramarama there at all /sarcasm. There's also the part where her best friend has been kidnapped by a group of people that, based on the events in Rebel Belle, definitely seem dangerous. The stage is set for drama and danger.
This book has an interesting plot structure and deftly avoids any "middle book syndrome". One of the major unresolved issues that book one suggested might end up being the main plot of Miss Mayhem is resolved quite quickly. The story then seemed like it was going to be a fairly standard, but enjoyable, read about the main character overcoming obstacles thrown at her. And it sort of was (that is, definitely enjoyable, sort of about overcoming obstacles). There was also some teenage drama and angst thrown in for good measure, and a little bit of the reader noticing things the main character did not.
But then, rather than building up to some sort of generic "this is what you're going to have to save the world from in book three" kind of story line, we get a rather unexpected ended. Kudos to Hawkins for mixing up a common formula. Obviously, I'm not going to spoil the ending in this review, but I disagree with one of the quotes on the back of the book: it is not, per se, a twist ending.
I quite enjoyed this book and got through it quite quickly once I started reading it properly. I definitely recommend it to fans of Rebel Belle, and I recommend this series to people who enjoy the teenagers vs supernatural phenomena kind of YA books. I will definitely be reading book three when I can (it's not out until April and then only in the US).
4.5 / 5 stars
First published: 2015, Putnam (in the US)
Series: Rebel Belle book 2 of 3
Format read: Hardcover (gasp!)
Source: Non-Amazon online bookshop