Julia Defiant by Catherine Egan

9:41 PM

Title: Julia Defiant (Witch's Child #2)
Author: Catherine Egan
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 464
Source: Bought
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Overall: 4.5 STARS

The heart-pounding follow-up to Julia Vanishes and the second book in the Witch's Child trilogy. Catherine Egan's masterful world-building and fiercely flawed heroine will thrill fans of The Rose Society, Graceling, and Six of Crows

In this compelling and action-packed novel, Julia and her allies travel to the other side of the world in their efforts to thwart Casimir's quest for power. They rescued the baby Theo from his fortress once, but Casimir is relentless. He needs this child. Or rather, he needs the magical power that has been written into the child's very being. And so Julia and a mismatched band of revolutionaries, scholars, and thieves journey to Yongguo, searching out the witch who worked that dark spell. They must find a way to separate the magic from Theo without killing him--a nicety that Casimir won't bother with. Julia is also searching for answers about herself. Her ability to vanish to a place just out of sight has grown--she can now disappear from her world so completely that it's like stepping into another world. A dark and fiery world that that feels disturbingly like hell. Where the creatures seem to recognize her--and count her as one of their own. Caught between a web of ruthless, powerful people, and a world seemingly dredged from her nightmares, Julia must decide not just who but what she really is if she wants to survive. 

When I had the chance to read an ARC of Julia Vanishes, my initial thought was that the Witch's Child series had so much potential. The kingdom of Frayne was such a terrifying, awful world. Magic was forbidden. Witches were drowned. But our understanding was limited to Julia's perspective and the information she collected while spying on Mrs. Och in her home. It was really just a taste of this dangerous fantasy world, leaving me yearning for more. So when I finished the sequel, Julia Defiant, I was really happy to see the book exceed those high hopes I had for it!

Exhilarating adventure. Higher stakes. More action and world-building. I loved everything about Julia Defiant! Sequels can be tough because sometimes they feel like filler for what's to come in the final book, but Julia Defiant expands beyond the borders of Frayne and drives our curiosity to learn more about Julia's heritage and Mrs. Och's mysterious intentions. The book picks up two months after events unfolded in Julia Vanishes, with Julia and her misfit group of thieves, witches and scholars finding themselves in the powerful empire of Yongguo.

In Yongguo, they are determined to find a witch named Ko Dan, the man who bound Theo's essence to a fragment of the powerful Book of Disruption, the oldest origin of magic in their world. Meanwhile, Casimir is still relentlessly hunting them as well, and he doesn't care if removing the magic will kill Theo or not. Julia's gift is an important asset to their mission. While her friends separate to stay in different areas of the capital city, hiding and keeping an ear out for news of Ko Dan, Julia is traveling across Tianshi and taking on the most danger. 

Julia is trying to atone for her mistakes and the harm she almost brought to cute, innocent baby Theo. But while she may have turned a new leaf in some ways, Julia's still the same in others. She's still eager to learn how she can move unseen, slipping into the shadows beyond everyone else's senses. And, of course, she still loves to spy and collect secrets. She's just unsure how much she can trust Mrs. Och, who always seems to have her own agenda.

If Julia Vanishes is considered an appetizer, then Julia Defiant is definitely the main course—satisfying full and absolutely delicious. I loved reading the book! I think what I especially loved about Julia Defiant was the setting. Yongguo was very obviously East Asian-inspired, so vibrant and contrasting to Frayne; it was a place where magic was controlled, but openly accepted. I really appreciated Catherine Egan's attention to detail in the world-building. It completely brought the story to life. And now I'm excited/anxious to find out how the trilogy ends with Julia Unbound!

** Check back on my blog tomorrow for a Q&A with Catherine Egan! **

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