Ever the Brave (A Clash of Kingdoms #2) by Erin Summerill
Publication Date: December 5th, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave. After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.
It has been a handful of years since I read Ever the Hunted and, even though I purchased both books at the same time, it has taken me just as long to pick up the sequel. Granted, my reading tastes have changed and I don’t find myself drawn to Young Adult anymore but I still wanted to finish this duology.
I wish that I had a lot to say about Ever the Brave but the truth is it was just a solid middle of the road read for me. I didn’t love it but it also did not have any major glaring issues to me. I appreciated how conflicted Britta was and how she was forced to question her feelings to find what is valid and what is simply because she is magically pulled one way over the other or if it is even a mixture of the two.
I went into this one without fully remembering all of the events of the first book and that worried me at first but Summerill was able to effectively sprinkle in details of events past to get me back up to date without feeling like an info dump or detracting from this new part of the developing over-arching story.
There was additional hesitation on my part thinking that there would be a very stereotypical love triangle and I guess there was but it was written in a way that I haven’t seen often. The conflict is so evident between the characters both mentally and physically but, while you will likely root for one over the other, you can see the appeal in both instances.
Beyond the romance, Ever the Brave is really about Britta’s journey to self-acceptance. Her powers have been both a blessing and a curse for her (very cliche I know but there’s no other way to say it lol), she learns more about her past, she has no one she can trust to teach her how to use her powers to their greatest benefit… essentially her life is in transition and she can only fully rely on herself. It was great to see Britta grow in this book.
We do flit between the POVs of Britta, Cohen and Aodren which is helpful in terms of figuring out the scope of the story - particularly with Cohen’s side of things. Aodren’s chapters more or less revolve around him trying to figure out his feelings towards Britta and very little to do with his kingly duties to the point that I forgot he was one aside from the fact that he lives exceedingly well. Cohen is really the one taking the most chances and getting the most done during his travel and the people that he meets. Britta is conflicted over a number of things but has a very natural progression of development.
Overall, I’m glad that I finished the duology but I don’t think I have a need to read the off-shoot novel, Once a King, to follow Aodren’s story further.