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Second Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
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I don't know what went wrong with me here, ladies and gents, but I could not get into this book until the last third of the novel. I was a bit taken aback considering how much I enjoyed Third Daughter, the first book in this series. Oh well, as the say: "sh*t happens".

First of all, Aniri coming to Samir and playing hide and seek with all her entourage against the royal guards felt a bit silly. I understood her desire to save her sister, but she went about it in a very half-arsed way, and that's from a girl who was so delightfully sharp in the first book! It also took a very long time, so I was relieved when she returned to Jungali.

Aniri's lack of concern about her dear old dad whom she wanted to find or find out what happened to him in order to avenge his death for so many years turned out to be another anticlimactic moment in this book. What could have been a pretty dramatic twist deserved no more than a shrug and was treated in a way that made me feel like a lot of plot potential got wasted.

However, don't despair or give up on this novel yet. After Aniri arrives back to Jungali, things get more interesting and the novel ends with a shocking bang which makes the reader stomp their feet in frustration because they want to know what would happen right NOW!

Overall, it's a steady second instalment in the series with a lush, wonderful world-building even if I haven't enjoyed Second Daughter as much as I thought I would. Recommended. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Aniri is back in Jungali with Prince Malik. Now that things have settled down a little though the threat of war with Samir looms large, Aniri now has time to wonder if she has rushed into her engagement with the handsome prince. Aniri has good reason to doubt given that her last affair with the courtesan Deevish ended in betrayal. Aniri barely has a change to deal with her jitters before she is notified that an assassination attempt has been made on her sister, the second daughter of Dahria, Selderi. Though Malik desperately wants Aniri to marry him first to cement both their relationship and the treaty between their two nations, Aniri is compelled to rush to her sister's side. Aniri's trip to Samaria will reveal a long standing family mystery but at the same time, push her country closer to war, even as it threatens her marriage to Malik.

The Dharian Affairs Trilogy is rare in that it is a steampunk series based outside of Europe, with a large cast of people of colour. Quinn takes great care to fill her story with a strong sense of culture and India. Her descriptive writing is vivid, thus making it easy to picture the surroundings and get swept away with them. With the potential of war looming in the future it raises the tension in Second Daughter. I must however admit that I am not as enamored with Second Daughter, as I was with Third Daughter. Third Daughter is very slow moving at the beginning and it feels very much like it is treading water. While it is absolutely sensible for Aniri to doubt herself, in terms of her love for Malik, it took up far too much of the story given what was at stake.

Aniri continues to be filled with spunky agency. She never thinks things through, or has a coherent plan; she simply moves from one bad situation to another, justifying her lack of forethought by the fact that those she loves are in danger. Some of this can be justified by Aniri's youth but at the same time, I feel as though she should have grown more, given the events of Third Daughter, beyond the notion that rushing into an unbreakable marriage contract without forethought could have consequences. I do however like the fact that Aniri remains intellectually curious and is unafraid to face danger, even if common sense should at least cause her to pause momentarily.

One of the things I like about the Dharian Affairs Trilogy is the all of the world created by Susan Kaye Quinn are matriarchies. Women are highly prized and men may only lead the country, if there isn't a female heir. There are several strong side characters in the novel like Riva the tinkerer, Nisha, Malik's sister in law, and of course, Queen Amala. Though none of these women had a significant role to play per say, each in their own way helped guide the story and offer the reader insight into the world, political situation and customs. The one character who gave me pause was Selderi whom we are told repeatedly is good, and sweet. Selderi is several months pregnant and she is treated like a near invalid because of it. Yes, Selderi is pregnant and was poisoned but it felt like a trope to make the pregnant woman fragile.

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Jan 25, 2015 |
This book begins where the last one ended. In this second book, the eveing before Aniri’s wedding to Ash she learns her sister Seledri is in trouble. Someone has made an assassination attempt. Aniri leaves to “rescue” her sister because there are rumors that her sister’s new country is planning war against Dharia.
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own. ( )
  skstiles612 | Dec 27, 2014 |
Secrets. Romance. Sky ships. War. Betrayal. Put all of these together and you have a novel where almost anything can happen and just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, an unexpected event occurs and you think, I never saw that coming.

What am I talking about? Author Susan Kaye Quinn’s novel SECOND DAUGHTER: The Dharian Affairs, Book Two, of course. Third daughter Aniri is back with her plans to marry Ash and bring peace between their countries. A difficult task made even more complicated by those who would cause war between the countries. But when second daughter Seledri is almost assassinated before her wedding, Aniri puts her marriage plans on hold, and is kind of glad to do so since she’s having doubts about her own groom to be, to help her sister. In the course of discovering who wants her sister dead and why, Aniri discovers secrets, an unexpected love, and more than she ever imagined.

Author Susan Kaye Quinn has developed a beautiful story of evil and treachery, but also of love and understanding. And perhaps even forgiveness. Sometimes it’s difficult to put an old romance aside and look at the new in a different light. I think Aniri learns a lot in this second book, about others but mostly about herself. Looking forward to reading the next one to see if I’m right about Aniri.

Pick up a copy of SECOND DAUGHTER and see what you think. I believe you’ll be happy you did.

### ( )
  beverlyjean | Nov 16, 2014 |
Fun & Action-Packed, with Just the Right Amount of K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-copy of this book for review from the author.)

When last we saw the Third Daughter of Dharia, she was on board the reclaimed skyship Prosperity, bound for Jungali with the “barbarian” prince Ash at her side. The two planned to wed – for love, not country – but their happy ending was somewhat overshadowed by the possibility that their former Samirian allies had build a second, undiscovered skyship, ominously named the Dagger. With one sister – the Second Daughter of Dharia, Seledri – married into the Samirian royal house, the prospect of war with Samir threatens to tear apart Princess Aniri’s family as well as her nation.

Second Daughter picks up where Third Daughter left off, with Aniri and Ash’s return to his (soon to be their) Jungali mountain palace, where preparations for the upcoming nuptials begin immediately. Though Dharia and Jungali are united by a peace treaty, a marriage will help to further cement the alliance - especially important in wartime. But with her return to relative normalcy, Aniri begins to distrust her heart, which led her horribly astray in past dalliances. Pre-wedding jitters left unspoken threaten to derail the wedding. And then comes word of a foiled assassination attempt on Seledri, giving Aniri ample reason to play the proverbial runaway bride.

With handmaiden Priya, Master Tinker Karan, and still-recovering raksaka Janak at her side, Aniri flies the Prosperity into Samir – ostensibly just to check on the well-being of her pregnant sister, but with designs to whisk Seledri away to Dharia should she agree. With the assassin still at large, the sisters don’t know who they can trust; is it the Second Son of Samir who wants her dead, in a play for the crown – or is her own, seemingly-adoring husband to blame? As they attempt to escape Samir, the group must rely on old enemies-turned-allies for assistance, including Aniri’s former Samirian lover, Devesh, as well as their father, long since presumed dead, who in truth abandoned their family for his Samirian lover.

The story ends in a rather unexpected and dramatic climax, which sets the stage for an action-packed conclusion to the trilogy.

I can’t lie; while I greatly enjoyed Aniri as a protagonist, I’d really hoped that each successive book in the series would switch to the next oldest sister’s point of view. I would have liked to get to know Seledri and Nahali as intimately as we have Aniri, and to enjoy this Bollypunk world from another sister’s perspective. Alas, Second Daughter continues to focus on the exploits of the Third Daughter of Dharia, which just so happen to involve the Second Daughter. Of course, the flip side of this is that we get to spend more time with characters we already know and love: Aniri, Ash, Priya, Karan, Janak. I guess this helps temper my disappointment, at least.

That said, Second Daughter is almost as fun and compulsively readable as Third Daughter. I say “almost” because the second book slump threatens to impede the action at times. A prime example: the romance between Aniri and Ash. A conflict that seemed resolved at the end of book one is immediately resurrected at the beginning of book two, for no reason other than that we can’t have the lovers get together before the conclusion of the series; their coupling is the denouement, after all! As much as I wanted them to get married and get on with it already (!), Quinn does an admirable job of drawing out the Mulder/Scully - Ross/Rachel - Dean/Cas will-they-or-won’t-they melodrama. And the ending is rather explosive. Literally. So I guess what I’m saying is that, while the plot indeed threatens to drag in certain places, Quinn navigates the danger with expertise.

If you enjoyed Third Daughter, I would definitely recommend Second Daughter. While not quite up to par with its predecessor, it’s still quite a ride: full of action, world-building, political intrigue, wonderful steampunk elements, and oh yeah, lots of kissing. Still a 4.5 star dealio (rounded up to 5 stars where necessary), seeing as I devoured it in just a few sittings and can’t wait to pick up the last book in the series.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2014/11/14/second-daughter-by-susan-kaye-quinn/ ( )
  smiteme | Oct 29, 2014 |
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