After the slight side trip of Wretches of the Trench, Temptress of Fates returns to the central mysteries behind Lilian’s scheming and the plot against the Emperor. And while Jie and her compatriots do make some progress in their quest, with two novellas still remaining, answers remain elusive.
One of the things that I enjoyed most about this installment is that the bulk of it is, essentially, a heist story. Jie and her fellow clan members use a variety of their training; from sleight of hand to seduction in order to infiltrate a party and break into a safe. I’ll admit, I love this type of story, and watching the members of the group playing their part and encountering obstacles that they each handle in their own way, was very entertaining.
Another thing I especially liked is the character interactions between the main group. While references to the previous installment are limited, the death that happens at the finale of Wretches is felt by all of them; especially Wen, who is promoted to POV status after being part of the supporting cast since part 1. Jie remains mostly in control although, as she admits to herself, Lilian remains her blindspot and Tien commits himself to the group, even volunteering risks to help his new clanmates as a result.
While the lack of any definitive answers may be a tad frustrating, there is a sense that things are beginning to build towards a finale resulting in a strong, fast-paced read.
4.5 out of 5 dwarf-made safes.