Gray has been captured by Cracked and is under Jace’s command. He must quickly adapt to the high standards of his new prison – or he will be disposed of as any shapeshifter is if they don’t fit into Cracked.
Jace quickly turns from an enemy to an essential ally in helping Gray fit into the prison life – and he grows closer to her team and their ongoing mission
He also grows closer to her – as their telepathy and relationship come together into something new and completely outside both their experiences.
I was pleasantly surprised how this book worked – I expected a lot of resentment and angst and snarling between Gray and Jace. Their epic hostility would continue for most of the book until eventually the inevitable romance developed
Well, I was partly right
Instead of going down that clichéd route, Jace and Gray seem to mesh quite well from the beginning. A lot of this stems from Gray’s excellent personality. He’s easy going, he’s gentle, he’s not going to blame Jace for being an enslaved part of the system any more than he blames himself. He’s not going to rebel for the sake of it, nor is he going to fight a battle he can’t win. He’s going to do the very best he can in a bad situation, make sure he survives and then see how he can manage for freedom and existence from there. He also quickly recognises that people around him are trying to help him survive and he buries any resentment.
It’s a refreshingly mature attitude. And if I have any criticism of it it’s that it’s just a little… too perfect? Gray’s assimilation into Cracked, his adaptation, the difficulties he faces et all are all just… kind of easy. There’s little depiction of any real struggles over this new life he’s living, there’s no anger or grief or frustration over becoming a prisoner and effective slave. It’s freakishly smooth and probably too smooth. This is even more obvious when we see how quickly he makes friends and gets by with the other inmates – sure part of this can be explained by the fact he is Jace’s protégé and she is top of the pile, but in the last book it really emphasised how brutal and cut throat Cracked was with lots of violent competition between the inmates.
I feel odd for complaining about this because I think I enjoyed the book a lot more without these conflicts than I would have if they had been there. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel quite so solid or realistic to have his transition into Cracked be so smooth. Where do I stand on enjoying the absence of a particular plot point while at the same time thinking the story and the world building suffer for it not being there?
There was a love triangle – and I don’t think this needed to be there at all. I do like how it went though with, ultimately, Gray paying some kind of comeuppance for, basically, being such an utter coward.