Oof, this sequel did not live up to expectations. Behold as I list my woes.
My main woe was what Mikuta did with Sona’s character. Sona would NEVER come to love Enyo of her own volition, for the same reason that she never came to love anybody in her 7-8 years at the academy: they all actively support Godolia’s tyranny and imperialism, while Sona’s character is built around her hatred and resistance of these qualities. Enyo is one of those active supporters, when he’s literally in the best position possible to enact change. I get that Enyo is a scared kid, and there is a lot of time spent in this book showing how these characters are just kids having to make impossible choices, so I’m not trying to condemn or not condemn him as a person. I am making the point that while Sona might see herself in Enyo, or come to understand him, she wouldn’t love someone who made the choices he did, and CERTAINLY not to the level that she loves her family and Eris. It conflicts with the core of her character, solidly established in the first book. Making Sona love Enyo felt like a lazy writing choice so that there was a reason why Enyo didn’t die in the first half, thus giving this book its existence.
The brainwashing trope was not done well here. What triggered Sona’s proper break in her corruption? Why was she not confused over what was real and what she could trust seeing as either side was telling her the other side was corrupting her? Why do we not get more of a reaction from Sona over having had her worst nightmare come true? Where is her panic over what’s been happening to her family, her desperation over seeing them?
Ironically, there is a deus ex machina element of this book. It was way too convenient that a whole contingency of mechas who had escaped Godolia and were hiding out were discovered in this book, providing the perfect force with which to rebel against Godolia. It would not have been hard to foreshadow their existence in the first instalment.
The world-building was again a bit naff. We were still lacking the bigger picture and the cultural element that I wanted to see, as explained in my review of Gearbreakers.
The issue I had plot-wise with the latter part of Gearbreakers unfortunately characterised the whole plot of Godslayers. It was a bit too predictable, a bit too repetitive to be engaging, especially with the litany of other issues I had with the book.
Something about the writing style didn’t click for me this time around. It felt like the tense would chance mid-sentence and I would often get confused about what was meant by the author. However, I still loved how emotionally raw the prose was, as it could realistically depict teenagers facing a dystopian world.
This is a lot of negatives, I know. 2.75 stars may be a confusing rating to give it, but there were 3-4 elements which pulled through. The first being the romance, which was still written fantastically. Mikuta also nailed the found family element with her scenes of domesticity. The mecha fights were again strong; I especially loved reading the underwater mecha fight as this was something I hadn’t seen before. Finally, even though she was a bit stagnant in terms of development, Eris was still an interesting character to read from and I still fully felt for her.
Graphic: Violence, Death, Murder, Child death, Injury/Injury detail, War, and Gun violence
Moderate: Grief, Gore, Cursing, Suicide, Blood, and Vomit
Minor: Confinement, Physical abuse, Ableism, Medical content, Suicidal thoughts, Self harm, Death of parent, and Fire/Fire injury
Major: mind control, loss of a loved one
Minor: gambling, drowning