Fray returns to the world of Galitha, dropping us directly into the brewing conflicts that haven’t left the busy streets.
What starts as a hopeful story quickly turns into another devious plot to wrest the kingdom from those who would see change brought to their way of life. Through it all, we see Sophie and her Prince become bastions of the good fight as they put themselves in constant danger to protect the land they love. It’s a strong narrative that deftly continues where we left off.
In keeping with the previous entry in the series, the novel is multilayered in its focus. First, we have the continued political discussions between the commoners and the nobility. Fray focuses primarily on the nobility side of the fight, revealing the deep hatred many have for the proposed reforms. Constant meddling can be heard behind every corner and bush, leading to a steady stream of intrigue and thrills as we dive deeper into the brewing conflicts. There are plenty of characters to hate in this story, and we have yet to see them get what they deserve. The Crown Prince takes a surprising turn by amplifying his voice for the people’s demands. In the first book, he was supportive of Sophie, though remained at a distance from the goings-on of the revolution. In the second, he finds himself firmly in the middle, now considered a prominent voice for the people and their best hope for political reform. We see the possibility for change, and that adds a deep sense of hope to the story.
Second, we get a much deeper understanding of the magic Sophie wields. What seemed to be a simple parlor trick used to sell marked up dresses is actually a more complicated form of magic. She struggles throughout to balance the charm versus curse forces and, as she continues to learn with the help of others, we see just how powerful her skills can be. We get to see a fascinating, albeit villainous, usage of the magic through music, lending further mystery to this ancient practice. The end promises an extremely magical third book.
Overall, Fray has shifted its roots from altered fairy tale to full revolutionary thriller. The story continues to be compelling, and that shift makes for a more serious progression of events. The unrest has been amplified tenfold, giving way to what I’m sure will be an explosive final book in this series.
By Rowenna Miller
Published by Orbit
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.