- Series: Given Duet (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (April 10, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780399544644
- ISBN-13: 978-0399544644
- ASIN: 039954464X
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Given To The Earth (Given Duet) Hardcover – April 10, 2018
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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews
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On the sentence level, the writing was lovely. I never had trouble picturing anything, and felt every time the writer stopped to describe something in detail, it was relevant and layered with meaning. However, that wasn’t enough for me to be drawn in the book like I expected to be.
As much as I loved the cast of the Given Duet, I had a hard time getting into Given to the Earth. I wanted to spend more time with the characters and to find out what happened to them, but the short chapters quickly jumping from one character to the next made it hard for to settle into a rhythm and engage with the story.
I also found I had a hard time keeping track of who was narrating when and found myself flipping back to the beginning of chapters (at least with the first half of the book) to remind myself who was narrating. I always knew when Khosa or Dara was narrating, but there were a few instances where I thought I was reading Vincent but after a couple paragraphs, realized it was Donil when he said Vincent’s name or thought about his sister, Dara.
However, when I was a little over half-way through the book, that problem stopped. I found the rhythm of each characters voice and the rapid fire switching from one narrator to the next became a good thing because I wanted to know how everyone’s narratives fit together and how a string of good and bad decisions were going to play out in the end. I was engaged with the narrative that couldn’t fall asleep and got up to finish the book.
As I got closer to the end, I realized that this book was doing something that I love and hate: showing how dozens of decisions each characters make turn into mistakes because of their timing and a lack of communication, bring the characters so close to what could’ve been a peaceful or happy ending (for most of them) only to have it completely turned over by one thing that they overlooked.
There were a few surprises along the way, mostly, the narrative ended exactly how I knew it would and hoped it wouldn’t. It became too familiar. There were a few moments where I was thinking things like “ok I guess ___ had to ___ in order for ___ and ___ to have a happy ending” but after a good night's sleep and reflection on how this compared to the book I read before it, I realized it didn’t have to end that way. The author could’ve broken the trope and come up with a more creative ending were more people live happily with each other. I know this is vague, but being any more specific would mean spoilers, which I don’t want to include.
Given to the Earth may not be the best sequel I’ve ever read, but if you read Given to the Sea and enjoyed it, this is still worth reading. It’s well written and well paced once you get into the rhythm of the narrators and their voices. And if you’re okay with teary traditional endings to fantasy novels with almost Arthurian love triangles, them maybe you won’t have the same problem with this that I did.
This book did not suffer from the “Sophomore Syndrome” when it comes to books in a series, I found this book to be better than the first one to be honest, it may be because the pace was already set by the end of the first book and it was easy to get back into, Khosa was not really the main focus in this one, I saw this as more of Dara’s story and her quest for vengeance on the Pietra and the Lithos.
I wasn’t sure what to make of Khosa in this book, yes she married Vincent to save herself by marrying, but her mental state in the book just bothered me. She did not seem happy with her choice and how she felt that she needed to wear her crown everywhere as a constant reminder of her choice. She couldn’t allow herself to be happy, despite her situation. Khosa spent most of the book back in the library going over the histories of the kingdom, and she finds out quite a few well kept secrets about the people around her, which makes her question her own choices.
It was interesting to see how Witt has changed between the 2 books, he seems to question himself as the Litohs and if he really is meant for the role along with slowly chipping away at that stone facade he was showing his people and internally. Should he remain as the Lithos despite some of his people questioning his choice, should he step aside and let someone who is more vengeful and blood-thirsty lead the Pietra?
Dara the most interesting part of the book, her quest for vengeance was so focused. Her emotions felt so raw at this point, seeing the man she loved but knew she could never be with marry the woman she tried to kill. Her drive to survive, knowing that her and her brother are possibly the last 2 Indri alive and wanting to keep the bloodline alive somehow. Accepting the choice to leave the kingdom and her brother behind even though he was her equal and balanced her earth skills out, pushing herself beyond her normal limits, and finding peace at last in the least likely place she ever expected.
I was not ready for the end of the book, it was not what I expected, but it was well worth having my heart ripped out for. Even for a duology I felt that there was a great story here with multiple points of view that wrapped up in a clean way.