Although this book didn’t quite fall into the middle book syndrome category there were still missing pieces within the story that I wish were fulfilled.
From the Blurb:
The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.
Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha — the key to the stolen throne.
But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties — to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.
The Archer at Dawn picks up right where The Tiger at Midnight left off. Esha has brought Kunal to her side and into her rebel group, the Crescent Blades. Now their goals align in wanting to save their land and people, and the only way to do this is to rescue the long-lost princess of Jansa, Reha. Unfortunately, this won’t be an easy task since she is known to be a captive of an enemy, King Vardaan.
The Crescent Blades devise a rescue for the princess where Kunal is set to return to his life as a soldier, and Esha will play the role of an adviser to Prince Harun. Both of them have a huge role to play in what may be their deadliest mission yet.
Esha and Kunal remain the center of this series, and I truly enjoy how different the two are. Esha acts with her mind alone and Kunal acts with his heart, and it makes their dual POV throughout the story fun to read.
All of the Crescent Blades characters are fun, too! We get to know them better in this book and I loved it. Each personality stood out. It warmed my heart how this group of rebels found a family with each other.
The story quickly progresses once Kunal is forced to enter the Sun Mela and Esha works her magic on winning over allies for their rebel cause. There are far more politics in this book than the previous one. Overall, I didn’t mind this aspect but at times it did almost feel as if the plot was trying to do too much, and it didn’t always deliver on its promises.
Swati Teerdhala’s writing is still fantastic. Her descriptions captivate and sweep me into this lush world and I can’t help but be excited to read her words. The only downfall is how packed with information or unnecessary drama some parts of the story were. Most of it was subtle, though, so it didn’t completely ruin the book for me.
Esha and Kunal are constantly testing their loyalties and readers are sure to question their choices. What must one do in order to reach their goal? Is betraying the ones who trust you worth the risk when the choice will benefit your cause? Both of them are put through the ultimate test of where their hearts lie.
The action increases towards the end as the Crescent Blades close in on their mission. There are so many revelations that my mind was blown! I think fans of this series are in for a treat as the end sets up a promising conclusion.
If you’re a fan of fantasy stories then this series is definitely underrated and you should check it out!