Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.
However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.
Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested.
How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?
Wilde’s Army picks up the moment Wilde’s Fire left off. Arland, Kate’s mother and sister, and the rest of the inhabitants of the base have vanished. All except for Perth, the man Kate is supposed to marry to appease a political ally. Kate forms a tenuous partnership with him because, while she has no intentions of marrying the man, she does need him if she’s going to find the others. It’s in Kate’s nature to see the best in people, including this strange Ground Dweller, but circumstances require her to keep Perth at arm’s length and on a short leash. For his part, Perth is cooperative with her plans to rescue Arland and her family. He plays devil’s advocate and gives her advice, all despite her American teen snark.
The reader is reminded quickly that not only is the world around Kate a dark and dangerous place, but it is in part because of her. She is the one prophesied to destroy end the reign of darkness. The eldest daughter of High Leaders, ruling this world is her birthright. Naturally, the malevolent force who is oppressing Encardia delights in taunting and tormenting her with every tool at his disposal…vicious beasts, the lives of her friends and family, with exhaustion, hunger, and temptation. And still, the most dangerous thing in this world might Perth’s father, his ambition, his greed, and his careless flaunting of essential resources.
Opposite High Leader Dufaigh is Saraid Wilde, Kate’s mother and a woman of great power and perhaps greater secrets. She plays the Leaders’ game in Encardia with one hand in the cookie jar and the other behind her back, fingers crossed. At the risk of alienating both of her daughters, Saraid never tells the whole story, never reveals exactly what she’s thinking, and never gives a straight answer to questions. She has her reasons, but as Kate grows more and more frustrated, the reader does as well.
There were some details in the beginning that snagged my attention. I would recommend reading the final chapter of Wilde’s Fire before opening Wilde’s Army. There was also one scene where I feel the author backed herself into a corner and telling was really the only way out. Those issues aside, if Wilde’s Army has a big fault, it’s having the misfortune to follow Wilde’s Fire.
Krystal Wade’s strength is in her characters, though. The Arland / Kate / Perth triangle, as the three test the limitations of each other’s loyalty and patience, was well worth the read.