Remember back in September when I read Jeanette Rose & Alexis Rune’s Hades and Persephone retelling THE MAIDEN & THE UNSEEN? Well, they’re back again with another installment of the Love & Fate series picking up right where the cliffhanger left off in the first book!

Spoilers ahead for THE MAIDEN & THE UNSEEN.

After Hades claims Persephone as his queen, she is whisked off to the Underworld…and he goes missing. As Persephone adjusts to life as the Queen of the Dead, she also struggles with her conflicting emotions of anger at Hades for taking away her consent and worry that something is wrong. Meanwhile, Hades is trapped in a void, his abilities doing everything they can to keep him from becoming a broken shell. The two work to find their way back to each other while something even more sinister simmers underneath, biding its time.

The vibes of this story are vastly different from the vibes of the first. The first book was very much a romantasy where the two main characters had to find their way to each other and to falling in love. The focus of this story shifts to what happens after they do and the struggles of maintaining a relationship and battling other forces, both from within and without.

With less of a focus on the romance, there is the opportunity to explore darker themes with this story. From the question of consent to trauma and PTSD, Rose and Rune definitely veer onto a different path for this story. Which is not to say that there is no romance - Hades and Persephone are still trying to figure out their dynamic and it’s nice to see that even gods stumble sometimes.

Though this story did feel cohesive overall, it does also feel like there are multiple stories in one, as if each act of the book had its own three act story that played out. It isn’t something that I would say necessarily took away from the story, but it did feel a little jarring at times.

Once again, we are left with a cliffhanger at the end that leaves me ready and waiting for the next book to come out. I’m not sure if it’s different in the finished copy vs. the ARC, but there is an additional scene after the last chapter that jumps back to an earlier point in the book from a side character’s POV, which felt like a strange way to end the book.

THE MISTRESS & THE RENOWNED is the second book in the Love & Fate series by Jeanette Rose & Alexis Rune. It is available now on Kindle Unlimited along with the first book in the series THE MAIDEN & THE UNSEEN.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review.