Long Awaited Second Book in Book of Icons is Here!

The Hidden Icon
Book of Icons #1
by Jillian Kuhlmann (GoodReads Author)
Kindle edition, 240 pages
Pub Aug 30, 2015, Diversion Books (first pub Sep 17, 2013)
Also available in paperback

GoodReads Summary:  
Sometimes the heart is the darkest place of all.

Gentle and perceptive, Eiren is a storyteller. She also has a gift: she can sense the emotions and thoughts of those around her. Her power stems from an incredible darkness that exists within, one that brands Eiren as an icon, the mortal incarnation of Theba, the goddess of destruction.

To save her family, Eiren surrenders to the enemy that has warred with her kingdom her entire life, unwittingly embracing that darkness and her own surprising capacity for fury and vengeance. As the icon of Theba, her captors expect her to restore their shattered kingdom at the expense of her own. As the woman Eiren, she is led by her heart to more unexpected places still: to murder, betrayal, and to the arms of another icon, the masked and enigmatic Gannet, whose secrets are not his to tell.

To know the truth of why she was taken from her home, Eiren must become one of the monsters from her stories, whether she wants to or not.

Disclaimer:  I was provided an eARC for each of these books by Diversion Books and NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews, for which I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

First response:  (Before I realized it was a duology) I am getting really tired of books that aren't complete within themselves. Cliffhangers are so not fun! And this book was breathtaking until then...

My Review:  
Jillian Kuhlmann is amazing! Well, her book is. This dark, dystopian world isn't my usual, but I seem to end up here more often lately. It's a scary place. And Ms. Kuhlmann makes you bleed in it. As Eiren tries to squeeze through the sentient cave, you feel the rocks tear the fabric of her clothes and you feel the blood drip down her skin. You feel her fear that she won't ever get out of that spot alive. That the cave will never let her go.

Watching her goddess' life opera explode with the attack of the assassins and as she flees for her life, you wonder with her how many of the icons are behind it. And who. And when she asks, "Did you know?", you hold your breath with her until he answers.

I loved this book! I didn't want it to end, I just wanted answers. For that you have to read book #2, The Dread Goddess. 

The Dread Goddess
Book of Icons #2
by Jillian Kuhlmann (GoodReads Author)
ebook edition, 300 pages
expected pub May 30, 2017, Diversion Books
Available in paperback

GoodReads Summary:  
In the rival kingdoms of Ambar and Aleyn, gods walk among mortals in the form of human icons, carrying out their whims and waging untold chaos. 

Having decimated the city of Jhosch, Aleynian icon Eiren flees to the wilderness of the Ambarian north. She finds solace in a distant sanctuary, trying to make peace with the knowledge that she embodies Theba, the goddess of destruction. 

Soon, though, there is more devastation on the horizon: an imposter has declared herself the Dread Goddess in Eiren's place and rallied the Ambarian army to destroy Aleyn. Traveling to cut them off and save her family's kingdom, Eiren works to uncover the secrets of her past and keep Theba in check--all while consumed by memories of Gannet, the Ambarian icon she left behind. 

Eiren's journey takes her back to the haunted ruins of Re'Kether, an ancient city at the heart of a kingdom their warring peoples once shared. Now she must reconcile who she knows she is--a gentle-souled storyteller--with the monstrous Dread Goddess who dwells within.

My Review:  
This is the continuation of Eiren's story to find peace for herself and her people. She learns so much in this second half. So much about Gannet, the man, the icon. And about herself and the selves inside herself now that she is an icon. She comes to understand her magic and how to use it to help her people. She learns that both sides are her people now. She comes to understand many things in her fight to come to terms with the powers inside her and what having these powers will demand of her in the times ahead. 

This is a duology, but there is a certain feeling I got when I was done with this second book that it's not over. There is plenty of material to work with and go on. The sign of a really good book, it leaves you wanting more.

I strongly recommend these two books to anyone who likes a good story. This is a great story. Mystery, magic, romance, conflict, betrayal. It's all in there.