Reports of cults taking over the countryside begin to filter into their starving city. But Brier is slowly losing her mind, and Palmer’s abilities are becoming increasingly erratic. The pair must work together to maintain harmony, or their out-of-balance powers could destroy the world.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Graven Idols, by Jessica Dall, takes the foundation created in the first book and threatens it with destruction. Just as Brier and Palmer were beginning to sort of understand their powers, something happened, and now they're more unpredictable than ever. That something was that Orris Adessi tried to kill Brier... well, succeeded if we're getting technical, but Palmer brought her back and everything is supposed to be better now. It's not.
The strange qualities of Brier's and Palmer's powers have them worried about Brier losing control. This unfortunate instability, while building on the plot, also works to reveal more about these main characters. Brier doesn't handle her instability very well and it shows. She's constantly afraid that one angry word at the wrong time will push her to powers to destroy what's left of the Auguarian. Readers get to see a new side to Brier, one that isn't always tough. Her fear of what could happen is understandable and makes the embodiment of "Chaos" a little more relatable. Her growing feels for Palmer and her caring nature of Rosette, a small child who also has powers, help the audience connect with her more.
Palmer, who is the embodiment of "Kosmos," is also having problems with his omniscient power. Like a radio going in and out of tune, sometimes knowledge seeps into Palmer and sometimes he struggles to hear anything. Palmer remains the protector in this book, constantly worried about Brier, Rosette, and the worsening of their predicaments. Though readers also get to see a new side of Palmer depicting him as a young man who can look past differences to help and understand fellow characters.
The plot is a kind of echo of the first book, with a few more caveats. While trying to survive in a destroyed city and figure out why their powers are going out of control, Brier and Palmer face an old enemy through a new character. After an unfortunate loss of control, Brier is kidnapped and struggles within the world her mind creates as Palmer, Nico, and Rosette try to find her. The journey takes them to Venchia, a city in ruins, where a doomsday cult awaits the end of the world. All of the various pieces of the plot work both for and against the success of Brier and Palmer, as they try to stop their enemy's plan. Graven Idols is an entertaining fantasy adventure novel that entwines legend and myth, creating a new history for the concepts like Chaos and Kosmos, nothing and everything. I'd definitely recommend this book for readers who enjoy fantasy and young adult fiction.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups
Read the review of Book One: Raining Embers