Winding Pass is a dangerous area where the fiangul live and hide. It is also close to where Kamzin, Lusha and her mother’s expdition members first got hit by an avalanche which had trapped Kamzin under snow. She had only survived when someone pulled her out but she was certain that something with claws had been holding onto her should whilst she’d been trapped under the snow.
In the present the group have only just come into Winding Pass and a storm is starting to brew. River, eager to reach Mount Rakhsha speeds ahead with Aimo, Gargye, and his companion, who is supposed to be a shaman but is quite weak. Kamzin and Tem get lost and isolated from the crowd until Kamzin recognises where she is as she has studied the maps with detail and she sess certain landmarks that help her identify where she is. They eventually catch up to the team but soon learn that River left to search for them after realising that Kamzin and Tem had been separated from them. They then encounter the fiangul, who managed to capture Norbu (River’s companion). Tem attempts a spell to get him bag but is weak due to his weakening health. River then manages to do a spell that retrieves Norbu and makes the fiangul run away. After escaping the storm and making shelter, Tem confides in Kamzin and tells her that what River did should’ve been impossible as he had no talismans with him to do the spell and Tem himself, sensed something odd about River’s magic.
Kamzin dismisses Tem’s concerns and checks on Norbu to find that his health is deteriorating and they need the help of a gealer as Tem is too weak to help much. They stop at Jangsu’s village, who is an old friend of her fathers but is the Elder of an isolated village that doesn’t enjoy company much. Jangsu welcomes them and Norbu is tended to by a healer. They are all invited to a celebration that night where the village dances but River passes.
Later, when Kamzin and Tem attend the village they find that River is dancing with a village girl and Kamzin feels jealous as she sees them. She dances with Tem (who stumbles and trods on her feet plenty of times) but soon after seems to improve. Kamzin looks up after said improvement and realises Tem and River had switched partners whilst dancing and she was now with River. They share another intimate moment and everyone returns to their rooms.
The next day, they set off as River was eager to continue after they spent a day at the village. At night, whilst camping Kamzin teases Tem about him and the village girl he danced with when he warns her about River. Tem then asks whether she would be jealous if he was to start dating another and Kamzin realises that she would be bothered as she would no longer be as close to Tem as she is now, however she would not feel jealous. Later at night, Kamzin feels shuffling around the camp and assumes it is a wild creature. She then goes out and finds River on the ledge of a cliff, drinking. She joins him and the bottle ends up falling. River then kisses her. Kamzin, although surprised, responds to him and I believe this is where she truly begins to fall for him. River and Kamzin then go to their tents and the next day River acts as though nothing happened. This annoys Kamzin and she reacts in a childish manner.
Soon after (fast-forwarding slightly) it is realised that Norbu has turned into a part of the fiangul and River has to let him go and get carried away by the fiangul when he injures Dargye and attempts to kill River. The team then continue onto the mountain, slightly more disturbed and serious than they had been when starting the expidition. During another evening camping, Kamzin hears more shuffling and goes out to find a creature has gone into River’s camp. She barges in to find a fire-demon, Azar-at, with River and the team then finds out that River made a bargain with him to increase his powers. Fire demons take/eat a part of your soul whenever you seek their help with magic. Everyone goes to slightly disturbed, although Kamzin is more disturbed with the idea that River is eventually going to to end up a monster who has little regard for others.
When they are close to the bottom of the mountain, they hear a loud crash and turb back to find that Aimo has fallen and died. Dargye attempts to go for her but is saved by Kamzin. When River and Kamzin talk a while later, River admits that he does not feel as strongly as others. He also confides that despite having lost Norbu, a close companion who had been with him for years, he did not feel much and hardly reflected upon it. This disturbs Kamzin. When River later tells Kamzin to go back with the others and return to Azmiri. She refuses and Kamzin leaves a distraught and worried Tem behind at base camp whilst her and River go to climb the mountain.
Now for my opinion… I know I have messed up the order of these part but I preferred having Winding Pass when they actually went through Winding Pass as opposed to when they started the journey. The ending of Winding Pass left me slightly hopeful for Kamzin and River’s relationship and rather reluctant to want to actually finish the book as that would mean a whole year of waiting before the sequel 😦
Although the book seems a bit slow to start, the second part made up for it with all the obstacles in the path. Once again, I think that Kamzin and River should’ve had a lot more moments to show a bond truly being formed between, although the parts where they bonded were truly unique and precious. Probably because they were so rare and few with the rest of team constantly with them. I give the second part a solid 5 stars as I had no complaints and read it a lot more quickly as I was always eager to see where the team landed and what was next. I can vividly imagine the map and route taken by the team as it was described in great detail. Until tomorrow, when I review the final part of Even the Darkest Stars 🙂