I would recommend reading The Gifted prior to reading this book. However, I've tried to keep this review spoiler-free for newcomers! You can also check out my interview with Mr. Dickerson that was posted yesterday, if you're interested in learning more about why, how, and what he writes.
Although I received a free copy of this book, it did not impact my review. Now that we've got all the fine print out of the way, let's get to the fun part!
By: Matthew Dickerson
What: The company must seek a new way to defeat the Daegmons, whose powers seem to grow more every day.
Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, Christian, Tolkien/high fantasy, and have read book 1.
The Betrayed had many of the same strengths as The Gifted--beautiful, sweeping prose; a complex, inviting storyworld; gripping fantasy action; and a plot that defied prediction. As a fan of high fantasy, it was a perfect pick for some gray fall days.
However, I did find some aspects of the story to be distracting. About halfway through the book, I started losing track of who the minor characters were and why they were important. This distracted from some of the main characters that I've grown to love, such as Elynna.
As is common in stories with large "casts", the group split early in the story. While I absolutely loved one side of the storyline, I was somewhat confused by the other. I look forward to reading the next book and seeing the stronger plot re-emerge; I think the ending of this book set up a nice opportunity for a wonderful finale.
I also enjoyed the further development of the "Christian message" in this book. The elements were well-played, providing a subtle message without shoving it down the reader's throat or compromising the story.
The Bottom Line: The Betrayed is more than worth reading if you enjoyed The Gifted. Overall, I'd recommend the series to teens and up who are already fans of high fantasy.