Already a fan from the first book, I seriously couldn't wait for this book and Angelini did not disappoint.
We are brought straight back to the both shocking and saddening cliffhanger from the last book that Lucus and Helen are actually cousins. While we know, from Helen's mother Daphne's conversations previously that this is not true, Helen, Lucus and the rest of the Delos clan and everyone else do not and what we witness is heartbreaking in it's entirety as they try to stay away from each other when they clearly still love each other. Star crossed lovers they are - Romeo and Juliet all over again.
While this is constantly in both Helen and our minds every time they are in the same room, or near each other, an important task is now in play. Helen is the Scions only chance of freeing those such as Hector who have been Outcast. The only way thought to do so is to kill off the furies which enrage members of the same house and other opposing houses to attack their own flesh and blood such as Hector to pay a blood debt. Helen is the Descender and is tasked with descending into the Underworld to find a way to set the Outcast's free, but while she has been chosen to do so, she has been dealing with Hell, quite literally and it is taking it's toll on her.
While she constantly wanders the Underworld every night for weeks trying to figure out how to complete her task of saving the Outcasts, she is suffering from exhaustion due to the lack of sleep since every time she goes to sleep she descends. What doesn't help is that while both Lucas and Helen accept that they can't be together, Lucus has taken to cutting her off completely from him in a cruel and hurtful way that see's even the reader surprised. While we learn, he is acting cruel in an effort for her to not feel anything for him anymore and help her concentrate on her task, it does the opposite effect. Instead we feel how alone she has become. Even though she still trains with the Delos family they have been keeping their distance too in an attempt to help her focus but instead pushing her away. Sympathy is an understatement for what we feel for Helen at this point.
One night when Helen descends and meets someone down there; Orion, she can't help but feel attracted to him, especially since he is the son of Aphrodite and has the power to control desire and hearts as well as being the heir to the House of Rome and also an Outcast. What develops is a friendship which while in the Underworld gives Helen a strength and purpose to her life that she had lost, also conflicts her emotions and clouds her heart.
While the task is still Helen's, she now has a friend and someone to help with her task and it's clear that Orion and Helen grow close, but it is also clear that despite everything Lucus and Helen still care for each other. All three are caught in a triangle which leads to a head in an epic battle which see's all three fight for what they believe in but at the same time, opening up a whole new can of worms that can never be closed again. As Cassandra always says the Scions follow history and there are many ways that history does indeed replay before our eyes.
War is on the horizon...