Quick-take: Non-stop pining for Colvin with some interesting tidbits thrown in.
Colvin leaves at the end of book 1 with a promise to come back. Lia's life continues on in its rather unremarkable but satisfying sort of way in Muirwood Abbey. 1 year later, Colvin does return with important news. He apologizes for not visiting sooner, and Lia and him head out on another quest.
I am not sure what to make of this book. The underlying story is interesting. There is some meaningful plot movement (unlike other 2nd book trilogies). There is a bit of a fantasy element that I like, though it seems to conveniently disappear at inopportune story moments. I'm OK with it.
However, what I don't particularly enjoy is the brooding love story between Colvin and Lia. It is simply exhausting. Non-stop, consuming many chapters, Lia is completely infatuated with Colvin. It is all she thinks about. She analyzes and ponders every interaction with him. Please, just either drop it or resolve it and continue on with something more interesting to the story.
I am somewhat willing to let go of it. After all, Lia is just 15, and I suppose that is the normal thought process for girls that age with little else to do. Finally, a quest begins, and the crew head out. That is when the story finally gets interesting. If I was to slice this book into three parts and chop the middle third, this would be a nice fantasy novella.
The finale was satisfying and transitioned well for a book 3. I am giving this a 3/5, and I have already started on the final book.