Catherine Egan has achieved the difficult task of writing a sequel that is not only as compelling as its predecessor, but even more so. Having won this novel from Goodreads, I borrowed the first book, “Julia Vanishes”, from the library. This series is a departure from my usual genres, and I’m glad that I’ve given it a chance; I’m eagerly anticipating the third book now.

“Julia Defiant” was a more mature novel, with more depth and complexity—just as a sequel should be. An action-filled, complex plot kept the story moving swiftly along, but what really stood out was the characters. While they were introduced and given roles in book one, in “Julia Defiant” they were really fleshed out and allowed to shine. Unlike most works of fiction, the characters don’t fall easily into categories of good and bad, and this moral ambiguity keeps the reader guessing. The world building adds another layer of intricacy as things shift between the “normal” world and the place to which Julia can vanish, and Julia’s enhanced abilities take the story to a whole new level. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys well-written, intriguing fantasy with plenty of twists and turns.