Best in the series so far, 3.5 stars
Carrie Jones' ENTICE picks right up where CAPTIVATE left off: Zara has just been pixie-kissed and turned into Astley's queen, the town remains ravaged by pixies who are killing teens, and Nick may or may not be alive and accessible in Valhalla. Having given up her humanity in order to save him, Zara must wrestle with how to keep her friends and her town safe while going after Nick. When others begin to get hurt in the process, Zara must also decide if her quest is worth it, especially since Nick may not even want her now that she's a pixie.
While there were flaws in this book, I found ENTICE to be the best in the series so far. Compared to the previous two novels, there's a noticeable reduction in the amount of silly dialogue between Zara and her friends; the writing, and therefore the characters, felt more mature because of it. The expansion of the Norse mythology, combined with the pixie lore, was also unique. The biggest strength of the book, however, was the development of Astley as a character: he is the most interesting and complex character in the series, and he receives a lot of attention in this installment. The layered examination of how some (namely Astley) deal with hurt, pain, and loss was handled well, and there were moments of brilliant and sadly descriptive writing. Again, like in the previous books, this installment also examined significant issues like what it means to be human and the importance of choice.
Even with these improvements, certain aspects remained frustrating. The dialogue and actions of some characters were still often silly or immature, and some repeated descriptive phrases became conspicuous. The most troubling part was the character inconsistency in Zara, in which she kept vacillating between being strong and selfless to being weak and selfish. At the end of the second book, Zara realized that her actions had hurt others, but that awareness doesn't seem to have stuck, as she continues to jeopardize others for her own desires. Even though Zara obviously loves Nick, the series is also moving towards an obvious love triangle that appears as though it will have striking similarities to that in Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY series. Secondary characters like Devyn, Issie, and Cassidy were present but of limited importance.
Though I thought this series was a planned trilogy, it's obvious now that Jones plans to expand the story across additional books. Even though I'm not completely smitten, I know I'll be looking forward to see where Zara, Nick, and Astley's stories lead next. In the books to come, I hope that Jones continues to hone her writing and dialogue and that we'll see more consistency in Zara's character.