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Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite
Jud (Ever the Night Road Book 2) by Michael Breen opens where Book 1 ends, with the main protagonist Dagny spending her time in the Under Road as she waits for the gateway to Jud to open. Her main task was to find and save her sister who ran away and went to Jud. The place is filled with mythological creatures and various characters from giant cats, faceless knights, an eye-stealing prince, and a queen whose heart was consumed as well as terrifying and amazing scenarios of fantasy and dread, all of which present challenges to Dagny's quest. When Dagny arrives in Jud, she almost always faces an obstacle which is either a dangerous hindrance or some much-needed assistance to help find her sister Grete. Can Dagny survive, save her sister, and fulfill a promise to herself, despite all the threats she is facing as an uninvited outsider in Jud?
Jud is a sequel worthy of its predecessor. Michael Breen continues with Dagny's highly anticipated adventure in a multilayered narrative with an illustrative and skillfully descriptive style that evokes captivating images as the reader is absorbed in the story. The illustrations perfectly complement and visually incarnate excellent and coherent worldbuilding. The development of the various places and characters naturally comes out in the dialogue and sequence of the story. The characters are out of this world and are well-written. The interweaving of the interactions and reactions of the unforgettable and amusing qualities of the players against a maddening setting calls for countless fascinating possibilities. It has a lot of twists, surprises, thrilling scenes, and even some small parts bordering on mature themes but is still acceptable for YA readers. Being a coming-of-age story, it also presents dilemmas that call for the characters' wisdom and development—something that strengthens the character arc. The story also has the underlying theme of connecting with family, friendship, and relationships and their changing dynamics. Fans of YA fantasy with drama and action will appreciate this series.