Review: Icon and Inferno (Stars and Smoke #2) by Marie Lu

Icon and Inferno (Stars and Smoke, #2)Icon and Inferno by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Icon and Inferno is the 2nd-book in Marie Lu’s fast-paced Spy Thriller series, Stars and Smoke. This romantic YA series features a Pop Star and a Secret Agent.

I had a lot of fun with the 1st-book, Stars and Smoke, so I was excited to continue on with these characters and this world. Unsurprisingly, Lu’s exceptional writing drew me in from the start and kept me hooked throughout.

In this installment, we are reunited with our MCs, Winter, an international pop superstar, and Sydney, an operative for a mysterious organization known as the Panacea Group.

Winter and Sydney were paired together on a mission in London in the 1st-book, but have now, at the start of this, gone a year without any contact between them.

They’re about to be thrust together again though, when Panacea calls upon Winter to assist them with a mission in Singapore, where he is set to perform a show.

The mission involves a lavish party, an assassination plot, and is the very highest of stakes. Panacea needs their best ops on the job.

The chemistry between our mains is still simmering directly under the surface, but we have their exs in tow as well, so that sets up some interesting tension.

Lu excels at character development. I love how well developed these characters are, particularly Winter and Sydney. It’s impossible not to fall in love with them and yearn for them to be together.

I appreciate the slow burn feel of the development of their relationship. Even the pining isn’t overdone. It feels natural and leaves the Reader wanting more.

The action is also gripping and believable. I love the idea of the Panacea Group, the mystery of it all; the operatives and missions. The possibilities for this series are truly endless.

My only small gripe about this is that I wanted more. I feel like the mission went almost too quickly. I could have definitely spent more time in Singapore.

That’s obviously a personal preference, but I definitely could have done with it being built-out even more.

Overall though, I had a lot of fun reading this. The audiobook narration is fantastic, bringing the story to life.

Winter and Sydney compliment each other. Their personalities play off one another so well. He’s always in the spotlight, she’s always in the shadows. They’re like two sides of the same coin and I only want the best for them.

The way this story left off at the end was great. I love that Lu left a bit of mystery. There’s obviously more that could be explored, or we could leave it here. Personally, I am hoping for more, but we’ll see…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Roaring Brook Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. This series is highly underrated!!

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