Sacrifice is the follow up to Serpentine, and it’s a nice continuation of the story. It’s an enjoyable story, and the setting is unique and well developed.
I'm annoyed that the focus of the story shifted from the friendship between Zhen Ni and Skybright to a love triangle between Skybright, Stone, and Kai Sen. One of the things I really liked about the first novel was the depiction of female friendship, so to see that shifted in favor of romance was irritating. I don’t generally mind love triangles in YA, I find that they’re good short-hand for the conflict going on inside the protagonist, however they are a bit cliche at this point.
There is also some really icky consent issues in the latter half of the novel. It’s a side part of the story, and there’s a weak attempt to justify it at the end, but I don’t think the justification negates the consent issue. Charm magic is used against one of the characters to make said character more fond of another character. It is later described as a real, loving relationship even though the character acknowledges that it started with a charm spell. It’s gross. However, as I said this story line isn’t really touched on with any depth. It’s a side story and the love in question isn’t romantic love, so Pon ignores the issues of consent that the story raises. Honestly, it was quite a sour note in the story and I wish that it had been better dealt with.