Getting Better with Time
Well, you really improved from the prequel. I hope you can go back and rewrite the prequel since it has so much potential. The craft was just not quite there to capture the idea. But this time the craft and idea were very closely matched so they balanced and made the story great. I was riveted front to back with no moments of boredom, just resisting reading the last chapter to find out what happens.
Read the story now
I know lot's of people have already raved about your character development (5 stars) so I will just say one thing: Andra and Kael both made so much sense at the beginning, middle and end. I was really pleased, no not please, ecstatic over them; I was almost screaming for them like my mom for the Blue Jays. (That's two things, I lied)
So moving on, I want to comment on your plot. It was fantastic! There lots of twists and turns, trouble where we didn't see it coming and no trouble when we were anticipating it, especially where Kael rescued Andra from Caedo and they had little trouble getting away thanks to their wonderful soldier.
I loved the ending because it wasn't a big dramatic battle. There was no need for the fantastic battle as there was enough intensity and I like how the law brought Caedo down in the end instead, It wasn't even great magic like the ending of the Eragon series (which I thought was fantastic too), it was simply the law finally being executed. It makes a good balance with the first book and Eliana and Caelum kicking ass in a great battle.
In light of this being a series I really like you show that Paerolia has its golden ages and dark ages in cycles. The prologue was a little much, especially for someone who already read the first book, but for a new reader it might be necessary. The two books can be read separately so they're not a series where you HAVE to buy/read all of the books to know what's happening which is another 5 stars for you.
I really can't wait for the next book in the series! Please write, write, write and get even better! And congrats on winning the Hidden Gems contest!