*Some Spoilers Below!*
Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.
I loved the inclusion of Evan’s storyline in this instalment in the series. It was nice to get some background about his character and see what brought him to Arden. He was only in the first book for such a short amount of time that I almost forgot who he was and didn’t think he would be as integral to the series as he was which was a nice surprise. To see him have such a similar upbringing as the other magemarked and how his story differed from the others was very interesting and highly engaging. It was also so nice to get more of an insight into Destin before he became the Assassin of Arden and the relationship he built with Evan and how it was snatched away.
Lila is again a bit of a mystery. She pops up just about everywhere in the plot and is one of the only characters to have interactions with all of the other main characters. She seems to be deep into her spy persona and even though I think her main loyalties lie with the Gray Wolf Throne I can’t help but think the Southern Islands are going to come into play and we are going to find out more about her other family.
The world is once again expanding and we are seeing some of the other continents in this world. I liked seeing how different Carthis is to the Seven Realms and how they refer to them as wetlanders and how they connected them through the pirates. Again I am loving this side plot with the Empress and her city on the Northern Islands. We are definitely given more answers as to why she is chasing the magemarked but I am not 100% sold on what she told Lyss. I have a feeling there is still more to the story and we are going to have a massive twist in the next book.
I am loving that we are finally getting some interaction between all the characters. Having Ash back in the mix campaigning to find his sister at Fellsmarch, Lyss and Jenna on Celestegarde figuring out the Empress’s plans and then Destin and Hal back in Arden. Everyone is starting to interconnect and the action is starting to heat up. Plans are in motion and I have a feeling like this last book is going to be explosive!
⭐️5/5 stars I’m loving everything about this series so far!
*A FEW SPOILERS*
Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.
I think the first thing that I was intrigued about with this book was the world and how apocalyptic it is. How they have had to build these cities in the sky to contain what is left of the human race and how they are trying to reduce their environmental footprint by living their lives in these stasis pods for a good majority of their days.
But we are kind of thrust into the storyline which did overwhelm me a little and was a tad confusing. We aren’t really given a lot of explanation at the start as to what was happening it’s just Kasey reliving moments of her life and trying to figure out what happened with Celia. I have to admit the parallel storylines between Kasey finding out the truth and Cee on the island had me intrigued and wondering how these events played out for sure.
Cee and her experiences on the island seemed very repetitive to me and I was more interested in what was happening with Kasey. However, once Hero came along and we see the duality of his character and how he interacted with Cee I was more invested yet still confused as to how they came to be in this situation.
This book was not what I was expecting at all. A lot of the scientific explanations really went over my head, and even though it was crucial to the storyline and the reasonings behind Kasey and Art’s actions I was still lost for the majority of the time. I understood what was happening but the prose wasn’t what I was expecting for a YA book. You really had to pay attention and focus on what you were reading to be able to fully comprehend the story.
But I have to admit it was highly original and unlike anything I have read before. The way the plot evolved and we finally learn about Kasey’s secrets and why she was banned from science and the revenge she planned to take on behalf of her sister and everyone else who has died was highly gratifying.
⭐️3/5 stars a slow build, buckle up!
*SOME SPOILERS BEWARE*
Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.
I really found myself attached to Iris’s character and highly intrigued by her sisters. Immediately I was ensnared by the introduction of this book and the way Iris explained how her and her sisters were weird and strange. I liked the fact that they were all so discernible from each other and had different personalities even though they were so close.
The mystery aspect surrounding Grey’s disappearance and how Iris and Vivi have to try and piece together the clues she left behind whilst also trying to escape from the man who is chasing them was highly entertaining. It kept me engaged and wanting to read on and find out what was going to happen next. It was definitely a roller coaster ride of a plot and I was surprised at every turn.
From what we learn about Grey I didn’t really like her all that much. I appreciated the lengths she would go to to help and protect her sister’s but she kind of went too far at times. Her secretive nature and how much she supposedly didn’t tell her sisters even though they promised not to investigate what happened to them all those years ago, really didn’t give me a reason to trust her at all. Which I guess my instincts were kind of right in the end.
I really felt like Tyler’s character wasn’t all that necessary, if he wasn’t in the story at all I probably would of enjoyed the book all the same. I think his involvement in the mystery came out of nowhere and I didn’t think he was that important as a character when we are first introduced to him. I still have unanswered questions as to why he wasn’t affected by their gifts and why he is drawn so much to Grey but then didn’t come when she called to his soul.
Overall I highly enjoyed this book. I felt like the premise was highly original and entertaining and the twist at the end about what happened when they disappeared was shocking and unexpected to say the least. The prose was highly descriptive and I was able just to get lost in the story and enjoy the ride!
⭐️4/5 stars creepy, bizarre & gripping
*Some spoilers below*
The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
It took me a solid 100 pages or so to understand what was even happening in this book. The writing just didn’t really gel with me and I had a hard time comprehending the prose. The story was definitely compelling and shocking but I didn’t feel as invested in these characters as what I probably could have been.
The book just launches into Ricky’s point of view and I was lost. I didn’t know whether or not what was happening to him was real and I was almost indifferent to his death. Lewis I felt more of a connection to and was actually invested in his character and the subsequent demise of his state of mind. The guilt he carried around all these years and the paranoia surrounding that day and how the elk was coming for him felt real and raw. I was shocked to see how far he would go to try to rid himself from the elk woman and how apathetic he was afterwards, reasoning with himself that he did what was necessary.
Again I didn’t really feel a connection to Cass or Gabe, I didn’t get enough time with either or them to forge that connection either. Which I guess kind of makes sense in terms of the plot. Ricky got a majority of the time because he was the one who killed the mother and the baby elk and was tortured the most, Cass and Gabe are just getting the repercussions because they were there that day as well. Leaning about the sweat was definitely interesting and I liked that they added Nate’s character into the mix as a way to explain what was happening and how the would resort back to these ancient methods on the Res.
Overall this was not what I was expecting at all! I almost forgot going into it that it was a horror and surprised by the graphic scenes, but it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting to know what is going to happen next. I almost wish it was longer, but then I feel like overcomplicating this premise would of made it less intriguing. So it is what it is.
⭐️3/5 stars brutal, haunting and visceral
Alyssa ana’Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.
One thing I love about Cinda Williams Chima’s books is that there isn’t one main focus or character. We are introduced to a plethora of new characters in this instalment of the series and we get to see what is happening in the Fells while Adrian is worming his way into the Arden court. I love that we see repercussions of what’s happening in Arden in real time and how Lyss is dealing with everything.
I can sympathise with Lyss and the position she finds herself in having to step up and be the reluctant heir to the Gray Wolf Throne. Even though she is secure and confident on the battlefield and giving orders she is still insecure about the role of being a princess and dealing with the political side. We see her go through a lot of emotional turmoil throughout the course of the plot and we really get a good sense of what kind of character she is. I am highly engaged and invested with her, almost more so than Ash and I am excited to see where how everything is going to come together.
Hal I could tell straight away when he is introduced that he is going to fall for Lyss, especially after she saves him from the mages. I can see how he is useful to the plot and his connection to the King through his father, but I can’t help but think he is only in the story as a love interest. He doesn’t really add anything else in particular to the storyline. I am hoping that we more of a sense of who he is in the coming books and he makes more of an impact, because right now he isn’t really doing anything for me.
I am loving this side plot with the Empress and the mage marks. The introduction of Breon and his Shadowcasting abilities was very intriguing and I was also very much invested in his character as well. Who is he really, what does his mage mark mean and what is the connection back to the Empress? Why is she chasing them and how is she able to locate them so quickly. I am left wanting to know more and this makes me want to pick up the next book in the series immediately!
⭐️ 4/5 star The plot is expanding and I have so many questions that need answering!!