*THERE ARE A FEW SPOILERS*
Absolutely loved this!
Vow of Thieves continues on about a month after the ending of Dance of Thieves. Kazi and Jase are on their way back to Tor’s Watch to let everyone know that the Ballenger’s will no longer be outlaws, they will be recognized as the First Kingdom in the Empire. However, a warning they receive on the journey forces them to rush back and they are ambushed on the road before they enter town.
I really love the direction the plot went. I assumed all of the conflict in the book was going to be between Kazi and the family trying to rebuild the trust that was broken at the end of Dance of Thieves, but I enjoyed this storyline so much more! Straight off the bat Jase and Kazi are thrust apart after being together constantly and are fighting tirelessly to be reunited all while trying to topple the King and reassert their power over Tor’s Watch.
All of the torture and imprisonment that Kazi had to deal with over the course of the book and still not break and relent was an amazing feat. She really proved how committed and in love she is with Jase after she assumed he was dead and to still stuck around and complied with the Kings’ demands in order to save the kids. She endured so much and come out of it still swinging which I love about her!
Jase also really proved his commitment to Kazi above all else. I really thought for a minute that he would focus on overthrowing the King and assuming his Patrei role but he was insistent upon getting better in order to go and find Kazi. The level of dedication he has for her over his family as the Patrei and the wrath he shows when he finds out they handed her over to the King was wonderful to read. You can really see the depth of his love for her and just the way that he expresses that to his family in his rage really encompasses everything that they’ve dealt with thus far. That was a really pivotal moment in the book for me, and the remorsefulness and guilt that they show after the fact proves to me that they are a real family and would do anything for their own.
This book was really a roller coaster from start to finish. Usually with political fantasy I get bored easily and loose interest but the amount of action and intrigue packed into this storyline really grabbed my attention and was highly engaging throughout the course of the book. There was some really touching and emotional moments spattered throughout the plot as well that tugged at my heartstrings and even brought a tear to my eye. I absolutely loved this book and this duology in my opinion really built on the foundation that the Remnant Chronicles forged and just surpassed it!
⭐️5/5 stars AMAZING 100% RECOMMEND
*A few Spoilers*
Ace of Shades follows the story of Enne Salta who has made her way to the city of New Reynes nicknamed the City of Sin to find her mother. She has been missing for the last month and has left Enne a letter with the name of a man of might be able to help her, Levi Glaisyer.
I really enjoyed Enne’s character and the growth she shows over the course of the storyline. She starts off very naive and unsure of herself, very prim and proper and eventually becomes Séance, the badass gang lord who has defeated the Shadow Game. She’s very self-aware and almost unapologetic in terms of who she is and how she conducts herself. She isn’t the cliché damsel in distress in need of rescuing, she takes on the city head on and will do just about anything to find out where her mum is.
I loved Levi! He is one of my new favorite male protagonists. He is a very complex character and I loved seeing all of the different sides of him come out during the plot. He has the persona of the Iron Lord and has to be the strong, resolute and almost cruel at all times, yet he has so many doubts and guilt and he is being pulled in all these different directions.
The romance was a little bit of a slow burn, it was obvious right from the start that they would get feelings for each other because they were thrown together so quickly. I thought they complimented each other quite well and I loved the banter between them.
I thought the magic system was quite unique and very interesting. Having the different families with different abilities and having split abilities depending on your heritage I found very clever. I like that in this world you’re limited by who your family is; it makes it simple to understand and also adds an element of mystery if someone doesn’t know who their mother or father is.
I liked that the book spanned the 10 days that Levi’s debt was due. This format enabled the plot to really go in depth on what the characters were doing at every moment of the day; all the mundane actives that would otherwise be overlooked had the story been longer. This really helped me form a connection to the characters and made me a lot more invested in the story.
All in all I really loved this book! From all the characters, to the setting, the world building and the plot. It all really came together so well and had me intrigued and invested right from the start.
⭐️4.5/5 stars I could not put it down!
Grey Sister takes place about 4 years after everything happened in Red Sister and Nona is now around 15 years of age and has just entered Grey Class. The Church Inquisitor descends upon the Convent of Sweet Mercy with alliances being formed and friendships strained.
It’s like Mark Lawrence has just pushed everything through to another level. I like that we started on familiar grounds at the Convent with Nona attending classes with some of her friends but also some new faces that prove to be not quite fond of her. But then there is also a huge change with Nona being forced out of the Convent by the Inquisitors and having to make her way out in the Empire all alone.
Nona is such an enigmatic character. She is super interesting and very unpredictable, which makes her so entertaining. I am very much invested in her as a character and I have loved to see her grow up over the course of the series so far, but still have so much to learn. I thought the addition of Keot was a fascinating touch. I liked how he sort of made Nona think hard about what is right and wrong and how far she would go in regards to killing people. He contrasted very well with her character and I enjoyed the banter between them.
I am intrigued by Zole still. She really played a minor role in this book but was still very much present throughout the course of the plot. She essentially lied for Nona during the trial with the Nuns about what happened with Joeli and she seemed to form a closer bond with Nona whilst still kind of maintaining her distance and neutrality. I immediately knew from those scenes that Zole would venture out after Nona when they forced her out.
The political machinations that are going on in the Empire, especially where Sherzal is concerned kind of bores me a little. I am not a huge fan of politically centered fantasy; though I appreciate how it furthers the plot I am much more interested in the magical, mysterious, adventurous side of the story. Though let me say Abbess Glass never fails to disappoint me in her political maneuverings!
The stakes were always very high, keeping me on the edge of my seat during my read. I loved every moment of this book and I am so ready to dive right into Holy Sister ASAP!
⭐️5/5 That cliffhanger OMG!!!
A unique twist on the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale!
Miryem is the daughter and grand-daughter of moneylenders. Her grandfather is very successful in this business but her father unfortunately isn’t so much. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. She quickly turns their troubles around and makes a reputation for herself. One day she boasts of being able to turn silver into gold and is overheard by a Staryk, one of the magical men who live in the forest and who rape and plunder for gold.
This was very immersive! I could see the foundations of the original story there but it was completely turned on its head which made me more invested. I didn’t quite know where the story was going to go next or how it would circle back to the original but boy did it!
Miryem was a little forgetful as a main female protagonist to be quite honest. I liked her initiative and her ability to trade up and earn more money for her family but there wasn’t much other than that that really swayed me to her. I much preferred Irina’s drive and her cunning as opposed to Miryem. Though I thought the two contrasted well with each other.
I like the way the story unfolded. It took me a minute to get situated into the plot, I was a little bored at first, but the action and the intrigue definitely picks up and kept me engaged. The whole storyline with Irina & Mirnatius was so very compelling. I loved the banter between the two and to see Irina evolve as a character from the forgotten daughter of a Duke to a Tsarina was wonderful to read. I really dismissed her as an insignificant character at the start of the book but she really bloomed and caught me off guard with her calculating ways.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but it took me by surprise. It was a bit of a slow start but I was ended up really enjoying the storyline and the setting. The Staryk’s and their magic was very unique and I liked the fact that there was the Chernobog to oppose their might. You didn’t quite know who to barrack for in the situation and it made it a lot more interesting because of it!
⭐️4/5 Slow build into a fantastical tale!
My new favourite fantasy series ever??
This was absolutely perfect in my opinion. Everything I love about fantasy all wound together to make this absolutely wonderful conclusion to a series that may have made its way to the top of my all time favourite list!
Raisa was everything that I needed her to be in this book. She followed her gut and her heart and never strayed from what she believed in until she thought all was lost and even then she still tried to figure out a way to prevent war in the Vale and save as many people as she could. She is more than willing to trade her life for the good of her people and she didn’t let me down in this book. I had a few misgivings about her throughout the series but she really took everything she has learnt and put it to play and ultimately went with her heart, which I absolutely loved!
What can I say about Han… ever since The Demon King he has steadfastly been my favourite character in this series and he has honestly gone above and beyond my expectations. He has proved time and time again that he will do anything for the people that he loves and is loyal to a fault. You never know what to expect from him and he is such an entertaining character. His arc over the course of the series as well was momentous; from a street lord at Ragmarket to the High Wizard of the Queen. I loved seeing him manipulate and also struggle in his attempt to overthrow the Bayers and how eventually his plan unfolded and came to fruition was everything that I hoped for. There was so many obstacles that Han and Raisa had to overcome and knowing that it didn’t come easy and without loss only made it more satisfying.
It delved so much deeper into the history of the Seven Realms and all my questions about what happened between Alger and Hannalea was unearthed and I was completely blindsided. I honestly didn’t predict anything that happened and I tried to go into to the book without thinking to much about what plot twists could happen next and I was rewarded with so many convoluted, intricate storylines that shocked and amazed me!
I truly loved this book and the Seven Realms series as a whole. Cinda Williams Chima is now one of my favourite fantasy authors and I will without a doubt be picking up the Stormcaster series as soon as I can get my hands on it!
⭐️5/5 stars Perfection!