Anastacya Mikhailov is the crown princess of the Cyrilian Empire and is one of the Affinities; gifted with abilities to control the world around them which are deemed unnatural and dangerous in their society. Ana’s affinity is one of the deadliest and most abhorred the ability to control blood.
Ana is one of those female protagonists that acts without thinking and lets her emotions get the better of her, which really annoys me. If she would have just stopped and thought about the consequences of her actions there wouldn’t have been as many obstacles for her to manoeuvre around in order to find who she was looking for. She has definitely had a lot of trials in her life but she has also a bit unrelatable because up until a year ago she was a princess. I did appreciate how she became aware of everything that is going wrong in the empire and how affinities are being treated and forced into slavery.
I really enjoyed Ramson’s character. I liked that we actually got a lot of his background and how he came to be in Cyrilia. There is a reason behind why he has made some of the choices in his life and we see the repercussions of his decisions continue to affect him now. It was obvious to me that he would end up with feelings for Ana but it was gradual and made sense in the context of the story.
I was invested in these characters right away and wanted to find out what was going to happen next. The pace was just a little up and down and pulled me out of the story a little bit. I appreciated the world building that was included as well, how descriptive the prose was really immersed me into the story line.
I found the plot to be predictable yet still entertaining. I think the spin on the original tale was quite refreshing in this fantastical setting. It was a solid start to a new series and I am left wanting to know more which is always a good sign. I feel there is definitely room for this tale to expand and become even more compelling!
I’ve just recently completed An Ember in the Ashes and I liked it better this time round. This is only the second time I have read this book since I first bought it two years ago and having read hundreds of other fantasy novels in the meantime made me appreciate this story even more! Right from the start I was highly invested in our two main protagonists and with the stakes gradually rising as the story continues there was never a point where I wanted to put the book down. This time around I was surprised by how much the deaths of all the masks affected me during the third trial. Seeing Elias’s anguish and torment with killing all of his friends and how willing some of them were to die really hit me in the feels. I love the Romanesque feel of the world and the war focused society and can’t wait to become more re-established as I continue on with the series. We get a little taste of the magic system and the lore surrounding the ghuls, ifits and djinn enough to keep me engaged but I’m definitely left wanting more. Overall I think this was a perfect introduction to a new series, we have high stakes, twists and turns and characters you can’t help but love.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin follows two perspectives Malik and Karina. Karina is hell bent on bringing her mother back from the death after she was assassinated and Malik is trying to kill Karina in order to save his younger sister from an evil spirit who has kidnapped her.
I was really invested in Malik’s storyline right from the start; from his backstory with his sisters and how they came to be in Ziran, to his magical abilities and his journey over the course of the storyline. I loved seeing how he has had to overcome his insecurities and anxiety and step up and do the right thing in order to save Nadia.
Karina was a little unlikeable at the start to be honest. I can understand the situation she is in and the pressure that has been placed on her since the death of her sister, but she came across as whiny and selfish to me. She does evolve and see the error of her ways and kind of comes to terms with the fact that her family are never going to come back but still she just wasn’t a favourite character of mine. It didn’t impede my enjoyment of the story at all, just something I wanted to note.
The world building was great even though we are only in this one city for the majority of the book I can see the potential for growth in the rest of the series. The history of the royal family and the kingdom was very interesting and I definitely want to learn more about Karina’s family and faceless king in the coming books as well. The magic system we didn’t really learn that much about. I am looking forward to Karina and Malik figuring out how to control their powers and trace back to their origins.
I liked the concept of the book I think it is highly original and engaging. The use of the competition kept me highly invested in the plot and eager to find out what was going to happen next.
⭐️3/5 stars Great introduction to the series, I’m looking forward to continuing!!
Its 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sophia’s character was likeable. She wasn’t like a new all-time favourite or anything but I appreciated her for what she was. She’s very spirited and grounded in her beliefs and won’t be compromised by what the societal expectations are of her, even though it is very dangerous. I think she was still just a little naïve in her approach, not listening to reason and just flying off the cuff with no plan at the start. I think over the course of the story we see her evolve and become a lot more patient and willing to see other perspectives than her own.
I would have liked to see Sophia and Erin’s relationship a little more before the opening scene if that makes sense. We are just kind of thrust into the story and we see Sophia bearing her soul to this girl get rejected and then the next girl that comes along Sophia falls for her. Sure we see her battling with her emotions and she has to go and say goodbye to Erin closing off that relationship but I just thought her rushing into the next romance was unnecessary. I don’t think she needed to be in love with Constance at all, it didn’t really add anything to the plot and I think I would have liked it a lot more if she was just friends with Constance and didn’t just write off Erin.
I thought the concept of the story and the retelling aspect to be compelling; I just thought the execution was a little underdeveloped. I would have appreciated going a lot more in depth with all of the characters and their backgrounds. I felt it was a little lacking in the atmosphere of the story, it was quite bleak and one dimensional for me. I never really made a connection to anyone I just kind of along for the ride.
Overall I just think the novel as a whole read a little younger. The characters are all pretty juvenile and one dimensional. The twists that were thrown in were entertaining but still predictable. There was nothing in there that really took me by surprise and shocked me in any way. I appreciated the diversity in the characters and the topics that were discussed but I wasn’t wowed in any way by this story.
The Missing of Clairedelune continues pretty much straight after the events of A Winter’s Promise. Ophelia has now been thrust into the spotlight by Farouk and promoted to vice-storyteller where she has to perform stories for Farouk and the entire court every evening.
Ophelia really goes through an emotional and psychological journey throughout the course of the story line. We see her overcome so many obstacles and try and manoeuvre her way through this completely foreign and at times dangerous court. I loved the fact that she finally stands up for herself, from telling Thorn how she truly feels and stepping out of her mother’s shadow and becoming her own person.
I liked that we see some repercussions from the first story filter into this book. In particular the murder of the Dragons and the food shortage that is a result of that. We see just how important Thorn’s job is and the scope of what he has to deal with on a daily basis.
I still wish we could learn more about Thorn. Even though he is one of the main protagonists we still don’t really know him. He is pretty much always there in the background but there is still this air of mystery surrounding him and we don’t truly know where his loyalties lie. He does open up more and eventually explains to Ophelia what his plans are but again we just don’t get enough of them together for me to truly believe in his love.
The direction the plot went in was a complete surprise to me. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t all that interested in Farouk and his origin. It does add a layer of intrigue and mystery but I was much more interested in Ophelia and the investigation surrounding the missing.
The structure of the story was a little strange to be honest. Although I was completely invested in what was happening it felt disjointed and a touch nonsensical at times. I found I really had to focus on what was going on at all times otherwise I would end up completely confused.
A solid continuation of the storyline, I still have so many unanswered questions. I am highly anticipating the release of The Memory of Babel next month.
⭐️4/5 I’m still intrigued, engaged and want to know so much more!!