*BEWARE, A FEW SPOILERS*
On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.
I was immediately engaged with the storyline upon starting this book. The trial aspect of the story was definitely a plot point I was the most interested in and I kind of wish it went a little more in depth and we got to see more of it instead of just being told the results. The whole concept of the trials and being able to pick the mates was interesting and I thought quite unique.
Lyana honestly I wish she would of spoke up a bit more and explained to Lysander how she felt and was just a bit more honest. She seems a little entitled to me as well and takes her life a little for granted before the trials and then pays for it. I kind of wish she would of tried a little more to cultivate a relationship with Lysander instead of just being antsy and wanting to fly out and explore all the time.
Rafe for the most part I enjoyed his character, I just felt like he was a tad too broody for me. I can understand his loyalty to his brother and agreeing to take place in the trials for the honor of the rest of the Ravens but he still pines for her throughout the entirety of the novel behind his brothers back. It’s I think the fact that he wasn’t honest with himself and tried to push her away by being nasty. Why couldn’t he just be honest from the start and tell his brother the truth and save a lot of feelings.
I thought the concept was interesting, I’m not all that knowledgeable on the origin of Tristan and Isolde so I can’t really comment on the adaption of the tale. The pacing of the story was a little up and down for me. I appreciated the different perspectives and the overarching storyline with Cassie’s deception, it was intriguing and held my attention.
⭐️3/5 good not great, will definitely continue on!
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!
⭐️4/5 stars Pretty much what I was expecting!!
This book is a retelling of the Arthurian legend. Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin sent in Guinevere his apprentice and daughter to be Arthur’s wife and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail.
I actually really enjoyed Guinevere’s character. She was quite young and naïve at times, which usually bugs me but it was written in a way that endeared me to her instead. She is very determined and committed to her duties but still comes across and acts like the 16 year old that she is. She displays emotions and understands Arthur’s position yet she still yearns for his attention thus drawing herself closer to Mordred who is giving her what she wants. I think since we aren’t given her true name and identity that she is definitely not who we assume her to be, I’m thinking she has something to do with the River Queen since she is so terrified of water.
Mordred was an interesting character. He is always around and I feel has a lot more focus in this book than even Arthur. He remains quite standoffish and mysterious for the majority of the book yet I was intrigued by him and what his intentions were with Guinevere. Why was he always around her, why didn’t he expose her magic and is his feelings for her true?
Arthur didn’t get a lot of time in this book. Even though he is one of the main protagonists we don’t really get enough of him for me to be quite so invested in his character over the others. I think he definitely should have spent more time with Guinevere and kind of neglected her. I get that he was actually the one who was protecting her in the end but we don’t get enough scenes with the both of them together. I was disappointed when he didn’t go straight after her when she was kidnapped and it felt like it was a too little too late when he did eventually choose her over the kingdom.
The twists were interesting but the first half of the book was a little slower paced and we didn’t really get any answers until the right around the end, and even then there is still so much we don’t know. Hopefully the next book expands more and we are given more context and details!
⭐️3/5 stars good not great, has potential!
This was cute!
This is a Cinderella retelling but with a bit of a twist. We follow the story of Elle who lives with her step-mother Catherine and her twin daughters Cat and Chloe. Elle works on a food truck and is a hard-core fan girl for a classic sci-fi show called Starfield that she grew up watching with her father, that is about to be readapted into a new blockbuster movie! Darien has just cast as the lead character in the new Starfield and has to judge a cosplay contest at the ExcelsiCon that Elle has decided to enter.
Darien I actually quite liked that he wasn’t just a typical young Hollywood actor. He also had a lot of issues in his life and obstacles that he had to deal with on his rise to fame. I liked that we delved at lot deeper into his past and how everything unfolded with Brian. Having his timeline run concurrently with Elle and seeing how the texts connected them was super cute and really had me invested in the plot.
For the majority of the book Elle just got on my nerves. Letting Catherine and Chloe walk all over her and just bowing down to them and not doing anything about it. Just accepting all of the horrible things they do to her and not trying to fight back at all. I honestly can’t stand female main protagonists that have no backbone. I realise she has had to live and cope with them for years and this is her way of dealing with all of the manipulation, but I needed her to be stronger and fully snap back at them and take charge. Sage was the one who stole the dress back from Chloe; Darien was the one who stood up to Chloe at the ball. Elle had maybe one scene where she opened up to Catherine, but she cried through most of it and it wasn’t really enough. There wasn’t really any conclusion to that part of her life, she kind of just ran away from them.
Other than that I really enjoyed the rest of the book. The pacing was quick and the overall premise I thought was a unique take on the classic Cinderella tale. Sure it was a little tropey at times but it was entertaining and fun and exactly what I needed in the middle of this read-a-thon!
⭐️3/5 Quick, fun, cute read, I was just left a little unfulfilled!
Pride is retelling of the classic tale Pride and Prejudice but with a modern twist. Zuri Benitez is a proud resident of her neighbourhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn. She has lived there her entire life and knows everyone on her block, but one day a new very wealthy family moves across the street and now it seems like change is inevitable.
Zuri kind of got on my nerves a little at the start of the book. She was a little too judgemental for my liking. She was just so passionate in her dislike for the Darcy’s that I almost found her to be a little juvenile and immature. She didn’t really come across as being seventeen in my eyes. However, as the plot progressed we did see her evolve as she grew closer to Darius and learnt more about his family and why we did see her let go of her preconceptions.
Darius at the start as well was a little too standoffish for my liking. He was almost too unlikeable for me to warm to him towards the end of the book when he did open up more and explain his situation. I get that the author wanted to stay true to the original concept but I feel the introductions happened too fast and they hated each other too quickly that it almost didn’t make sense to me.
Towards the end of the book I did come around and enjoyed the plot and how it progressed. I like that we see Zuri’s neighbourhood start to get gentrified and how she realises this throughout the course of the book and what her feelings are towards this. She really has to come around to the fact that change really is inevitable and there isn’t anything that you can do about it.
It was a very fast paced book; I did eventually enjoy all the characters and their arcs. Zuri’s younger sisters especially were very entertaining and brought a source of amusement and light-heartedness to the novel. If the start of the book was a little more lengthened and had time to really establish the characters and why they didn’t like each other I may have been able to really engage with the story a lot more.
⭐️3.5/5 Good book, just didn’t do enough for me personally.