Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce wreaks her revenge on the kingdom that made her an outcast. Once a realm of decadence and beauty, Briar is now wholly Alyce’s wicked domain. And no one will escape the consequences of her wrath. Not even the one person who holds her heart. Princess Aurora saw through Alyce’s thorny façade, earning a love that promised the dawn of a new age. But it is a love that came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break. And the dream of the world they would have built together is nothing but ash. Alyce vows to do anything to wake the woman she loves, even if it means turning into the monster Briar believes her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?
Alyce kinda got on my nerves throughout this sequel. She just placed Aurora on this pedestal the last 100 years that she’s been asleep and when she was awoken just disregarded everyone else who had build up the Dark Court, especially Regan. Like it was pointed out to her numerous times that she had only known Aurora for a year and even though she may have been her true love can that really conquer all? Aurora was horrified when she woke up and then chose to isolate and disrespect everyone and lash out repeatedly and conspire against her.
I wasn’t very connected with Aurora in the first book and in this continuation of the storyline she didn’t do anything special for me. I can appreciate the fact that she would mourn for her previous life but the pretentiousness and entitlement is still there. She still doesn’t recognize how much Malyce was reviled and why she chose to raze Briar to the ground.
I just loved the setting of the Dark Court and seeing how it had changed so much and integrated all of these other creatures that were otherwise shunned and mistreated by the humans and the fae. I also liked the fact that even though Alyce was the most powerful of the Vila’s wasn’t appointed queen, there was a counsel of representatives that made unanimous decisions.
Like the first book however the pacing was just off. The first half of the book dragged and there wasn’t really any kind of build up of anticipation. Sure there were a couple of twists and turns that kept me engaged but all of the action scenes just felt really rushed and confusing to envision. The ending was quite satisfying in my opinion. I liked the fact that Malyce chose to leave and honor Regan and work harder to learn more about her kind.
⭐️3/5 stars some parts I loved, other parts I hated.
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Wallace from the start is not the most likeable character which is to be expected. I think it was very relatable the way he acts and lashes out on everyone at the tea shop when he first gets there. I appreciate the transformation he undertakes after he dies and the emotional toll it takes on him having to reflect upon his life. I think it was admirable that he chose to resolve some loose ends with his ex wife and chooses to help Nancy and Cameron as one of his last acts before he moves on.
Hugo was lovely though I didn’t feel as much of a connection to him. We learn so much about his history of how he came to be a ferryman and why he chose to give up his life to help those that have died to cross over. But I feel like we don’t feel like we see enough of him just being Hugo. Mei and Nelson on the other hand were delightful characters. They brought some much needed lightness and banter to the story and definitely lifted up everyone’s spirits.
It was frustrating at times when Wallace would ask questions after just getting there and would just keep getting non-answers from both Hugo and Mei. They would just keep saying the answers would come with time and would ask another question to distract Wallace and it was repetitive and boring at times. The never ending existential talks that kept going round and round really slowed down the pace and made the book drag at times. It this condensed into a short story of like 150 pages I think I would of loved this soo much more!
⭐️3/5 stars A bit predictable but heart-warming!
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins. Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death. The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world–one thought long depleted.
At first it was a little bit confusing trying to differentiate between all of the different characters, however as the plot continued and we got to learn more about each of them it did get easier. I love the fact that this was a multiple perspective book, I wasn’t expecting that and it definitely gave us a lot more context and history about Ilvernath and each family!
Alistair even though he has very villainous traits I kind of wanted him to be a bit more ruthless and less relatable. I understand his grief after losing his brother (that was a great twist) but I wanted that to kind of turn him murderous and up the stakes more. He is given kind of a redemption too soon and his relationship with Isobel humanised him more than what I thought he should.
Isobel wasn’t a favourite of mine. She resented the fact that she had to be a champion for over a year and isolated herself from her friends over something that was going to be publicised anyway. I thought she treated her mother terribly and let her father manipulate and coerce her into joining and then won’t jump at the chance to try and break the curse and believe Briony.
Briony I thought was a little delusional. The way she handled the whole situation with her sister was unnerving and I am dying to find out what Ines has to say to her. She was very much on board with the tournament right up until was wasn’t chosen and then it was all about saving her sister and brining everything down, the change just comes about a little to fast.
Overall the premise felt unique, the world building was quite contained just to Ilvernath but the history of the tournament gave the book a lot of depth and intrigue. I loved the fact that this book didn’t shy away from any gory details between the different family and the lengths they will go to control the high magick. There were some shocking and very juicy twists that just kept me wanting to read more!
⭐️4/5 stars I was here for the ruthlessness!
The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught. The prize: enough money to change everything. Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that. It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.
Mack was definitely an interesting character. She has been through so much in her life you really can’t help but sympathize with her and want her to make it through the competition. We aren’t really given much about her age or appearance I feel and even though we are see things through her perspective the most I didn’t feel as connected to her as what I possibly could have.
All of the other characters took a while for me to get situated with. I think the introduction to the majority of them was a little rushed and they weren’t very distinguishable until after most of them were already dead. I think the two Ava’s were at the forefront because Mack met them first and they have the same name which I thought was an interesting choice for the author to make. Braden was a sweetheart, from the few chapters we get from his perspective he genuinely felt like such a empathetic, joyful person. Legrand I was intrigued by from the start and I didn’t think he would be as integral to the storyline than what he actually was.
I liked the way all of the characters were linked at the end. I had always thought their selection of competitors was very random but after finding out why each of them was there it made sense and was an unpredictable twist. I would of liked to find out more about the history of these families and what spurned the first 14 of them to forge this covenant. We get a pretty brief history through the journals but I found myself wanting to know more and I definitely have some questions that were left unanswered.
The supernatural element of the monster I found to be lacking. I appreciated how affected the characters were when they saw this creature but I was feeling underwhelmed by the descriptions of it. It just didn’t sound very scary so I couldn’t really take it seriously. The whole book revolves around this monster and how it’s been devouring generations of these people and it just didn’t seem alarming or terrifying enough.
⭐️3/5 stars It was an ok read.. a lot of unexpected twists!
*BEWARE OF SPOILERS*
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
Louise I enjoyed as a character. Her perspective being the other woman in a marriage was interesting to read from especially since she’s quite relatable. Some of the decisions she makes like continuing her friendship with Adele were not the greatest but I can see why she would want to.
Adele I honestly thought was inconsequential at first. I figured this was just mainly focus on David’s infidelity’s and finding out that he was actually behind the fire that killed her parents. I definitely didn’t think she would progress into the sociopathic character she was portrayed to be in the end. I was very much intrigued and entertained by the way she played Louise and orchestrated everything, to say I was shocked would be an understatement.
David is a tricky one. I can understand the predicament he has found himself in being stuck in this marriage with Adele but if he would of just come clean from the start like he wanted to none of this would of happened. I think he is just as culpable as Adele and I feel like there should of been some ramifications for being an accessory. He is still a cheater at the end of the day and there was nothing really about the man that appealed to me. I don’t understand why Adele and Louise are both so enamored by him, we only ever see him drunk and crazed most of the time.
The overall pacing was very well done. Though not a lot happens for about 3/4 of this book I still felt compelled to continue reading and figure out what Adele was going to do next and what was this secret she was holding over David’s head. I liked the supernatural element, it gave the book a little excitement, especially after Louise figured it out.
⭐️4/5 stars That last twist at the end was mind blowing!!