Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late. When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.
Regan was an interesting character for sure! Wanting to fit in was at the forefront of her mind throughout her childhood, which is why is continues to put up with Laurel even though she knows she’s a questionable friend, just to fit in and not be ostracised. I would of appreciated her more if she would of stood up more for Heather but this was incredible realistic the way their friendships played out. She continues to grow and mature in the Hooflands and realises over time who she really should of chose.
I like that Seanan McGuire includes diverse characters with different sexualities and backgrounds. I can’t really comment on the accuracy of Regan as an intersex character but I am pretty sure she is the first intersex character I have come across in my reading history so I had to mention it!
I loved learning about this new world! Throughout Regan’s time there we learn so much about the dichotomy of the centaurs and how their civilisation works within this world. How the stallions are separated from the females and they essentially have to pay to sire a foal. This was really interesting to me and I almost wish we got to discover more about them. We are briefly given a run down of the different creatures that live in Hoofland besides the centaurs and how they view each other. Again I just want to know so much more about the world and how these legends started with the humans but again these books are so short I have become accustomed to the amount of world building we are going to be given.
The plot was pretty fast paced and I was engaged pretty much throughout the course of the storyline. I feel like this book goes into more detail about the world and establishes Regan’s character pretty quickly. I am excited to see where her story goes next and how she ends up at Eleanor’s and whether or not she acclimates back to the real world.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
This was great! For some reason because of all of the hype surrounding this book I thought I wasn’t going to like it. From what I heard about the blurb and what I thought this book was about it didn’t seem interesting to me, but once I actually sat down and started reading I was hooked! I can’t lie it was a slow start for me, it took me at least a hundred pages until I was fully immersed and understood what was going on.
Essun I wasn’t that invested in to be totally honest especially in comparison to the other two perspectives and I think it’s because her storyline involved a lot of travelling. Which is a good way to show the reader the world and gives us a sense of how dire the season’s are and how much preparation these people go through. But still reading about her trying to catch up to her husband and daughter didn’t really do a lot for me. However, once she joined with the other oregenes in the underground geode and we started to find out more about who she is and who her companions are I was a little shook!
Damaya I loved from the moment she was first introduced. I couldn’t help but sympathise with her and what she has had to go through because she is a ‘rogga’. Ostracised from her family and sold off like livestock, at such a young age would be so traumatising. Her strength and resilience she shows throughout the course of her storyline was noteworthy and I really enjoyed her perspective.
Syenite was by and far my favourite out of the three, from her relationship with Alabaster and the whole sequence of events that lead them to Meov. I had an overwhelming sense of foreboding throughout their stay there and to see her so happy with Innon and Corundum and how they managed to make a family only to have it ripped away killed me!
This was a wonderful introduction to this trilogy and I can see now why so many people love this book. The writing was descriptive and the world building was immaculate. All of the characters were distinctive and diverse and the way the storylines merged was masterful. I am kicking myself for putting off reading this book for so long and I am happy to have finally completed it. I have a feeling I am going to be continuing on very soon!
Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.
It has been a while since I read the Seven Realms and it took me a minute to become settled in Cinda Williams Chima’s writing style but once I was I was thriving! She set up so many storylines and questions that I need answering so it seems like I’m going to be bingeing this series.
I really liked Ash. He wasn’t perfect by any means and was a tad stubborn and unwilling to listen to advice from anyone but he is still so endearing. Watching you father being killed right in front of you (which I was a bit salty about tbh) would of damaged any child and I think wanting to enact revenge is a perfectly plausible plan and I would of probably wanted to do the same had I been in his position.
Lila I was unsure about for the majority of her storyline before we found out who she actually is. I didn’t understand her motives and why she was so hellbent on helping Ash yet also seemingly supplying the Kind of Arden with supplies that could help him win the war. She was cloaked in mystery throughout the book and her closeness to Destin was also a factor that made me not trust her.
Jenna I am the most curious about out of all the characters. Not knowing who her parents are and having this Empress searching for her is all very compelling! Who is she really, what powers does she actually have and how can she talk to dragons? That element really shocked me as I didn’t know that dragons were a part of this world but it was definitely a welcome addition to the plot.
I have to say it did get a little slow paced and kind of stagnant in the middle section of the book where we follow Ash as he infiltrates the castle at Arden. But there was so many different strands and arcs going on that kept me turning the pages for sure! I am very much engaged and I think this was the perfect set up for the series.
⭐️4/5 stars I think I’m going to love this series!!!
Queen Rielle, pushed away from everything she loves, turns to Corien and his promises of glory. Meanwhile, whispers from the empirium slowly drive her mad, urging her to open the Gate. In the future, Eliana arrives in the Empire’s capital as a broken shell of herself. Betrayed and abandoned, she fights to keep her power at bay—and away from Corien, who will stop at nothing to travel back in time to Rielle, even if that means destroying her daughter. But when the mysterious Prophet reveals themselves at last, everything changes, giving Rielle and Eliana a second chance for salvation—or the destruction their world has been dreading.
I am once again torn by Rielle’s character and her arc throughout the course of this series. I hated her in the last book and honestly didn’t think she deserved any kind of redemption but the way her storyline played out in this finale surprised me but also left me feeling satisfied. She made a decision at a crucial point in time and finally was able to free herself from Corien’s grasp and see clearly for the first time in a while. She definitely succumbed to the temptation of her powers and did evil things but looking back she definitely was coerced for the majority of the time and she paid the price for it eventually giving up a future with her daughter.
Eliana again I enjoyed her plotline so much more than her mothers. She is definitely put through the ringer in this book, having to endure that torture from Corien for months and months. She has so much put on her shoulders and in the end has to blindly follow the words from a mysterious prophet to stop herself from going mad. Her strength and stoicism is really displayed and her loyalty and trust wavered so much that I was just gripped.
Simon really put me through it. From his betrayal in the last book and then being witness to the brutality that is being given to Eliana day in and day out and not reaching out to help her whatsoever really killed me. For a good majority of the book I was doubting him heavily and really thought he was completely on Corien’s side. It was the introduction of the prophet that made me pause and think maybe… and thankfully I was right! His character and the way he had to fool everyone in order to eventually save Eliana was a stroke of mastery. I really didn’t want to hate him and I was glad he got to have a bit of happiness before sending Eliana back.
There were a few twists that I predicted and there were many that took me by surprise. This book really blew open all of the storylines and wove them all back together so wonderfully. We learnt so much more about the Empirium and how it affects Rielle and why she was such a loose cannon, how seductive and all encompassing it is. I loved how the two timelines merged in the end and we see how much effect Eliana had on her mother after their failed attempt earlier in the series. The ending was just so satisfying and not the fairy tale I was expecting which was pleasantly surprising!
Usually I don’t really attention to the Goodreads Choice Awards but I have seen the criticism in the past about how it’s more of a popularity contest rather than going off actual ratings. Which is apparent this year as one of the nominees for the Fantasy category is Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson and it hasn’t even been released yet. I wanted to make an informed decision when I vote so I have decided to try and read all of the nominees from the YA Fantasy category and see which I think should be the winner!! There are a couple that I have already read and a few on my physical TBR and I will have to try and source the rest and try to get to them in the coming weeks.