I am pleasantly surprised.
In this sequel we actually follow the perspective of Donatella. Caraval has just ended and Scarlett is still figuring out everything she thought she knew was a lie. Tella has to worry about trying to keep her sister from finding out the real truth why they are at Caraval. An unknown ‘friend’ she has been corresponding with actually set up the whole thing and now wants payment for her actions. Legend has announced a new Caraval mere days after the last in honour of the Empress’s birthday and Tella has to win it in order to get what she needs.
I didn’t like Tella in the last book. I think because I didn’t have enough time to form a bond with her. We really only have a few scenes with her at the start and then at the end and I thought she was a bit spoilt and arrogant. However, in this instalment everything is explained and I finally think I understand her. Love for her family is what really propels her forward, that and I think a little bit of the second child syndrome where you want to prove everyone wrong. She is very single-minded and won’t stop until she achieves what she needs to.
I love that we get more of a backstory not only to Scarlett and Donatella’s lives but also Caraval and the Fates. I thought that was an interesting element and the way that it ties to all of them kept me intrigued throughout the book. There is definite growth in terms of the magical element and why Legend is so powerful and what kind of magic he has, which I appreciated! I thought they kind of skated over that part in the last book and I found it quite lacking.
I thought the setting was very whimsical. The castle really brought about a kind of fairy-tale vibe but was also quite ominous at the same time. I get the same dark and mysterious tones in this book and there was a sense of urgency weaved throughout the plotline as the book progressed! It was very fast paced which I enjoy. The countdown of the days and Tella’s heart really kept me invested in the book and required me to continue to read.
The mystery aspect around Legend and who he could possibly be was also a plot point I really enjoyed. Even from the first book I like how they kept his identity a secret and absolutely no one would give a straight answer as to who he was. We definitely get more about him in this book and are able to really pin point a few characters that he could be. I had a feeling about who he might be but alas I was incorrect. I did like the fact that he is finally unmasked and we know for sure who he is, but also is it for real or is it just another act?
⭐️4.5/5 Finally a sequel I enjoyed more than the first book, hasn’t happened in a while!
We follow a new protagonist in this last book of the series. Kamet is a slave to a very important man in the empire. He keeps his master’s books and accounts and is considered to be a very important slave himself. He has accumulated a few possessions and has a considerable about of personal power in his role which he relishes. That is until an unknown soldier’s comes and offers an escape from his life as a slave, and whispered warnings of poison and murder destroys all of his plans.
I like that everyone’s identity is kept hidden throughout the course of the book. It kept me engaged in the plot as I wanted to figure out who everyone was. We find out the identity of Kamet’s master pretty quickly and I had a feeling about who the Attolian was but it wasn’t confirmed until nearly the end of the book (I was right!)
Kamet I liked him but he wasn’t a favourite of mine in this series. I like that we get a different perspective of what a slave’s life is like in the Empire. All the mannerisms and behaviour is carefully monitored by everyone around them and they can be punished for even the most minor infringements. I liked that we see Kamet constantly vigilant and schooling the Attolian on how a slave should be acting and why he can’t sit next to him or share his food.
Even now five books later I am still getting surprised by Gen and I love that. Even though the main focus of this book isn’t even on him he still has such a commanding presence throughout the plot. Every book really highlights a different trait of his and I loved that once again he has proved how valuable he is and why he chooses to befriend certain people.
The pace was a little bit up and down and at times I did struggle to retain my focus on the book. I think maybe the journey was a little too long for me. It just kind of felt like they were just walking for a lot of chapters and remarking on the scenery which I like for establishing the scene but it became a bit boring for me. There wasn’t enough action.
Even the whole storytelling element that I enjoyed in previous books I found myself kind of skimming in this instalment. I read maybe the first two all the way through and then the rest I wasn’t all that interested in. They were again a little too long for me and they didn’t really bring anything to the storyline.
It wasn’t bad but I didn’t find myself enjoying this as much as the other books in the series. It was just kind of ok. That’s it…
⭐️3/5 I liked it, nothing wrong with it, just not a favourite!
Soooo I didn’t love this as much as The Wrath and the Dawn…
This book continues straight after the last book finishes off. Tariq has whisked Shazi off into the desert after the storm that has razed Rey. Shazi has to deal with the consequences of loving the Caliph and siding with the murderous boy king.
Don’t get me wrong it was still a great book regardless yet it didn’t completely meet my expectations. This has kind of been happening to me a lot as well, I will start a new series and the first novel will sweep me off my feel and then as I continue on the rest of the books don’t give that same feeling.
Shazi though still being very witty and tenacious I felt like at times she kind of acted a bit arrogantly. Like when she first met the Sheik and she refused to relinquish her weapons and demanded the guards to let go of her. I just felt like that was totally unnecessary and made a big fuss over nothing. She was in the presence of Tariq who would let nothing happen to her and she was a guest of the Badawi Clan who had housed and protected her family. Also when she first met Artan someone Musa said could potentially help her break the curse she was rude too as soon as she met him. Granted he was discourteous at the time but she took offense too quickly and that grated me nerves a little.
I liked Isra a lot, I enjoyed that we get to delve a lot deeper into her character and get a feel for who she is. I loved her honesty and compassion for her family. She is very loyal yet will still question her sisters’ motives and wants to be treated as her equal not her little sister.
The book was still very entertaining and the pacing was pretty good. At some stages it was a little slow and I did find myself skimming a little just to get through certain scenes. Though there were a lot of twists and shocking revelations thrown in throughout the plot and that kept me invested and reading on.
The magical element still wasn’t thoroughly explained either. There was no reasoning as to why Jahander and Shazi have this power and not Isra. Where it comes from or really what it is, just that it exists. I liked that there was a little bit of a history told about Artan’s family and the lore behind their magic but still it wasn’t enough for me.
All the elements are there, the characters, the plot, the setting, yet it wasn’t executed enough for me. I appreciated the ending, I liked that I was totally blindsided by several character and their motives, yet I wasn’t left with any overwhelming feelings at the end like I did with The Wrath and the Dawn.
⭐️4/5 Good not great!
This book was absolutely fantastic!
Truly Devious was a shining star last year for me, I really enjoyed the whole premise and plot of the story and The Vanishing Stair really lived up to the expectations that I had built up.
Stevie’s parents have pulled her out of Ellingham Academy after the tragic death of her classmate. She still longs to return and figure out the unsolved case of Truly Devious but her parents are resolute. That is until Edward King turns up at her house with a solution.
Every single line of this book was captivating to read. It was really fast paced and the stakes were incredibly high. The theme is very dark and mysterious and there are so many twists and turns that you can’t help but turn the pages.
Stevie was really relatable in this book. She is so driven and focused on her goal and she will really stop at nothing to find out the truth of what happened that night back in 1936 and also the present day conundrum of Ellie and Hayes. I like the fact that she didn’t immediately dismiss Ellie’s disappearance and looked further into it. It really showed how dedicated she is in becoming a detective. I also like that fact that she tried to include others into her discoveries. She asked for help when she thought she needed it and didn’t dismiss their input.
I’m not quite sure what to make of David yet. I kind of wrote him off as a typical rich kid character that is trying to get his absent fathers attention, but I can’t help feeling like there might be more to his story. I liked how we see him break down after they found Ellie, it was nice to see a teenage boy express his feelings and not be embarrassed by it. He acknowledged their friendship in his grief and I thought that showed how comfortable he is with Stevie.
Larry is another character that I kind of dismissed in the first book and didn’t think he would have a pivotal role in the storyline. I thought he was very honourable and decent and actually treated Stevie with respect and slight disgruntlement for being in the midst of all the scandals. Stevie kind of looked up to his as an authoritative figure that she could trust which is far and few between.
This book is so entertaining; it really has you on the edge of your seat as you read. I found myself really engrossed and engaged in the plot, as I didn’t want to miss anything. All the scenes in the book I thought were pivotal in the overall storyline and every single character that is introduced or carry on from the last book have a purpose. I love reading between the lines and figuring out all the clues and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final book and see once and for all what happened to Alice. I definitely have my theories and I’m excited to see if any are true!
⭐️5/5 I loved this! Mysterious, moody and manic, a wonderful read!
I didn’t absolutely love it and I didn’t hate it either.
It was just kind of ok…. We definitely delved a lot deeper into the story and the reasoning’s behind the study of the defect, but I wasn’t really left with any overwhelming feelings after the ending.
This book really starts with a lot of tense, highly emotional scenes that set up the tone of the book very well. The stakes were very high throughout the first 100 pages or so and it really had me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages. But with that being said the rest of the book was just kind of mediocre for me. I like that the flashbacks are more in depth and we are getting the answers to a lot of questions but the direction that the book went with wasn’t a favourite of mine.
I started to question Mara and her decisions a lot in this third instalment of the series. Yes I know she was tortured and has had a lot of emotional and physical trauma happen to her a short period of time, but I didn’t really like who she became after she escaped. Sure she did save Stella and Jamie but I don’t feel like that justifies some of her actions since. I was wholly on Stella’s side after the incident in the subway and I fully supported her decision to leave and go home… I feel like I would of done the same. I think it was the fact that Mara took on the role of judge and executioner and really would of followed through had it not been for Jamie and Stella’s presence. It didn’t sit well with me and I thought she was very detached.
Daniel really shone for me in this book, his staunch support of his sister and commitment to finding the truth and uncovering the secrets of the trial was wonderful. I love the bond that they share and I really enjoyed his character and how solid and stable he is.
Noah didn’t do a lot for me in this book either. I know there was the whole mystery surrounding his death but I had no doubt that he would be making a reappearance. It was a little obvious and when he did finally show up it wasn’t all that impressive or shocking. He just kind of strolled in and it wasn’t impactful at all for me.
It was a very fast paced book and I did read it really quickly but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. Everything was exposed and it made sense but it didn’t really answer all of the questions that I wanted and it was a very open ended conclusion. I wasn’t left awestruck or dumbfounded I was just like ok.
⭐️3.5/5 A little anticlimactic…