I have to admit I am only about 10% of the way into Truthwitch at the moment. I am currently in a little bit of a reading slump but I am going to persist and hopefully have this book complete by the end of this week! I am soooooo happy to be back in this world and reacquainting myself with all the characters. I absolutely love Safi and Iseult and their loyalty and companionship they have found with each other. Once again I found there was a little bit of an info dump right at the start and it was a little jarring to get into but I am excited to see this tale unfold once again!
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!
⭐️5/5 This was just perfection!
Watch Over Me is about a girl named Mila who has just aged out of the foster care system. She has been offered a job on a remote farm tutoring young foster kids who live there. She loves it there but is haunted by the past traumas that threaten to overwhelm her life.
This is not what I was expecting at all. I thought this was going to be a young adult thriller/horror novel where kids keep disappearing or found murdered on this farm, but really it was a contemporary with a speculative twist.
I think this book was structured perfectly. From the present timeline where Mila is being introduced to life on the farm and finding her place within this already established family. To the flashbacks of Mila’s time with her mother and Blake giving us much needed context and displaying how these events still have an affect on Mila all these years later.
The ghosts added the perfect touch of edginess to this otherwise quite rudimentary storyline. Had they not been there and having the mystery surrounding why they are haunting this farm I think I would of otherwise been a little bored with this book.
Mila is an endearing character. I found the relationship she developed with Lee to be touching and I feel she may have using him as a surrogate for her younger self and how she wished she would have been treated by her mother. We are only given a glimpse of what she had to endure in her past and we definitely see how some of the decision she made back then have just compounded on her conscious and are brought to the forefront for her to deal with.
This was a touching story about guilt and remorse and how someone who has been dealt a tough life is still able to move on and gain a family and a place to feel welcome and comforted.
⭐️3/5 stars haunting, poignant & moving
The Devouring Gray is about a town called Four Paths where there are four founding families who protect the town from an ancient monster that lurks in the forest surrounding the towns.
I was very much invested right from the start of this book. There is a little bit of an info dump and it took me a second to get all the characters and their names down but around the 50-100 page mark I was definitely settled into the story and wanted to know more!
I found both Justin and May to have a bit of a superiority complex, their mum as well. I thought the fact that he has deceived the whole town for so long and still revelled in their admiration for him to be a little problematic. I did appreciate how he did see the error of his ways and apologised to Harper but like she said I think it’s too little too late, especially when she found out how much of a hypocrite he is. He came across quite douchey and I couldn’t really warm up to him for the majority of the book.
Violet was an interesting character. I liked the fact that she did whatever it took to find out the truth and got every side of the story before she made a decision on who she was siding with. Finding out the history of her family was fascinating and seeing how she struggled with her sister’s death whilst in the middle of this chaos was admirable.
I really enjoyed Harper’s tenacity and determination. It’s quite heartbreaking to learn about her history with Justin and the way he ostracised her when she needed him most. I thought her anger was very much justified and I almost wish she would have made him grovel more.
Isaac was one of my favourite characters. His broodiness and staunch loyalty to Justin fascinated me and I very much wanted to find out more about him and his family and why they left. Hopefully what really happened at the time of his trial is revealed in the coming book, it was alluded to but not directly specified so I want to know more about that for sure. I thought his friendship with Violet was cute and I was thinking they were developing feelings for each other, but when he dropped that bombshell at the end of the book I wasn’t so sure.
Like a lot of people have been saying this is like an episode of Riverdale mixed with the Raven Boys and Stranger Things. The whimsical setting, the family lore and history of the town, the impending doom, the bi rep throughout, all solid plot devices that had me engaged and eager to read on!
⭐️4/5 stars I’m invested!!
Vika is still coming to terms with her new position as the Imperial Enchanter and what that role now entails, Nikolai though he has escaped death is trapped in his dream world as a shadow and is trying to find a way back to reality and Pasha is struggling with the decisions he has made that has led them all to this moment.
Once again I found Pasha to be totally out of touch. He wallows in self pity after forcing the end of the game thus resulting in Nikolai’s death. He knew one of them wouldn’t survive and now he wants to mourn Nik but still try and pursue Vika after everything that happened. He repeatedly blows off all his responsibilities to go and get drunk and his sister has to step up and make all the decisions. I never really trusted Yuliana, for some reason I thought she would end up backstabbing Pasha and would try to take the crown for herself. I like that she proved me wrong and supported and maintained her loyalty to her brother.
Vika really showed her tenacity in this book with her refusal to fully comply with Pasha and Yuliana’s orders. The gold cuff that enforces her oath was a surprising obstacle that forced Vika to really think outside of the box to try and circumvent some of the more terrible orders Yuliana metes out. Though she always maintains her loyalty to the crown I appreciated how much she does to try and save Nikolai and doesn’t dismiss their history.
Nikolai’s character definitely experiences a monumental character shift. I was so glad that he didn’t die and I thought it was interesting how he became a shadow and the use of energy to bring him back to the world. I thought it was a nice tie back to his mother and the way she was able to escape death as well. I can’t say I enjoyed this new side of Nikolai after his is given his mother’s energy however; it was entertaining as it made him quite unpredictable.
The tone of the book was definitely a lot darker that the previous book which I appreciated. It showed a progression of the characters and added a layer of urgency to the plot. There is something about Russian settings and the atmosphere that just seem so magical and the traditional lore that makes an appearance raises the level of authenticity. The pacing increased progressively which kept me highly engaged throughout the course of the storyline and the ending even though it was a little anticlimactic gave me all the feels!
⭐️4/5 stars Magical, surprising & highly entertaining!