Misrule Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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.

All of Us Villains Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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!

Girls of Fate and Fury Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

There’s one thing Lei knows – she can never return to the Hidden Palace. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls will plague her forever. She cannot be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren. The last time Lei saw the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death.

Lei has evolved into a character that I don’t really enjoy. I know she has suffered and endured traumatic events at the hands of the King over the course of her time at the Hidden Palace but it’s the fact that she chose to stay there and not escape and yet had to rely on others to concoct the plans and execute everything. Even though she wants to kill the king (which she reiterates every time she is near him) she doesn’t actively do anything except memorise her way through the palace. I honestly would of been more impressed if she did end up sacrificing herself for Wren and she didn’t get a happy ending, really make this a tragic story and set this series apart.

I’ve been quite ambivalent towards Wren throughout the course of the series and that honestly didn’t change in this book. I get that she loves Lei and being apart isn’t ideal but the way she agonises over it every second got boring. I would of loved if we got more insight into the Hanno’s and the actual war. I just found her storyline to be a bit lacking and uneventful honestly.

Overall I just feel like the stakes weren’t there. I just knew that Lei and Wren were going to make it out alive and the fact that there wasn’t any shocking or surprising twists made me a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong there were definitely twists but nothing that evoked any kind emotion from me. Also the pacing of the book was just way off, the first 3/4 was super slow and then the last quarter was rushed and chaotic.

I wasn’t that big a fan of the way Natasha Ngan wrote the fighting and war scenes. It made it hard to visualise what was happening and where the characters were. I had to go back and reread some passages a few times because I couldn’t figure out where certain characters were or how they moved to this other location. It brought me out of the story and didn’t really make for a good reading experience.

⭐️2/5 stars Kind of wish Girls of Paper and Fire was a stand-a-lone…

Skyward Flights Review

I realised before I got stuck into Cytonic that I needed to catch up with the two novellas that take place between Starsight and Cytonic and then there’s a third novella after. I sped through the first two novellas and figured I would just post two short reviews in one!

Sunreach – I had quite forgotten about Spensa’s flight team back on Detritus because for the most part the series revolves around Spensa and her adventures. But I like the fact that we’re taken back and given different perspectives and we can see what these other characters are dealing with while. We were given short little interludes in Starsight about Jorgen finding the other Taynix with Gran Gran and I really enjoyed how in this novella we get to see them figure out that they are actually the hyperdrives. I also really enjoyed the rescue mission to Sunreach and just how fast paced and action packed it was. There were definitely some revelations and twists and I feel like this just added so much needed depth and context to the series. ⭐️4/5 stars

ReDawn – For ReDawn I thought it was definitely a necessary decision to have a novella from the point of view of one of the aliens and Alanik has been a pretty integral part of this series so it was nice to get to see things from her perspective. She is another Cytonic who has a different grasp on the abilities so it was interesting to see how she uses her powers in comparison to Spensa or even Jorgen with his limited knowledge. I liked the fact that we have a different setting as well on ReDawn and how we get to learn about a different race of being and how they govern themselves. It was a just a little a hard to visualise a lot of the fighting scenes in the air, that whole sequence was a bit chaotic and confusing. I really enjoyed seeing how all the pilots have bonded with the Taynix and how they are able to utilise them throughout their flights and integrate them into all of their plans. ⭐️3/5 stars

These novellas have definitely drawn me back into this series and has me reinvested in the storyline and eager to find out what will happen next and what is going on with Spensa in the Nowhere!

Blade of Secrets Review

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Ziva’a character was definitely interesting. It was nice to hear about how she learnt how to become a blade smith and the process in which she creates her weapons. It went into a lot of detail about how she imbues her magic into the metals and how she incidentally comes up with the various abilities for each weapon. I think she is a very relatable character though I felt like a lot of the guilt she holds in relation to her sister and her upbringing was unnecessary.

Amera I think holds a lot of resentment to Ziva for being to protective over her and for making them have to uproot and flee. But I think again this was very relatable, her sister is the one with the magic powers and the infamy and I can understand why she would want a little bit of separation from that and be her own person. Though I don’t think it was very fair of her to throw that back in her sister’s face.

I like that there was a bit of depth to each of the characters. Kellyn wasn’t just a muscly mercenary, there was more to Petrik than what we are initially told so that kept me intrigued and interested in finding out more about them all. I liked that through their travels they all formed a bond of friendship before the romance started. The romance aspect was a little cringe for me to be honest. Because she has sheltered herself from the world so much Ziva’s social skills aren’t the greatest so her trying to process her feelings for Kellyn was a bit exhausting. I was glad when she just accepted that he might actually like her and moved forward. It just felt a little juvenile in that aspect and then right after we would get quite a graphic fight scenes so that juxtaposition would pull me out of the story.

I’ve found all of Tricia Levenseller’s books to be quite fast paced and action packed and this was in that realm. I think there was just so many scenes were they are just travelling from town to town trying to escape the warlord that I didn’t feel particularly rooted in the story. Though I’m looking forward to learning more about the magic system and this world as the series progresses and we find out what is going to happen next.

⭐️3/5 stars I was expecting more but enjoyed it for what it was!