YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2): by Holly Black

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019
Number of Pages: 322 Pages
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning!!! This review may contain spoilers from the previous title, The Cruel Prince! Continue reading at your own risk, you’ve officially been warned!***

To see my full review for book #1 – The Cruel Prince – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the whole series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

After reading this little number, I have a few questions for our devious author, Holly Black… First one: How dare you? Second one: why are you doing this to us? why must you torture us with this book? this series? Seriously…this book is why I have trust issues!

If you loved the first title of this highly entertaining YA Fantasy trilogy, you’re in for a quite a surprise with this next title; you’ll somehow grow even more addicted to it because…oh my lord, the twists, the turns, the betrayals…oh, the betrayals! It might be too much for some of you more sensitive readers, I don’t know…maybe you won’t be as much of a mess as I was as I finished it, or maybe you’ll be worse off, who knows?

If you couldn’t guess by now, I seriously enjoyed this book, but not for the best of reasons…It’s just so wicked, so twisty, so addicting, so dangerous, so untrustworthy, so heart-wrenching, so diabolical, so steamy, and also so beautifully written; I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Holly Black, even as it becomes painfully more and more obvious and that she’s sadistic and loves to torture us all!

His mouth curls into a smile. His eyes shine with wicked intent. “Look at them all, your subjects. A shame not a one knows who their true ruler is.”

– Holly Black, “The Wicked King”

What It’s About:

This sequel starts five months after the events that took place in the previous title, The Cruel Prince, and here’s the quick recap of what’s all going down: Cardan had become King of Elfhame, but secretly has Jude controlling him behind the scenes until the one year and one day time limit ends. Jude also is on rocky terms with Madoc, Taryn is set to marry Locke (which is fine, they deserve each other *barf*), Oak is in hiding with Vivi after the shocking reveal that he was actually the true heir to the throne, Balekin is locked away for being a psychotic drama queen (or king?) for trying to steal the crown. Yep, so a lot happened, and it all will come into play as the story continues to develop.

There is a new threat to worry about: Orlagh, the Queen of the Undersea (And Nicasia’s mother), has decided to end her treaty with the fae folk and rule them all since she’s not too convinced about Cardan on the throne, and plans on a hostile takeover. All the other courts are coming together, also questioning Cardan and whether he’s a worthy king to follow.

What I Liked:

Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks.

He hates you, I remind myself.

“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

I feel those words, feel them like a kick to the stomach. He sees my expression and laughs, a sound full of mockery. I can’t tell which of us he’s laughing at.

He hates you. Even if he wants you, he hates you.

Maybe he hates you the more for it.

After a moment, his eyes flutter closed. His voice falls to a whisper, as though he’s talking to himself. “If you’re the sickness, I suppose you can’t also be the cure.”

He drifts off to sleep, but I am wide awake.”

– Holly Black, “The Wicked King”
  1. The Banter and Sexual Tension Between Cardan & Jude! Easily my favorite part of this whole series. There’s never been quite a relationship in a book series like the one these two have, whether it’s YA Fantasy, Adult Fantasy, Romance, you name it. Both are anti-heroes, both morally-questionable, and both have done some less-than-stellar things towards each other and those around them. It’s obvious that they don’t want to trust each other, but as they are literally betrayed by everyone else as the story progresses, they slowly start to realize how they need to try with each other if they want be able to get what they both want. What is also so enthralling is how they both still refuse to admit or even accept their feelings for each other. They hate the other one for making them love each other; it’s so complex, unique, and so entertaining! Their dynamic was seriously so sexy to read, I couldn’t get enough! It’s weird, but I actually really like that both of them are willing to exploit each other, despite it being so flippin’ obvious that they’re both falling hardcore for each other, but neither wants to admit to themselves, and especially not to each other because nobody wants to give that sort of power over to the other. It’s so much fun to see how they play around each other like it’s some sort of chess game, but I’m not sure if they know what they want more: power or each other. Can they have both? It’s hard to say… Things get pretty intense and heated (AKA steamy) between them, and with how the book ends in such a dramatic cliffhanger, it makes for the third book to be all that much more anticipated to finally give us readers the final outcome of this magnificent enemies-to-lovers relationship comes to be. I absolutely have no idea, and I cannot wait!
  2. You Can’t Trust Anybody! Literally everyone is plotting behind each other’s back in this story, absolutely NO ONE is innocent. I swear, no book has ever matched up to the term “twists and turns” more than this title! Throughout the story, Jude is warned that someone close to her will betray her, and she slowly goes absolutely crazy trying to find out who it is. Mild Spoiler Alert but not really*** It’s actually, like, everyone. Everyone has ulterior motives, everyone has secrets, and everyone is willing to pull a Brutus and totally stab Caesar in order to get what they want…AND I absolutely love it! It’s so unpredictable and is like a literary thorn bush that protrudes everywhere and leaves you in so much pain wherever you go! Don’t even try and attempt to figure what may happen next, you won’t.
  3. That Cliffhanger Ending! It was something to behold…I can’t give too much away, but I can say that it makes you want to get that third book in your hands. ASAP. It’s pretty brutal to be honest, and I’m loving the theories I’m reading about it and whether people are justifying it or condemning it. I was shook, snatched bald, not okay after it, you name it! Oh Cardan Greenbriar…I don’t even know where to start!
  4. Continues to Have Dark/Morally Grey Characters! Besides the romance, another thing this book is about is power, much like a lot of Fantasy novels. It’s about power, and the vile things people will do in order to gain it. It makes this book stand out to look back and think about all the characters you meet in this series, and marvel at how morally gray they all are. Some are obviously more vile than others, but one thing Holly Black does so well is give us a glimpse of how their actions are justified. Maybe we don’t agree with them, but we can see where the character’s mind went in order for us to maybe understand where they are coming from…except maybe Taryn and Locke. They can choke.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. How Short This Book Felt…I honestly don’t know if it’s because I cruised through this book in no time at all, or if it’s because it’s actually pretty short compared to other fantasy novels, but I wanted more! It felt like the story was over so much quicker, and it was shorter than the previous title (The Cruel Prince: 370 Pages, The Wicked King: 322 Pages), and I’m just a pouting, spoiled brat because I WANT MORE!!!

Conclusion:

The Folk in the Air series continues in the most devious, enchanting, and twisted of ways! Fans of the first book in the series will be absolutely ADDICTED when they read what goes on in this sequel; and while they may want to chuck this book across the room and scream at the frustration and angst that it causes, it also drives their need to keep reading and see what happens next, and make it feel more important than breathing, than eating. It’s like a drug you can’t get enough of! With the author’s beautiful prose, captivating cast of characters, and steamy romance weaved between the intricate and compelling plots; all that equates to the work of an evil genius… Holly Black, you are just so deliciously evil!

I have heard that for mortals, the feeling of falling in love is very like like the feeling of fear. Your heart beats fast. Your senses are heightened. You grow light-headed, maybe even dizzy. Is that right?

‘Jude,’ he said, running a hand up my calf. ‘Are you afraid of me?'”

– Holly Black, “The Wicked King”

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: An Enchantment of Ravens: by Margaret Rogerson

Publish Date: September 26th, 2017
Number of Pages: 300 Pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Romance

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of this book – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3.5 Stars

Not too bad for a debut novel!

Fantasy novels that star the Fae are always entertaining; whimsical with adventure, romance and danger work together and this title is a fun addition to read for anyone who love to read about them. It’s a sweeping adventure with a long journey with two characters who just can’t admit to each other their feelings towards each other.

It’s simple, but effective, and is surprisingly a standalone novel, which is so rare for any sort of Fantasy-genre piece of literature, especially one so short. Nonetheless, It was a nice change of pace and a simple, lighthearted, feel good, fairytale-like quick read that could be read in one sitting.

I had some doubts going into this title, basically because it has some mixed reviews on Goodreads, and the fact that I have so many more books I need to read. One of my new coworkers at my new location at work (Same company, but different location) recommended I try it, plus the reviews for the authors latest book, Sorcery of Thorns, have been absolutely glowing, so a part of me felt like I should open this one up and give it a chance, because if I read it after her other title, there’s no way I’d like it.

Also, Charlie Bowater is such an amazing digital artist! She’s one of my all time favs and is the cover artist for this title and plenty others! Seriously, check out her stuff and enjoy! (Link on her name is towards her site!)

What It’s About:

This story stars a young woman, Isobel, who is a master painter for the Fae (this book terms them as the fair folk). Her works always impress her clientele, who can’t produce their own craft, so they seek out humans to cut a deal with. Give them something, and in return they will reward one with some sort of enchantment: to make them more attractive, to make them live longer, or to help their crops for a long dry season.

One day, the Fae Prince of the Autumn Court, Rook, returns to the mortal lands after a long hiatus, and visits her in her home and has Isobel commission a portrait for him. She winds up painting human emotion within her piece; making him appear sad and lonely, and a week later comes back in a rage. To the other fair folk, he now looks weak so she must come back to the Autumn court with him to be put on trial for her offense. Part of her is terrified, but another part of her is excited to leave her town of Whimsy, a land stuck in permanent summer. What must it be like to go to the other courts and see what winter, spring, or autumn for the first time ever?

Along their journey, so many unexpected things happen; they’re both in for more than they’d ever imagined, secrets come to light, but most important of all, Rook and Isobel discover an emotion towards each other that is extremely forbidden…Love. The problem is, Fae and humans can’t be in love by law of faerie kind, and is punishable by death.

What I Liked:

  1. Prince Rook! Rook was freakin’ adorable! He wins the MVP award of being my favorite character in the whole book. He’s the Prince of the Autumn court and he takes Isobel to put her on trial for her (accurate) painting of him, and along the way on their journey, they end up secretly falling in love with each other without the other knowing, and something about these brooding, snarky, intense guys in fantasy novels and how they act around the girl they fall for is my undoing…it’s so sweet to see their entire personality change, they show a rare smile only meant for that person…god, i’m such a hopeless romantic…Also, his inability to understand sarcasm or metaphors was a huge highlight! It was like Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, and how he takes every spoken word literally. It was like he had some sort of version of autism (or it’s just because he’s high fae), but it was so adorable, and added so much to his character!
  2. It’s A Standalone Novel! It seems for a lot of fantasy series now a days, it’s all series, and that’s totally cool! But sometimes it’s hard for us to be able to commit to so many at once, and sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to read a single story, which is so rare now. It’s a short, quick read that is a nice little bridge to read between major book series.
  3. Same Old Fae Lore, But Still Felt Original! So, after reading this book, I’m starting to see a pattern with a lot of Fae fiction that’s created out there: there’s the ability to not tell a lie, the seasonal courts, the weakness to iron, the hindrance towards humans, the strength of true-name, it’s nice that it stays consistent
  4. The Developing Romance! It felt like a bit of Insta-love, which is so played out, but one thing I really got into was the romance that built between Isobel and Rook. They had some fun chemistry, a lot of hilarious banter, but even just reading the author’s prose, I felt the unrequited love burn between them and really enjoyed it.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Climax/ Ending…The entire set up of the book was spectacularly done; the build up was so incredibly entertaining, the banter between Rook and Isobel was stellar, but the climax and ending felt so rushed, so anti-climatic. It felt like I was back in 8th Grade reading the Twilight series underneath my covers so no one would see me with how the final confrontation is actually avoided rather than given to us in some epic way we’d hope for. The book also needed maybe 50 to 100 more pages of content and I think it would have been so much more successful. It was like all of Season 8 of Game of Thrones compared to the whole rest of the show, but of course, on a much smaller scale!
  2. It Needs more Danger!…Like Caraval, this book has a lighter tone and it’s more fun, whimsical, and fairytale-like, and that’s all fine and dandy, but there were parts where I wish more action, more drama, and higher stakes to add more to the story! It was slower paced, which was fine and acceptable, but I can’t read all books that are like that!

Conclusion:

Overall, this was an impressive debut from Margaret Rogerson! She has a specific voice in her prose; tons of metaphors and similes, which is a turn off to some readers, but worked rather well for this kind of story. If this is her first published work, I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with!

It was a fun read, but I still wanted more: It needed more magic, more danger, more development of characters besides the two protagonists, more relationships beyond the main romance, more unpredictability, more political intrigue (which is ironic coming from me).

I recommend this title to anyone looking for a lighthearted, romantic fairytale-like story, or for anyone who loves to read fiction that stars the Fae, or anyone who needs a break from the trilogies or the 4+ book series and wants to read a fun, standalone title!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult Romance, YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1): by Sarah J. Maas

Publish Date: May 5th, 2015
Number of Pages: 419 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

Another title to add to those that fall under the modern retellings of classic fairytales, this one being Beauty and the Beast, but coming from the author of the bestselling Throne of Glass series, there’s no way I wasn’t going to give this a try. Like any SJM book, the reviews are mostly lovingly obsessive and elated over having another YA Fantasy series of hers to get into, and with reading the blurb on what this book is about, it also makes total sense.

After completing this book, I felt the same things as when I read Throne of Glass for the first time: intrigued, entertained, and hopeful for all the possibilities where this story could possibly go. We have a young heroine, a fascinating world, gorgeous fae men, snarky comebacks, and a teasing sample of the evil that threatens their world, and all the while this book also feels like pure set up for what else may come our way, and oh boy, there will probably be a lot coming! The main differences in this story is:

1.) it’s more high fantasy and less grimdark like the beginning of TOG

2.) Romance is put on the forefront instead of a story of revenge/redemption.

What It’s About:

Feyre Archeron, the youngest of three sisters along with only their father, has grown up used to being the only one who can actually take care of her family, who live in poverty and can barely scrape by. They live in the southern, mortal lands of Prythian, where humans have an uneasy treaty with the High Lords of the Fae, who all have their own kingdoms throughout the land north of the invisible force field known as “The Wall.”

The Map of Prythian, courtesy of the series wiki page

When out in the woods hunting for food, Feyre witnesses a wolf trying to take the deer she pursued, and ends up killing it out of self defense. She has no idea the choice she made right then and there would change her life forever, because it turned out that the wolf was actually a powerful fae who’d altered their appearance, and mortals killing anyone fae comes with deadly consequences.

The High Lord of the Spring Court, Lord Tamlin, comes to her home to take her and have her live at his chateau as his prisoner (although, if how she lives there is called a prison, she’s not really suffering too much). Tamlin wears a golden mask that hides most of his features, but seems weary of answering a lot of the questions that pop up along the way, which only makes Feyre even more curious to want to find out more the longer she’s there, but as she learns why, her initial distrust and hostility slowly turns to passion and lust as she also discovers the dangers that lurk within the magical realm.

It turns out theres an ancient curse on the land, and Feyre may have something to do in order to being able to help faerie kind break it before its too late, and the man she comes to love will be lost forever…

What I Liked:

  1. Lots and Lots of Great Characters! SJM absolutely excels at creating fun, interesting characters and giving them a unique dynamic to help drive the story. In this title, I’d say my favorite characters are Lucien, the crafty but loyal best friend of Tamlin, The Suriel who is a low fae that is extremely hard to find but has to tell the truth of any question you have should you capture him, and Rhysand…oh Rhysand…how much I want to say, but in due time with later book reviews…in this title, he’s a conflicting character; an intriguing villain/anti-hero, the High Lord of the Night Court and the most powerful of all the High Lords of the Fae, but is the right hand man of a madwoman…well, those fae males can’t be entirely perfect.
  2. Hints at More to Come! Like the first TOG title, this book felt like it was just entirely set up for what’s to come later on in the series, and one thing I love doing is brainstorming, thinking of all sorts of ideas of what those possibilities may actually be, and even helps me develop my own ideas for writing.
  3. The Worldbuilding! SJM seemed to have took more time and delicately plan out the world she wanted to have this story take place in, and seems to want to share every aspect of it, except that she doesn’t go into as much detail as I’d have liked about the other courts within Prythian. There’s seven total courts total, and they are differentiated by the seasons (Summer, Spring, Autumn, and Winter) along with the time of day (Dawn, Day, Night). The reason I put this in the “like” column is because my hope was that these courts are all shown to us later on in the series, and I was incredibly interested to see how the author made these different kingdoms come to life.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. It’s Slower Paced…SJM’s writing has improved over time and has become so much more eloquent and compelling, and there’s a ton of action going on in her other series around the time this title was released, but you may feel like you’re taking a few steps back with this one, as the overall pacing is much slower than what we’ve gotten used to. The worldbuilding is given much more specific attention, but the real danger/action doesn’t start until the last third of the book, which is kind of a shame because the author writes action so incredibly well. This story feels a little less plot driven, but more character driven and just plain exploring a new and unusual world, which isn’t always the best route to go in terms of a fantasy genre novel. Luckily, there are little snippets that hint at danger that can keep you guessing and wondering enough to keep on reading!
  2. It’s Not really a Retelling…So after reading this book, I can conclude that while there are many aspects that may be seen as similar, it’s not entirely an actual Beauty and the Beast retelling, or if it is, it’s not the best in terms of that aspect. Tamlin seems to be put in the position as the Beast: the ruler of the cursed land, the one who must somehow break that curse, and has his subjects who also share the punishment with him. While I personally know more into the story as I type this review, I know this is not true at all…but like I said, more on that later in other reviews…All I can say to sum it all up is, yes, the first part of this story feels like another retelling, but then when Feyre goes under the mountain, it changes the whole game!

Conclusion:

Sarah J. Maas does it again with the start of another fantasy series that feels so very different from Throne of Glass, and allows us to once again start over with her words, but this time after having her writing improve dramatically over the years. The world she’s created for this is much more complex, but the pacing is slower than what we’ve come to be used to with her writing…Feyre is no Aelin, that is for sure… Romance takes a bigger, more central role to the story, and the vibe is much more sensual than most YA titles seem to go towards, which leads me to say that for those that care should know that it’s a little more mature than what the genre usually gives us. If you don’t cringe at sex scenes, yay for you! Enjoy 😉

I don’t necessarily recommend this title for those looking for a Beauty and the Beast retelling; it’s there, but it’s also not prominent in the overall execution, but more for those searching for a love story involving the Fae. It is a love story in a way, along with the threat of an evil overlord who threatens the world, but those who like stories that focus on romance will definitely enjoy this title!

Thanks For Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy

My Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1): by Holly Black

Publish Date: January 2nd, 2018
Number of Pages: 370 Pages
Publisher: Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

I had incredibly little expectations for this title when I picked it up only a couple of months after it’s initial release date. The cover instantly drew me in; I’ve said it before, but YA books have been getting the golden treatment in terms of cover designs. Prior to it, I’d heard very little about Holly Black as an author, and any of the previous work she’s released before this title. She’d done other stories like the Modern Faerie Tales trilogy, The Magisterium series with Cassandra Clare (Bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments Series who’s also her BFF), but none had gotten my attention quite like The Cruel Prince.

I think it was also the many comparisons to Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series all over social media that made me even take note of it to be completely honest. At the time, I’d just begun to read that series, fall in love with it after reading the second title, A Court of Mist and Fury (SJM’s best book written to this time, don’t even try and fight me on it!), so I thought to myself, why not?, and gave it a shot.

What It’s About:

At the young age of seven, Jude Duarte witnessed her parents get murdered. She and her two sisters, Taryn and Vivienne, lived peacefully in our world until one day when a magical being arrives and completely changes their lives. General Madoc, who it turned out was actually Vivienne’s biological father, kills their parents and frisks them all away to live with him in the secret, magical realm of Faerie. 10 years later, twin sisters Jude and Taryn have grown to love their new home despite being mortal, and obediently follow the rules in order to stay. Vivi, who is actually half-fae, is the total opposite and doesn’t want to a part of this world.

Elfhame, the setting of Holly Black’s “The Folk of the Air” Series, Image courtesy of the fandom’s wiki page

Being Mortal, the twins are seen as lower-born, or less desirable amongst some of the fae, and the only way they (or any human) can stay in the realm into adulthood is if they marry someone fae, or be able to show a truly impressive skill. Taryn chooses the marriage option, but Jude decides to enter a tournament to show off her skill in combat in order to become a become a knight for the royal family.

I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them.”

– Holly Black, “The Cruel Prince”

The three sisters attend a ball at the Palace for the King, who has announced that he will soon appoint a successor amongst his six sons for the crown. It is there that you meet another VERY interesting character, Prince Cardan Greenbriar, the youngest but most vicious of the royals. Along with his little posse of noble-born fae, their goal seems to be to torment the twins during their schooling lessons. Jude and Cardan go back and forth in their torture; he even tries to drown her in order to get her to not compete in the tournament, but is saved by her sister. Jude and Cardan’s hatred for each other is a strong driving point of the story, that also takes a twist that no one would wholly see coming.

One night, Jude returns home to be told that theres a prince waiting for her in the parlor. It’s not Prince Cardan, but one of his older brothers, Prince Dain, much to her surprise. They cut a deal, and from there on, Jude becomes a part of all the palace intrigue and learns more about the lies and deception that go on behind closed doors, and discovers a shocking secret, along with a plot, that could change everything. She must be able to stand amongst those most dangerous in order to not only save herself, or her sisters, but all of Faerie itself.

Instead of being afraid, I will become something to fear.”

– Holly Black, “The Cruel Prince”

What I Liked:

  1. The Complexity of the Characters! In this story, there’s no line of good versus evil; it’s not black and white and easy to distinguish. Every character is not entirely likeable or unlikeable, and they all have a dark side and does things that are below the belt, despicable, whatever nasty word you can use to describe it. It was refreshing to see a heroine in Jude, who wasn’t afraid to lie, cheat and steal in order to gain an advantage; even better was when she found herself enjoying it. This world doesn’t create Disney Princesses darling; you’ve got to have some claws in order to gain power and influence.
  2. Fae Mythology! I am by no means an expert when it comes to Faerie folklore, but according to others, Holly Black really did her research on the matter and successfully integrated a lot of myth and legends into her story in order for it be considered an accurate portrayal. The Fae are supernatural beings that can come in all shapes and sizes and is the broad term to tie together many species: Elves, Pixies, Leprechauns, Dwarves, Gnomes, Dryads, etc. Basically, imagine every fairytale you’ve ever read from your childhood to now, and any magical being that appears is considered fae. They’ve been around for such a long time (Even Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream had them), and lived in harmony amongst mortals until Christianity drove a wedge between them (first of all, hmmm……second of all, thats what I think I read…experts can feel free to call me out if that’s inaccurate). They are more in tune with nature, they cannot tell a lie, they are more malevolent than humans, are tricksters, and for some reason have a weakness to iron.
  3. The Climax! Yowza…what a way to wrap it all together, not to mention, what a creative way to integrate this story into the next. Holly Black knows how to torture her readers!
  4. Holly Black’s Prose! Her writing style is simply gorgeous; it seams effortlessly together, and the way she can form words…it all just comes together so magnificently. It’s just perfect. I want to know her secrets.
  5. The Tiny sprinkle of Romance! Yes fam, amongst all the lies, the deceit, the bitter betrayals, the side-changing, there is a little bit of romance alongside all the rest of the story, much to my satisfaction. The only question is: Is it genuine, or is it simply manipulated in order to gain an edge? And by edge, yes, I mean the edge of a sharp knife against a delicate throat, ready to test a theory (*wink*wink*) to those that read have already it), or ready to slash at any second, sending blood spraying like a popped open bottle of champagne.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Beginning Felt Rushed and Undervalued…To me, the beginning of the story went by so fast with its initial set up, it almost feels like it was pointless to include it if it meant so little to the overall story. It’s something that’s supposed to be an incredibly traumatic & grieving experience, something that changes a being (magical or mortal), and it felt like it was over before we knew it without any of the characters actually being all that affected by it. Even more strange, there was absolutely no need for revenge or justice amongst them because of it; it simply happened, and everyone moved on (except for me, I guess…)

Conclusion:

This book overall is nothing thats too new or innovative when it comes to what we’ve seen in YA Fantasy before, but that doesn’t make it any less of an entertaining read. It’s addicting because of the author’s beautiful prose, her characterization and their development, and the many twists and turns you take within the pages as the reader; it’s like being caught in a web of vines deep in the forest, and no one is around to hear you scream. It leaves you with excitement, it leaves you in torment, but ultimately it leaves you wanting more, which is what any author should want.

There are some similarities to the popular “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series by my queen Sarah J. Maas that I mentioned earlier, but that’s purely from looking at it from it’s initial aesthetic before actually reading what Holly Black has created for us. Both are great additions to the YA Fantasy genre, and it can go down as me saying that it’s guaranteed that this series will go down as one of the Greats.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell