YA Fantasy, YA romance

My Review: Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 15th, 2015
Number of Pages: 413 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, YA Romance

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers from the previous books in the series, continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my full review of book #1: Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE

To see my full review of book #2: Rebel Spring – Click HERE

To see my full review of book #3: Gathering Darkness – Click HERE

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

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

For anyone who’s been following in my reviews of this series, some may be surprised at how my rating has dropped when compared to the previous book in this series. Believe me, I was just as surprised at my reaction to this fourth book in one of my favorite YA fantasy series, but to be honest, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed in this title a little bit.

There were plenty of parts that I immensely enjoyed, and still can say I loved reading it like the other titles; I guess for me it was mainly my disappointment with the direction the series was starting to move in at this point. I feel like there was a shift in the overall feel of the books by this point, and the overall story had started to move in a direction that maybe I wasn’t so fond of, at least concerning certain subplots or character arcs. While plenty of the twists and the forbidden romance continued to pique my interest, there was just a lot more aspects that I just wasn’t entirely agreeing with.

There were a couple things I loved about this series. One was the introduction of the Kraeshian Empire, the homeland of Prince Ashur and Princess Amara Cortas. Its presence has been brewing in the background since the second book, so it was nice to see it finally make its grand entrance into the story. Another was, of course, how Prince Magnus’s relationship with Princess Cleo continues to develop oh-so-achingly slowly, and one last one worth mentioning was the development of spy/assassin/double-crossing Felix Graebas.

There were of course plenty of things I disliked about this books as well: Princess Lucia Damora being the biggest one worth mentioning. I go into more details about all these things I’ve mentioned further below in my review, as I do in all of my book reviews on this website.

Overall, I did enjoy this book like all the other books in this series so far, I was literally vibrating with excitement waiting for their publishing date every year after waiting those 365 days. I couldn’t help but literally binge read whenever these books came out, because while it’s such a cheap tactic to put on us readers, the author is damn good at those cliffhangers that keep us coming back! The thing is, I wasn’t nearly as satisfied with this book when I finished like I was with the other books. I can’t explain it, but like I said, I felt like there was just a major shift with the overall series once I got to this book, and while I still enjoy the story and characters and want to keep reading on, part of me just isn’t as emotionally invested as I once was *shrugs.* Part of it could be because around the time I’d first read this, I was really getting more into the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, and maybe that stole the thunder from this series a little bit?

What It’s About:

Because if you don’t choose to fight against the wrong in the world, then you are the wrong in the world.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Frozen Tides”

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author, Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

What our hearts want can overtake what our minds tell us is forbidden to us. We can’t control these feelings, even if we desperately wish we could.”

– Morgan Rhodes, “Frozen Tides”

What I Liked:

  1. The Kraeshian Empire! It’s been something that’s been brewing in the background since the first appearance of Prince Ashur at Cleo and Magnus’s wedding in Rebel Spring, and you finally get a glimpse of the vast empire in the capital city! To be honest, it doesn’t seem too different from Dorne in Westeros from Game of Thrones, but the author uses it to really further the development of Amara Cortas, who is quickly letting us know she’s an irresistible force to be reckoned with in these books. You learn more about her and her family, and it adds some major depth to her crafty demeanor.
  2. Felix Graebas! You met him in the previous book, Gathering Darkness, and you probably loved him as much as I did for his cheeky personality and overall charming amount of shadiness. Turns out, he was actually an assassin sent by King Gaius to kill Jonas, but he couldn’t go through with it in the end because Jonas had become like a friend to him. Still, Jonas and Lysandra found out and banished him away, which leads Felix to realign himself with the wicked king and become his personal bodyguard! There’s more to his character, but I don’t want to give too much away; like Amara, he’s given more attention in this book and there’s more depths added to him and his motives.
  3. Magnus and Cleo’s Romantic Development! In Gathering Darkness, we got a major moment with them admitting their mutual unrequited attraction to each other—along with a steamy kiss—and Magneo officially became canon! In this book, their relationship continues to evolve as they return to the Limeros palace, Magnus’s home, and continue to bicker and get on each other’s nerves, but it’s okay because it’s foreplay for them. They reluctantly learn to trust each other and use their strengths together in order to come ahead of all the key players in the hunt for the Kindred.
  4. Many Cliffhangers! It’s definitely a normal expectation for these books, but the ending will blow your mind with how much happens! Lots of excitement for the last 25% of the book, and I won’t spoil it, but expect a lot of unexpectedness!

What I Disliked:

  1. Lucia Damora…I swear, I like her less and less with every book…Sis just needs to go away. In this book, she takes a walk on the dark side as she aligns herself with Kyan, who was actually the fire spirit trapped inside the Fire Kindred. It turns out each orb has some immortal being trapped inside like some sort of poké ball and releasing them is actually pretty bad news for EVERYONE, including the Watchers on the other side of the portals strewn about Mytica. Lucia and him travel around the realm and search for a portal that can still be activated and allow him to kill off Timotheus, the leader of the Watchers. While this new predicament is interesting and raises the stakes, Lucia does not. She’s just so easily unlikeable by this point, and her chapters were really bleh for me. So many opportunities with her whole story arc were just tossed out the window like a Corona beer during the pandemic; the storyline of her birth parents was a letdown, and even her powers aren’t all that much more impressive…
  2. The Kraeshian Rebellion…While at the Kraeshian Empire, Nic and Jonas meet Mikah, who is a servant-but-actually a leader in a rebellion group looking to overthrow the whole Empire led by Amara’s family…This whole addition was absolutely not necessary to include into the story, to be honest. Sure, it was an unexpected twist for Mikah’s character, but I can say this whole rebellion doesn’t mean anything for pretty much the entirety of the book. If anything, it serves as a plot convenience to rescue a certain character, but that’s it! There was another way to go about sneaking someone out of the palace than including this rebellion into the story, especially if it won’t come into play to the entire plot after that…pointless.
  3. Jonas Continues to Dwindle…Jonas is like that meme with the guy doing the post game interview, stating they had ’em in the first half. That perfectly sums up Jonas’s character in this series! I had high hopes for him, I really did—I even totally hoped him and Cleo ended up together—but he’s slowly being pushed further and further onto the back burner. He’s accomplished literally none of the mission’s he’s set out to do, and it feels like by this point, even the author is seeming to give up on him.

Conclusion:

Another thrilling edition to the bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, this title continues the usual recipe these books have: winding twists and turns up the wazoo, unpredictable character deaths, scorching romance, bloody political intrigue, and magic now oozing off the sides.

While many other readers who read this book seemed to love this addition, I was a little less than impressed with this title for the reasons I’ve already listed above, so I won’t repeat myself and get repetitive on the matter. Still, with the many cliffhangers this book gives us at the end, you can bet your cute butt that I’m still invested and kept reading these books! I’ve spent too much time screaming over everything that’s happened and just about everything else with these books to give up at this point.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy

My Review: Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 3rd 2013
Number of Pages: 401 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

***WARNING*** Potential Spoilers past this point for those that haven’t read the first book of this series! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Falling Kingdoms – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

After reading the first book in this series, I had to suffer an entire next year until this sequel came out onto shelves back in 2014. Any book reader who discovers an amazing series to read while it’s still being published on an annual basis knows the sheer pain of that waiting period!

One thing that was discovered was how Morgan Rhodes is an incredibly talented writer. She is almost masterful of being able to write excellently crafted and compelling scenes that have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation to see what happens next. Like the TV show Game of Thrones, these books are utterly unpredictable and every character faces insurmountable dangers that could lead to pain and ultimately death. No one is completely safe!

What It’s About:

Taking off immediately from the ending of the previous title, Rebel Spring starts off on a high high note. The Kingdom of Auranos has been taken over by the Damora’s and in the span of an epic battle, everything has dramatically changed, much blood has been spilled, and its all only the beginning.

Cleo, who’s lost literally everyone close to her, is now a prisoner within her own castle as the Damora’s have taken over.

Lucia is in a magic-induced coma from the exertion of power that won her father the kingdom in the first place.

Magnus has become his hateful father’s right hand man and goes off on tour to spread his message with Aron Lagaris, and oversee’s the construction of the golden road to connect all of Mytica.

Jonas has narrowly escaped after the betrayal of his chief, and is slowly building another rebel army.

We are introduced to some new characters: Lysandra, Melenia, Alexius, and Prince Ashur Cortas. Lysandra, who comes from another town in Paelsia, joins up with Jonas and his rebel clan in order to rescue her brother, who has been taken prisoner by King Gaius’s men. Alexius, a mysterious demigod-like being called a Watcher, helps Lucia discover more about herself and the magical abilities that she possesses. Melenia, also a watcher, is the voice inside King Gaius’s head, urging him to build a road in order to find the magical elementia orbs that have been hidden for so many years. Ashur Cortas is the third born prince from the foreign empire of Kraeshia who visits Mytica for a special occasion, but has much more going on beneath the surface.

What I Liked:

  1. The Action! One thing that this series delivers on is the excitement factor that the author brings to the table. A lot more happens in this book than the last, and while some could argue that the pacing is inconsistent, I thought that it added to the unpredictability of what was going to happen next to certain characters.
  2. The Addition of New Characters! The characters that I’d mentioned earlier add a lot to the overall story, creating more depth to the plots of the four main characters in different ways. Prince Ashur has to be my favorite addition just because it’s obvious that more is going on with him than just being a guest to a royal wedding, and I was curious to see what more he’d bring to the table.
  3. Character Deaths! While it’s usually heartbreaking to say goodbye to certain characters, whether it be a violent, cruel murder or a heartbreaking sacrifice, a character death that causes an emotional impact to the readers always makes a story more effective. Every main character loses someone close to them in this story, but it gives them more motivation to their story moving forward.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Still too Derivative…I absolutely adored this series when back when it was brand new and the books were coming out every December; I had nothing bad to say about them at the time. Unfortunately, as time has passed, thats no longer the case, and at reading other reviews that weren’t so glowing about these books, it’s more and more obvious how this series is too similar to Game of Thrones. It’s gotten to the point that it’s becoming harder to and harder to separate what the author has created themselves, and what they’ve slightly changed/copied from the stories of George R.R. Martin. I know I mentioned this comparison in my review of the previous title, but by this point, there’s just too many comparisons that match up: King Gaius is a mix of Tywin Lannister and Stannis Baratheon, Cleo is Sansa, Melenia is Melisandre, Magnus is Jaime Lannister, Lysandra is Arya Stark, Nic Cassian as Jorah Mormont, and Jonas is (maybe) Jon Snow and/or Robb Stark? I’m just relieved that we don’t have another King Joffrey running around…
  2. The Cliffhanger Endings…This is more something I love to hate, because its such a long, drawn out torture to read a book, be so elated to read what happens next, and then finish the book with another huge cliffhanger, and then realize that you have to wait another year for the next book to release….again. the torture continues. I suppose its a good thing that you read something that you enjoy so much that you’re in such a conundrum.
  3. The Random Addition of LGBTQ+…There’s one shocking moment in the story where two male characters share a secret kiss, and honestly, the reveal of it for one of the characters was certainly shocking, but not in a positive way. There was absolutely no hinting at it in anyway before hand in either books, and he’d been hopelessly pining away for a woman who’d never return his feelings the entire time before, so while it was shocking, it was just random and seems like it was only added for a cheap token-like addition and for the sake of adding diversity as an afterthought. I’m all for LGBTQ+ representation, but the way it was handled in this story could’ve been better than how it was actually executed.

Conclusion:

SO MUCH MORE happens in this sequel of the Falling Kingdoms series, and while its satisfying, it still leaves you wanting more and leaves more hints of whats to come. The main thing this series needs to improve on by this point is becoming more of its own thing, not just a YA knockoff of another fandom in The Song of Ice and Fire.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: The Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes

This series is like a YA Game Of Thrones: There’s kingdoms, knights, stolen thrones, forbidden romance, secrets that have been killed over, deadly betrayals, a hint of magic, and war on the horizon. In the land of Mytica, magic that was once in abundance is now a long lost memory, and the kingdoms that rule the land are reaching an unrest with a power struggle for ultimate power.

Here is my review of the first book in the series!

Here is my review of book #2 – Rebel Spring!

Here is my review of book #3 – Gathering Darkness!

Here is my review of book #4 – Frozen Tides!

Here is my review of book #5 – Crystal Storm!

More reviews coming soon!

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Here is my official Fancast/Dreamcast:

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Princess Cleo Bellos: Blake Lively

Image courtesy of celebmafia.com

Cleo is described as the Golden Princess; she’s named after a goddess, so why not cast Blake Lively as her? She’s an IT girl who’s known for her roles in Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Savages to name a few, and is also the wife of Ryan Reynolds!…lucky bitch.

Prince Magnus Damora: Nick Ayler

Credit to owner

So he’s missing the dark eyes, but I couldn’t shake the idea of casting this amazing looking male specimen as our moody Prince of Limeros (and sass).

Jonas Agallon: Marco Dapper

Image courtesy of homorazzi.com

Probably no one’s choice but my own, this unknown actor has been in the Soap Opera, The Young and the Restless and has made small appearances in Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, and Dirty Sexy Money.

Princess Lucia Damora: Barbara Palvin

Image courtesy of twimg.com

She’s an angel from Victoria’s secret, so she certainly has the face to match the beauty of our magical princess Lucia. Besides her runway work, somehow the other Sprouse Twin who’s not in Riverdale, Dylan, landed her, to which I say “Good Job Zach!”

Nic Cassian: Sam Claflin

Image courtesy of popsugar.com

You see this guy in Love, Rosie and Me Before You, and how can you not swoon over over him? He’s been a favorite of mine since his surprising achievement of being casted as Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games franchise, I know Sam would nail this role as Cleo’s best friend.

Mira Cassian: Sophie Turner

Image courtesy of celebmafia.com

The series is basically a YA Game of Thrones knock-off without the Dragons or White-walkers, so why not have the actress we all got to know and love as Sansa Stark be a part of this series too? Sure, it’s a much smaller role, but I feel like it’d be a nod to what we know.

Aron Lagaris: Alex Pettyfer

Credit to owner

Again, I hate to type-cast, but I did start this series way back in 2012 when it first came out, so how could I not cast Alex as the arrogant, aristocratic noble who was betrothed the Cleo at the very start? He’s known for his roles in Magic Mike, I Am Number Four, Beastly, In Time, and Endless Love. It’s just too bad he’s known for taking that reputation of being a complete asshole into real life as well…

Theon Ranus: Jensen Ackles

Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

Ever since seeing him LARPing in his show, Supernatural, i’ve known it in my heart that I want him to be casted as an actual knight in some sort of fantasy setting. I totally saw him playing the brave, prideful, loyal knight who was Cleo’s love interest at the very beginning of the books!

King Gaius Damora: Richard Armitage

Image courtesy of oldvictheatre.com

This guy can act! He’s known for playing our anti-hero Thorin in The Hobbit movies among plenty of other roles, I thought he’d be an excellent ruthless, evil, greedy king Gaius who’s the villain through most of the series!

Queen Althea Damora: Danielle Bisutti

Image courtesy of picsofcelebs.com

I pictured either her or Lucy Lawless playing the role of King Gaius’s wife and Magnus’s mother, she can nail the role of ice queen in the roles I’ve seen her play. She’s been all over the place, I’ve seen her in many shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Tru Jackson VP, CSI, Parks and Recreation, and Private Practice to name a few!

Alexius: Luke Guldan

Image courtesy of lukeguldan.com

Total confession, but seeing this image on Pinterest inspired me to create an account!…I am actually being completely serious…anyways, he’s a small time model-turned-actor, not in anything I’ve seen, but I pictured him playing the immortal watcher who looks over the land and falls for Lucia.

Brion Radenos: Josh Bowman

Image courtesy of picsofcelebs.com

I watched Josh in Revenge, and thought he’d be good at playing the best friend of Jonas and fellow rebel soldier to try and overthrow King Gaius’s tyranny.

King Corvin Bellos: Sean Bean

Image courtesy of sharovaka.com

I mean, if we’ve read the first book, does this not make total sense?…

Emilia Bellos: Kirsten Bell

Image courtesy of hawtcelebs.com

I love Kirsten so much, she’s just so swell, I could totally see her playing the wiser, older sister role to Cleo!

Sabina Mallius: Madeleine Stowe

Credit to owner

After seeing her wickedness in Revenge, I imagined she’d absolutely nail the role of playing the scheming, evil mistress to the King.

Prince Ashur Cortas: Jesse Williams

Image courtesy of rebloggy.com

I know this isn’t a popular choice because he doesn’t match the description at all, but I switched up the look of Krashia’s royal prince by keeping their skin dark, but changing the ethinicity to those of African descent with lighter eyes, which leads me to the next casted role…

Princess Amara Cortas: Logan Browning

Image courtesy of coed.com

Logan stars in the Netflix show, Dear White People, and I know I’m going against what the entire Cortas Empire is supposed to appear as—which is a more Middle Eastern ethnicity—but Logan just fits how I pictured this character!

Felix Graebas: Colby Lopez

Credit to owner

I’m a huge WWE fan, and at the time of meeting Felix in the series, this guy (ring name: Seth Rollins) was playing a similar character on my tv screen every week; arrogant but charming, definitely someone not to trust, so I put the two together, said why not? and made him my assassin and allie(sort of?) to Jonas.

Melenia: Charlize Theron

Image courtesy of pursuitist.com

Watch her Dior commercials, or see her as the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, and try and tell me she isn’t meant to play the role of a scheming immortal?

Phaedra: Ginny Gardner

Image courtesy of http://www.fanpix.net

A very small role in the whole series, but she made the most of the time she was given, this immortal and best friend to Alexius was to be played by a young blonde actress. She’s not too well known, but she can be seen on Project Almanac and Runaways, and has made appearances on shows like How to Get Away with Murder and Glee.

Kyan: Andrew Stetson

Credit to owner

So, trying to someone so good looking, so ethereal, so godlike that he could play Kyan…male model Andrew Stetson was a close enough choice for me.

Lysandra Barbas: Jana Kramer

Image courtesy of http://www.picsofcelebs.com

Jana Kramer has the tan skin & darker features, and for some reason, the country singer from One Tree Hill was someone I wanted to play Lysandra

Kurtis Curillo: Sebastian Stan

Image courtesy of celebs-place.com

This was more going back to when Sebastian Stan was on Gossip Girl (I know right?! Hard to believe), but I could totally see him playing the sneaky, cowardly, condescending childhood rival of Magnus

Selia Damora: Susan Sarandon

Image courtesy of max-pix.com

Susan Sarandon is someone who has a presence no matter who is in the room. She can be everything at once, and I totally pictured her playing King Gaius’s wicked mother.

Nerissa: Sophia Bush

Image courtesy of weheartit.com

I know Sophia Bush deserves bigger roles than this, but Nerissa was one of those minor characters that snuck up on you. I personally kept thinking she wasn’t going to make it throughout the series, but she managed to hang in their until the very end!

Olivia: Eve Torres-Gracie

Image courtesy of evetorres.com

A former WWE Superstar, Eve always had beauty that shined so bright that she could have been perfect for the big screen. Her acting chops aren’t too bad, and I know this is a choice that doesn’t fit the description of the character, I just imagined someone with grace and poise and Eve certainly fits that bill.

Timotheus: Jude Law

Image courtesy of mrreporter.com

Jude Law doesn’t even know how to be unattractive, I swear…Anyways, a household name like himself should certainly be an excellent choice to be one of the head watcher’s from the other world alongside where the series takes place!

Enzo: Joseph Cannata

Image courtesy of fusionmovies.com

Enzo, to me, was what I imagined a big, dumb, lovable, and attractive jock to look like. He’s a knight with a change of heart and gets a few moments to shine in the final story, and even has a little bit of a romantic side story with Nerissa! Joseph is a model, you’ve probably seen him on a romance novel cover here and there, and I thought he’d make a good Enzo for us to enjoy!

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Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

YA Fantasy

My Review: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1): by Morgan Rhodes

Publish Date: December 11th 2012
Number of Pages: 412 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre(s): YA Fantasy

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

This series is like a YA Game Of Thrones: There’s kingdoms, knights, stolen thrones, forbidden romance, secrets that have been killed over, deadly betrayals, a hint of magic, and war on the horizon. The main thing missing is the dragons (technically Wyverns, but I won’t get into that now) and the White Walkers.

What It’s About:

In the land of Mytica, magic that was once in abundance is now a long lost memory, and the kingdoms that rule the land are reaching an unrest with a power struggle for ultimate power.

Cleo Bellos, a privileged heir to the throne, must quickly travel to enemy territory to find a magical item thought to be lost long ago.

Jonas Agallon, a poor but proud wine merchant’s son, is fueled by anger and injustice in a need for revenge and makes a deal with the devil to lead a revolution.

Lucia Damora, adopted into the royal family of the North, learns a shocking secret of her mysterious past that could change the course of time.

Magnus Damora, being trained to be a vicious ruler by his father, finds himself torn between the ongoing battle between duty and love.

Whether they know it or not, their lives and their fates are intertwined, and entire kingdoms will fall. All the while, powerful entities from another world watch from above as it all unfolds; who will reign supreme when almost all is lost, and be the last one standing?

What I liked:

  1. The Four Different Perspectives! For anyone who’s reading my reviews so far, they’ll notice that this is a recurring favorite of mine in books. I mean, a story told from one character is good, but it’s even better when told from multiple sources. It helps create a richer, deeper story with the potential for so many bigger things to come. The four main character’s stories each follow their own path, all the while they intertwine in different ways. Each have their own good and bad qualities, so it’s harder to say that they lack depth or complexity when you see their point of view. Cleo appears as a privileged & spoiled brat, but internally she expresses a desire to break off a betrothal to a man she absolutely despises. You obviously like her until she’s seen through Jonas’s eyes when she stands and does nothing as someone he loves is taken from him forever. The complexity of the characters and their evolving relationships is an absolute driving force for this story.
  2. The Overall Buildup! The author does an amazing job of growing tension in the story, and it only gets better and better as more happens. It’s truly exciting stuff, and makes it easy to want to keep reading to see what happens next. While the author may lack originality in this story, she definitely knows how to hit the ethos in her readers, it has a certain way about it that is addicting and keeps you interested, almost obsessed to see what happens next. The romance, the secrets, the betrayals, the spilled blood and the cliffhanger at the end!
  3. The Cover Design! I will say this for the rest of the books in the series as well, but these may be some of the most beautiful book covers that I’ve ever seen! I mean, look at these:

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Incestuous Story Arc…It’s been made to be a shocking storyline twist since the Lannister twins were discovered in the tower in the very first episode of Game of Thrones, but the author goes down a tricky path when she includes it within her story, especially when its YA. While I can say it’s daring for the author to go down this route, it’s still a disturbing subject. Incest was said to be a method amongst royal families in Ancient to Medieval times as a way for them to keep their bloodlines pure, to not dilute it. George R.R. Martin even affirmed this when he researched European history that he based his bestselling novels off of. Luckily, the author calls it out in her story and makes for what it is; a taboo perversion. No one who finds out about it reacts to it in an accepting manner, and even the character who has these feelings sees how wrong it is.
  2. The Lack of Originality…If you’re looking for an innovative, never been done before type of book in the fantasy genre, this isn’t a story for that. It is filled with what just about every fantasy novel has had in the past: kingdoms at war, a runaway princess, a peasant that serves a greater purpose, long lost magic on the verge of returning, a prophecy that can change history, a cruel & corrupt king, the brooding bad boy trope, and whatever other fantasy cliché you can think of. Someone could basically call this fan-fiction of George R.R Martin’s work, just with their own world, characters, etc. Luckily, the story is still entertaining enough to get away with the lack of creativity.

Conclusion:

Overall, this is a fast-paced, entertaining read that is just the beginning of an impressive series that is a great addition to any fans of the fantasy genre! I recommend it to those who are beginners to the genre and want to try it out for the first time before getting into thicker and heavier material, or for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of surprising twists, daring and forbidden romance, endearing characters, dueling kingdoms with knights & princesses, and one that keeps your eyes glued to the pages until you hit the acknowledgements page!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell