Heart of Flames eARC Review

 

 

Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers, #2)

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GoodReads:
Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”
You are a daughter of queens.
The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.
Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.
Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.
Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.
As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.
I pray you are able to pass through the flames.

Book Details
Title: Heart of Flames (Book 2 of Crown of Feathers trilogy)
By: Nicki Pau Preto
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 11, 2020

My Review

Before we start, this is book TWO in the Crown of Feathers trilogy, and if you want to learn more about this trilogy, here’s my review for the first book.

Now, onto the review.

I’m not gonna lie, for about an hour I’ve sat here wondering what the hell to even write because this book was so magnificent I don’t think my review could do it justice.

This book picks up from the first, we have seen the consequences of book one, or at least had an inkling on some things and now we follow up fully on what this now means for our characters.

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev completely capture my heart all over again, and we even have some new character chapters. [I’ll not say what though, because, spoilers, sweetheart]

Newsflash, you know how I was like ‘omg all the characters are all so fleshed-out’ in Crown of Feathers? Well guess what, they continue to be so in Heart of Flames, I am so excited by getting to know some of the side characters more and exploring the workings of our main characters as well.

I adored the interactions between Tristan and Veronyka, I feel they just have such a natural progression and their phoenixes are even more developed. Pau Preto is a gem in giving us such growth in a novel.

Of course though as far as ships go, I still have my OTP for this and again, not going to say anything because of spoilers but AHHH I was so happy on the development on that relationship!!!

I think I may have slightly enjoyed Heart of Flames more than Crown of Feathers, but like one cm more in comparison, they’re both great novels with different focuses.

There’s more Val in this one which I loved, not as much as others who will go unnamed, you know who you are, but, still love Val and I was sooooo happy that we still have Sparrow in the crew. She’s admittedly my favorite character.

I will say we do get more of Elliott as well but will refrain on adding more until you’ve had a chance to read it guys!

Nicki Pau Preto’s world-building continues to be one of my favorite things in existence in the world of books. She astounds without overwhelming the reader, we get to expand out further into her world and see new lands while getting to know previously introduced ones better.

Veronyka, Elliott, and Sev possibly undergo the most character development and it’s brilliant. Especially where Veronyka is concerned, because she’s still coming out of her shell. This makes sense considering all she’s endured as being under Val’s thumb. She’s growing as a person, she’s growing as phoenix rider, and as a friend, and it’s just beautiful to see.

With Sev we see him coming into his own as well, we know he means well, but as Trix once told him you do what you’re good at, and the reader sees Sev embracing his personality traits that some may not always approve of, while also struggling with this desire to be different/do something else.

Val is Val.

That is all I will say about her lol, but, I loved seeing her and holy cow the ending, THE ENDING  IS MAGNIFICENT.

Pros:
– Well developed characters
– Amazing and expansive world building
– A perfect person that you love to hate
– Characters that are not always what they seem
– Great character growth as well, seriously, it’s impressive
– Phoenixes
– More Worldbuilding
– Development of Pheronia
– The past really influencing the future
– Phoenix Riders
– Magic

Cons:
– It’s so hard to not want to scream ‘NO’ while reading
– This will cause you to stay up super late
– You will ship ships so hard you didn’t even know it was possible and it will change your life.
– You may not like how much worldbuilding there is, so I’ll say beware now, but, it’s glorious if you like worldbuilding, I promise.
– This is not a relaxing read, please look to points 1 & 3 again.
– WHAT WAIT IS THIS FOR BOOK 3?!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion!

To sum it up: IT WAS EGG-CELLENT. READ IT.

Content Warning: There is death and violence.< Will update this a bit more upon a skim through it!

 

 

My Great Reads of 2019

 

So these are books I read, in general, this year, they may have come out this year, they may have come out before, but, I wanted to just give you all a bit of a highlights reel of books I didn’t get to include on the other lists whether because they didn’t fit the genre or because I just loved too many of a certain genre lol, either way, here are some of my favorites.

 

YA Fantasy/Scifi

The Fever King

Shadow of the Fox

Soul of the Sword

Heart of Mist

Reign of Mist

The Phantom Forest

Spin the Dawn

We Hunt the Flame

A Spark of White Fire

Tiger Queen

Realm of Knights

The Deathless Girls

Gravemaidens

Tears of Frost

Girls of Paper and Fire

The Last Namsara

The Sky Weaver

This Mortal Coil

Fawkes

Blood Heir

The Weight of a Soul

Sorcery of Thorns

Reverie

Contemporary

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Postscript

YA Contemporary

Becoming Beatriz

Coral

The Naseby Horses

 

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Dead Man’s Blues

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The Devil Upstairs

A Death in Harlem

Starve Acre

Fantasy/Scifi

Anna Undreaming

The Bird King

The Little Snake

The Heart of Stone

The Veiled Threat

Lost Solace

Angel Mage

The Black Hawks

Practical Magic

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Graphic Novels

Horizontal Collaboration

Bloodlust & Bonnets

 

Other

The Art of Taxidermy

Women’s Weird

Foxfire, Wolfskin

Pursuit: The Balvenie Stories Collection

The Company of Eight [MG Fantasy]

Sense and Sensibility

Historical Fiction

The Pursuit of William Abbey

The Crown Agent

The Penelopiad

 

And here are the ones I will be screaming about again and again because that’s how good they are:

Crown of Feathers

[^There’s going to be a readalong of this starting very soon!^]

The Return of King Lillian

A House of Rage and Sorrow

Kingdom of Souls

Girls of Storm and Shadow

House of Salt and Sorrows

Reverie eARC Review

 

 

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

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GoodReads:
Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

I know this is December, the year is almost at an end, but let me tell you, I think this may be one of the best books of 2020.

The LGBTQ rep in this was amazing!

It was a diverse and wonderful read and I would gift this to every single teen I know who likes to read, hands down, no matter their genre preference because this book defies genres. It is magical realism but it’s also the story of teenagers trying to work together and all the while we have Kane trying to figure out who he is. There’s intrigue, drama, love, diversity, magic, and the power of what the subconscious can do. I’m totally for this book, I loved it.

But, don’t be fooled, this is not. meant to be a deep soul searching novel for all the teenagers in this book. The focus of ‘soul searching’ is limited to Kane as he is the center of this story. This is also a very plot-driven book. So, if you’re one who likes the focus of a story to be on characters and their development, you may not love this as much as I did.

Or maybe you will because there’s a drag queen sorceress villain.

So. I mean, seriously, how could you not be at the very least a little excited?

I think this was really well-paced, I was a little hesitant seeing how long it was after having just finished another longer book, but then I read the first chapter and I was hooked. The story is always moving, even when they’re not in the midst of action, there’s still a purpose to it all.

Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat from like chapter 2 onward, it was crazy, and it’s so rare that I’m like that while reading a book. [Apparently reading a billion thrillers will numb you a little to things lol]

There’s romance, but it’s again not the focus, though, I did enjoy it every time it showed up because I shipped Kane and his LI so hard, they are adorable.

All the characters were cinnamon rolls and I loved them and you just want to protect them all…from the Author of course 😉

Seriously, give this book a chance, it shows you that sometimes your fantasies/daydreams/dreams are more powerful than you think, that there is a price to pay from lingering in them. And that just because you thought them up, doesn’t mean you’re safe from them.

It also shows you how friendships can be tested in the most extreme, and the power of trust.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC in exchange for my honest review

Pros:
-Kane is so amazingly gay, he has rainbow powers
-Kane is a really strong and sympathetic character
-Dean Flores is precious
-Ursala also precious
-Remember they are all cinnamon rolls that need our protection
-Reveries are pretty cool and dangerous
-Evil Drag Queen Sorceress
-Creepy monsters, or are they?
-Magic

Cons:
-Plot-driven, not character-driven
-The Reveries were slightly confusing at times
-I wanted to understand more how the magic worked
-You wanted things to be a bit more fleshed out before the ending happened
-Wish there would have been more of his family in it, I totally got why his sister was in as much/not as much as she was, it made total sense. Could have seen more of his parents though.
-Why is there not more??

Sorcery of Thorns eARC Review

 

 

DO NOT JUDGE ME, I KNOW THIS IS A VERY LATE REVIEW.

I…I just got busy and finally, I read it. It’s part of my attempt to slay the crap out of my NetGalley list so I can go into 2020 not feeling overwhelmed lol.

We’ll see how that goes hahaha.

Onto the book!

Sorcery of Thorns

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GoodReads:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

I decided I couldn’t let 2019 pass without having read this. book. Rogerson has nailed down such an awesome magic system and the libraries are definitely my favorite part. I mean, magical grimoires, magisters who get their magic from a demon bond, and librarians who are absolutely kick-ass? YES TO ALL THAT.

Silas and Magister Thorn were hands down my favourites but Elisabeth had so much heart and sincerity it was impossible not to care for our protagonist. She’s a cinnamon roll with amazing strength [physically and internally] and I adored that she was tall.

As a short person, I want to be tall. I want to be able to look over people’s heads and I think that so often we associate female characters with being fierce and dainty, but, what’s wrong with being tall and fierce and with a kind heart? We need all sorts of different looking characters.

The complexity of the bond with demons and magisters is so unique. One provides magic, one provides years. I loved watching Elisabeth learn more about magisters, to realize maybe learning from the Library, where magic is held as a sinister danger, could have led to some biased views on her part. But, she’s not above learning to adjust her views.

Elisabeth and Silas’s interactions were some of my favorite to read, they had such a unique bond and the honesty between them is what I enjoyed most. But I definitely appreciated the friendship between Katrien and Elisabeth and I want Katrien to have a book of her own lol.

The banter that came from Nathaniel was A++ stuff, and I loved him so much, but this is where I give you all my grievances.

The only reason I did not rate this five stars is because, despite how much I absolutely LOVED this book, I just felt like something was missing from Nathaniel and Elisabeth’s interactions and relationship in general. I just wanted them to have a more genuine connection than we got. I did feel as if Silas and Elisabeth had better interaction, not romantically, just for a genuine friendship.

There are more moments of Silas and Elisabeth interacting than Nathaniel and Elisabeth and because of the lack of interaction, and the shallow level of their interactions, I found it hard to believe they were connected so deeply.

The ending was on point!! I definitely found myself going ‘WHY’ even though I had a feeling I knew what was coming, it didn’t make it any less enjoyable or impactful.

The pacing was well done, Silas and Elisabeth well fleshed out, and great development in Elisabeth. We needed more Katrien, but, I can live with the awesome moments she did have, and Nathaniel’s snark/sarcasm was amazing and aspirational lol.

There was a superb villain, and I could have read about the libraries all-day long.

As many have asked, why is this a standalone?! I NEED MORE!

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.

Pros:
-Unique Magic System
-Magical Libraries
-Kick-ass Librarians
-Katrien
-Silas’s fashion sense
-Nathaniel’s wit
-Elisabeth’s heart
-Devious villain with devious plotting
-Books with thoughts and souls
-Magical Books

Cons:
-Not Enough Katrien
-Not many moments with Elisabeth and Nathaniel
-Not enough magical library moments
-Sometimes could be too predictable
-Shallow feeling to the relationship between Elisabeth and Nathaniel
-Wanted More World Building because it seemed awesome
-It’s a standalone

 

About the Author

Margaret  Rogerson

Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Tumblr

Harbinger – Celestial Creatures Book 3 – Cover Reveal

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“I’m no longer human. I am Uriel: The Harbinger of Chaos, The Keeper of the Gates, The Begetter of Life, The Dam of The Ends, and I came to take back what’s mine.”

The final battle has begun!

Harbinger GoodReads Link

**The Release Date of this is pending, but look out for it in Fall 2020!**

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Here’s Harbinger  looking fancy next to books 1 & 2

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Heavenward Celestial Creatures Book 1 Universal Purchase Link

Hallow Celestial Creatures Book 2 Universal Purchase Link

 

Here are my reviews for Books 1 and 2

 

About the Author

Olga Gibbs

Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers.
She is currently writing the final books in the “Celestial creatures” series and another stand-alone psychological crime thriller.
Please visit her author website www.OlgaGibbs.com for more information on upcoming books.

Author Links

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon | GoodReads | BookBub

Blood Heir eARC Review

 

 

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

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GoodReads:
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

 

My Review

 

** I’m writing this review from the eARC I received last month.

I admit I don’t know what all changes had been made as I did not read it before it was pulled from publication and then put back, so, there’s a lot I cannot comment on.

I’m simply rating it four stars because I really had fun reading it, but, I will go in-depth with my review, and I also have to say I’m certainly not qualified to be critical of it on certain important matters but I am happy to read the other reviews and listen to others to better understand.**

So, let me get onto my review now.

We start off with this scared young woman, a princess without a kingdom in a lot of ways, afraid of herself and what she could do more than anything else. Why? Because not only is she has what they call an affinity but a blood infinity, capable of great and terrible things. Still, she intends to bring her father’s murderer to justice, to win back her own right to be a Princess and live in the palace and there’s a very long road to get there.

Ana’s story is a bit of an Anastasia Romanov story, but, also, its own unique tale of Affinites, and has a lot of Russian folklore/traditional influences for the Cyrilian Empire.

Ana has been presumed dead after the tragic incidences that lead to the point in time where you meet her, but this has helped thus far in her search for her Father’s killer.

Ramson is a bit of an ass, but, he is definitely the one that made me grin the most while reading. He is in a lot of ways really not a good person, BUT with the potential for it, and he’s not strictly a bad person either, I would say he’s selfish and in the grey area for a good chunk of this book, but his development was probably even more satisfying to read about than Ana’s and that’s saying something for me.

Ramson is NOT an Affinite, and that is a nice counterweight to Ana’s affinity. Though he’s from the underbelly of the crime world, he is still more accepted in society than Ana, as she has a power that sets her aside.

Most if not almost all Affinites are indentured servants, the thing that sets them apart from others, what should make them more powerful, has been there downfall as far as the Cyrilian Empire is concerned. So, this is of course, when boiled down, slavery.

Ana never dared to open her eyes to that fact when she was living in the palace as Princess, but now that she’s on her own in the ‘real world,’ Ana is forced to see the truth. I love that she went from seeing things from how only privileged tend to view them, to seeing things how they actually are, she is understanding how her Empire, and more importantly, her Father had faults. She knows now that there needs to be change and that wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been accused of murdering her father.

Ana is naive in a lot of ways because until a year ago she led an incredibly sheltered life, and as an accused killer she’s also had to keep to the shadows, so, in this book we get to watch her have her eyes opened.

May was possibly my favorite character, Ana’s friend, a young indentured child looking for her mother, and though much younger than Ana, in a lot of ways, it was May who took care of Ana.

Ramson sees Ana as something to be used, she’s a means to an end and so he’s completely jaded and corrupt in comparison to Ana and yet the balance between them is so perfect and eventually, we do see this great development in him as we do in Ana.

The Affinites have been oppressed and enslaved and the Cyrilian Empire is to blame, the rest of the world has their own views of the Affinities but the moment they step foot into the empire, they’re forced into a ‘lawful’ employment contract. Now there could be a plot of bringing down every non-affinite, of making them pay for all the crimes that have been done against Affinites.

So the story’s focus is on the Affinites, and there’s more than just angry people wanting revenge, there’s the hint of revolution and Ana’s possible play in changing things if she can get her title back.

Now, for the bad parts, there were at times where Ana was so naive and impulsive that you did want to shake the crap out of her. And Ramson was a bit overly selfish, so again, wanted to shake him too.

But as far as the writing goes, there were a lot of stereotypes and cliches.

For me, that’s not a bad thing, but I know that it can be off-putting for many.

I’ve not read Six of Crows but I’ve heard there are some uncanny similarities to Ramson and…Inej? I think I’ve heard, so, that’s something to keep in mind.

Again, the cliches and stereotypes were probably the biggest issues with the writing style.

I thought this was actually a super enjoyable read, I felt that Ramson and Ana had great banter, and more than that, I felt like Ana went through a lot of character development.

Pros:
-Anastasia Vibes
-Slow Burn Romance ftw
-Magic
-Grumpy Cinnamon Roll
-Scary Bloody Cinnamon Roll
-Affinites are amazing
-The injustices are well done and heartbreaking
-Political Plots
-Revolution Plots
-Murder Plots
-ALL THE THINGS PLOTS
-Fun escapes

Cons:
-Similarities to other stories possibly therefore might be ‘overdone’
-Issues before it was pulled from publication and then put back out, not sure how well things were resolved as I didn’t read the other eARC
-Ramson may be too selfish
-Ana may be too naive
-Cliches in abundance
-Stereotypes in abundance
-At times Ana did feel a bit immature, but I would say that was because of her sheltered life.

Overall, I give this four cups of…hot chocolate. [See what I did there? Cause it’s holiday season?]

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager UK for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

 

About the Author

Amélie Wen Zhao

Amélie Wen Zhao is a Paris-born Chinese national who fell in love with stories since she was old enough to hold a book. Raised in an international community in Beijing, she had the opportunity to grow up steeped in the values and teachings of three different cultures. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Les Misérables, and Wuthering Heights were among her favorite works.

It wasn’t long before she wanted to tell her own tales. After graduating from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in 2014, Amélie began working as a finance professional by day, and writing by night. Her young adult fantasy trilogy, BLOOD HEIR, debuts in 2019 from Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House.

Amélie hopes to empower young readers with messages of acceptance, strength, and love through her works, and to continue to push the boundaries of young adult literature by exploring new, cross-cultural themes.

Author Links

Webpage | Twitter | Instagram

Girls of Storm and Shadow eARC Review

 

 

 

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)

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GoodReads:
In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warning: This book has death, alcohol abuse, violence/gore, and the dealing with PTSD/Long term trauma due to sexual assault, abuse/violence.

Hi, my name is Haley, and this book broke me.

Which means 5/5 of course.

Onto the review.

This pretty much picks up where ‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ left off, just letting a bit of time lapse [like a matter of a weeks].

Lei escaped the Moon Ball, she had done a service to Papers everywhere with her actions that night, and now?

Now it’s time to prepare for War. The time is near to strike a blow to the Royal Court that will completely end the reign of terror that has been the life of papers everywhere since the first Bull King ascended to rule.

Wren and Lei must go on a ‘quest’ to get more allies for the Hannos and they’re joined by fellows all joined together for the same mission.

Bo and Nitta were hands down my favorite characters though I also really enjoyed Merrin our demon owl and flier extraordinaire.

Wren’s instructor Caen teaches Lei how to handle a weapon and I really enjoyed the fact that Lei is having to learn while surrounded by basically masters. But where she likes in weapons training, Lei makes up with heart, she’s still kind and strong in other ways.

One thing this book deals with is the long term effects of trauma, how, just because you’ve left/escaped a situation doesn’t mean that you can just leave it all behind. It will follow you in a lot of ways, so, while Lei and Wren are together and out of the clutches of the Hidden Palace, they’re still struggling to deal with the events they went through there.

This also means that while Lei and Wren are going on adventures and still having fun, they are in some heart breaking ways, not the same girls they were before.

Ngan’s handling of this was SO well done. Both girls deal with what happened to them in different ways, and with what they’ve been through, this also means that in a lot of ways they’re closer than before, as they’re no longer surrounded by girls who understand their situation but others who can’t truly understand what they’ve been through.

Still, as all couples do, Wren and Lei have their own set of relationship challenges. AND ON MY WORD THEY BREAK YOUR HEART. NGAN DESTROYS YOU BETWEEN THAT AND OTHER HAPPENINGS THAT I SHALL NOT SPEAK OF.

Anyway, this book is the lead up to what promises to be an epic showdown, and I’m 100% there for their mission and challenges they’ve faced.

The thing is, war comes at a cost, but what will the cost be for Lei and Wren, and who is willing to pay too much?

Pros:
– Lei and Wren
– Bo and Nitta
– Queer love to make your heart soar
– Desert ship
– More amazing world building
– Adventures galore
– Squad Goals
– Sobering look at what trauma can do to people in the long term
– Still get to have quick flashes of what’s going on in the Hidden Palace
– Lei who is a cinnamon roll, wielding a dagger.

Cons:
– This book will break your heart
– This book ruins your life [albeit in the best ways]
– Chapter 23. You know what you did.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder for a chance to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’re wondering how I’m handling this book, well, I’m not lol.

 

About the Author

Natasha Ngan

Natasha Ngan is a NYT bestselling author and yoga teacher. She grew up between Malaysia, where the Chinese side of her family is from, and the UK. This multicultural upbringing continues to influence her writing, and she is passionate about bringing diverse stories to teens. Natasha studied Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a social media consultant and fashion blogger.
She recently moved to Paris, where she likes to imagine she drifts stylishly from brasserie to brasserie, notepad in one hand, wineglass in the other. In reality, she spends most of her time getting lost on the metro and confusing locals with her French.
She is represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary. Her YA novels THE ELITES, THE MEMORY KEEPERS, and GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE are out now. GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW will be published in November 2019 by Hachette.

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