Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky
Series #: 3
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

The epic tale concludes with The King Will Kill You, as the newly-crowned Queen Amarande and Luca, her one true love, seek peace among the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky. Wartorn and regicidal, all five kingdoms must confront the power-mad king determined to seize control of the continent–and kill Amarande and Luca in the process.


Review

What did I think of this final book in the series? I was underwhelmed. The first book was so good, and I had high hopes for the rest of the series. My one major problem with this book was it was pretty much the same plotline from the first two books recycled. I felt that it didn’t add anything new, or any more depth to the story.

Much like that, I felt the characters themselves were rather static. I quite liked Ferdinand and I used to love Luca and Ama. They weren’t bad characters by any stretch of the imagination, I just didn’t feel that they were the best. Ama was still a fierce warrior and still determined, but it was like all the other books. Nothing new was added that made me want to root for her.

Sure, this book had politics, but I felt that the politics were the most interesting of the parts of the book, and even then it was slightly boring. I had really wanted this book to end on a high note, but it just didn’t hit right to me. There was something I felt missing from the book.

All in all, I feel like this trilogy could have been a duology. There was so much repetitive parts.

What I did continue to like in this book was the world building. I think Henning is a talented world builder, and that continued in this book from the previous two. She is also an excellent writer.

For me, I wanted more. One of the good aspects of this book is we do finally get to see Ama and Luca interacting more. The previous two books it was like they weren’t together for the majority of the book. In this one, we finally get to see how they love each other and respect each other. I enjoyed those parts as well, since it was a long time coming and very drawn out!

In the end, I liked the book’s ending. I felt it was appropriate for the story, and while I would have liked to see more expanded upon, I am pretty happy with how the book ended. I just wish the villains had been more in this book — or not included.

A solid three star book for me.

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Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sky & Sand
Series #: 2
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love.


Review

The sequel to The Princess Will Save You was good. It wasn’t anything like I expected it to be, however. I thought for sure that this was a duology but the way it ended made me think that it is going to be a series. Anyways, I’m not sure if I liked it more or less than the first book. As I said previously it was very different than what I was expecting. While this book did have some adventure like the first, this one was more political intrigue than anything else. So don’t go into this expecting a lot of action. It just isn’t there the same way that it was in the first.

I do enjoy Henning’s writing, and it held up very well in this book. Henning is always able to compose a cohesive narrative that ties everything in together. Some of the moments and dialogue that were written were obviously inspired from The Princess Bride as well as some other books, but I think that it worked in the long run here. Despite all that, I think that there is a lot to be said for a book which manages to balance dialogue and prose in even amounts like Henning does.

The world building in this book didn’t expand too much. We get to know about a few other kingdoms that are tied in, and through that we also get glimpses of the past. It works well overall as it sets the stage for what happens in this book. My personal preference maybe would have to divided it into parts and put the past section at the beginning. But in the end it doesn’t really matter where it ended up in the book, as it served its purpose.

The characters in this book are almost all the same as last time with a few surprising additions to the cast. To say anymore would be spoilers. But for those looking for romance in this book you won’t find much. Ama and Luca are separated for most of this book, each with their own missions and quests. They meet once or twice, but overall their page time together is probably less than one hundred pages. To go along with that we have several different third person POV chapters, from Luca, Ama and a few new characters. Thankfully as it is in third person it is easy to tell whose POV we’re in. I enjoyed both Luca and Ama’s story, although I didn’t like one part of Ama’s all that much.

The plot in this as I said, was very political intrigue based. Lots of things happening, lots of plot twists and turns that you don’t expect. In the last book you knew who was good and bad. In this book that isn’t nearly as easy to decipher. In other words, don’t trust anyone. I like how the first part of the story in book one carried over through this one all the way until the end. I think that was a well done overarching plot. The rest of this plot still remains similar to book one in fighting for the throne(s). Ama is still fighting for hers, and Ines is trying to get hers. And this spills over into this book, and that’s where things start to get complicated.

The pacing in this I think was fine. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, but it was slower paced than the first because of the aforementioned political intrigue. It was a well done pacing too, because you wanted to get to the next page and find out the ending of the book.

Overall, I think this was a good book!

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Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him. When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown. But Amarande was raised to be a warriornot a sacrifice. In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.


Review

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Princess Will Save You was such an interesting take on the damsel in distress trope. It was magnificent in many ways (and that ending!!!) because it took the idea of being a Princess and did something more with it. Yes, the Princess wears dresses but she can also fight! I really loved the components of this book and how they all meshed together. I will admit, this was one of my most anticipated reads and I was seriously worried that it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations, but it really was a brilliant book and I very much enjoyed reading it.

I really love Henning’s writing. It helps the book shine and stand out. Her writing is easy to read, and flows beautifully. I get sucked in and it works well. This book is a bit less prose-filled that Sea Witch was, but it also has a completely different tone as well. This book in fact impressed me with all the dialogue. There were some amazing dialogue scenes throughout this book that really popped to me, especially some of the ones that were in the beginning. I think that Henning’s writing really helped with the pacing as well.

One of the few issues I had with this book was the pacing wasn’t for me. The beginning was very engrossing and I was desperate to see what happened next, and yet, we get towards the middle of the book, and I feel like it lost steam. There are points in the book in which the pacing felt a little off overall to me, and while it wasn’t a big thing, I did feel it felt off for me. I was never thrown out of the book by the pacing, but I did have a few moments where I was tempted to skim the book.

The plot was a little more complicated than a damsel in distress story. There are other underlying factors as well. And I think that is where some of the pacing got a little confused. You’ve got several different plot strands all running at the same time, and there was a bit of bouncing back and forth, which I really think was the main issue. They do work together, and I did like seeing how everything was coming together, I just felt better transitions would have helped smooth out some of the problems I had. Anyways, I really enjoyed the plot and I was rooting for Ama the whole time and screaming the other half of the time.

I will admit, I loved Ama as a character. She was a good mix of characteristics that I felt made her feel “real” to me. You also have several sets of adversaries in this book, and you want them all to fail so that Ama can triumph. Or at least, that was the way that I felt when I read the book. I liked that I hated all the “bad” characters because I was practically shouting the whole time in my anger at them. Henning did a good job crafting the bad guys. She made them totally unlikeable. Overall, I didn’t mind the romance in this book, but I do wish it had been a bit more developed!

The world building in this was just enough to give you a taste, but not so overwhelming that you were getting all worldbuilding and nothing else. I felt that it did what it needed to do to push the story forward.

My last thoughts are: I THOUGHT THIS WAS A STANDALONE. But that ending makes me think otherwise, and now I have to wait for another book? I don’t want to!!! Anyways, I really did enjoy this book, and it was cute!

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Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Sea Witch
Series #: 2
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.

Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?

Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption. 


Review

Evie is the Sea Witch, and when a mermaid princess comes to her seeking help, she gives it for a price. This puts her on the bad side of the princess’s father. Meanwhile, Runa, the twin of the princess is desperate to save her sister and so she too asks the Sea Witch for help. Will they all manage to get what they want?

The sharpest of things keeps its edge even in the dullest of settings.

I enjoyed the first book, and I was so excited for a second book. I thought that it would continue to be absolutely amazing and that I would not hate this book. Sadly, this book does not live up to its predecessor. There was something timeless and different about Sea Witch, however in Sea Witch Rising much of that charm was lost. There was nothing that I really loved about this book, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I just felt much of what I liked in the first book was absent in this one. I really wish I had loved it. This is going to be a fairly short review, as I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book.

But now, my eyes are open.

First off, the beginning of the book was actually interesting. I thought that it was going to be good, but the further I got into the book, the less and less interested I became in it. It wasn’t nearly as good as the original in all ways. I do think the plot in and of itself was more straight to the little mermaid story than the last book, and I had really appreciated how the last book twisted that. This kept that same theme, but it didn’t resonate with me in the same way. Overall I found the plots themselves weak. I feel as if everything was highly anticlimactic, when it should have been more so…

“Love is worth suffering and sacrifice if it’s true.”

(The above quote was my favorite from the whole book.)

Evie was the only minimally interesting character to me. I loved Evie in the first book. I thought there was a lot to be said for her character. And I still liked her in this one, even if I felt it was a bit odd. I really do believe that Evie is still my favorite character. I’d had high hopes for Runa but I never connected with her character at all. I liked the idea of playing on sisterly bonds, but it didn’t succeed in my opinion. And I felt that was a main theme of the book.

The writing was still as good as the first one. Henning is a great writer, and I think her storytelling skills are great, but I just felt this book was overall lackluster. The first book was an original take, and this book clearly sought to replicate that. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me. I had wanted so much more for this book!

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Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Sea Witch
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Nik, Anna and Evie are best friends until Anna drowns — and Evie is forever changed. The people in her town call her “witch”, but little do they know how true it is. One day, a girl appears who looks just like Anna, but consistently denies it. Evie doesn’t believe it — but what is she to do about it?


Review

I was excited about this book — A The Little Mermaid retelling? Sign me up! I didn’t know what to expect, except for the fact that the main character was to be the future Ursula. I didn’t have too many expectations other than it had magic and mermaids. There is little more that will please me than that. 

The one thing that really surprised me? There was so much history in this book! It was awesome, because I love history and Henning incorporated it so well into the book, I almost didn’t realize it was Denmark! There’s something about how the inclusion of history and how it ties in with history that is so intriguing to me. And Henning does it so well, she subtlety explains how witch craft and witches were viewed in this society. It was neatly done and I was impressed with it. 

I liked all the characters. As other people have mentioned, Nik was allowed to be romantic too, and that was a delightful change and I loved it. Evie too, was a great character. She showed great strength and determination, but she also was always willing to help her friends, as one story illustrates at the beginning of the book. As far as the other characters go, you’ll just have to read the book to find out! 

As far as plot, it was definitely a character driven book. There was a lot less plot and action than I was thinking there would be. I thought there would be a lot more things going on than there were. But it wasn’t, there were a few story lines (romance of course was one) but nothing action or adventure oriented. It was in fact quite slow. Which I think has thrown and will throw a lot of people off. It’s a slow paced, slow building story that doesn’t have a big bang payoff at the end like a lot of books do. But it does have some, and it was a stunner! 

I personally didn’t mind the slow pacing, because it was nice, I wasn’t tense or stressed about what was going to happen. 

The only thing that I really didn’t like the was italics sections, the parts with the maritime/mermaid parts. Ironically, the parts I thought I was going to love, I didn’t. 

But overall, this was a great book and I am so excited for the sequel!

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