Author: Rachel Gillig
Series:
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: adult/YA crossover
ARC?: yes

Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.

Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

ALL I NEED TO SAY IS I NEED THE NEXT ONE ASAP. AAAA IT WAS GOOD

Like what do I even say about this book??? I don’t think I have any words for it. The beginning is a little slow at first and you’re kind of scratching your head going… Is there a point to this/where is this going? BUT THEN you get to the amazingness that is the rest of the book. I just fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Elspeth and Ravyn. They’re so… Ugh. Anyways this is somewhat of an enemies to lovers kind of book but not exactly. It’s got a very gothic kind of feel to it, but it’s a darker and more atmospheric fantasy. I found it very enjoyable. It has all the vibes that I could ever love in a book. I feel like this book was made for me.

I liked how the characters interacted, and I liked their character arcs. In tone I might relate this to Allison Saft books! It also gave me For the Wolf vibes. I can’t quite put my finger on what else it felt like… But it kept me engrossed the whole way through.

The concept with the cards? SO GOOD. I loved it — obsessed with it in fact. I love the idea of Tarot, but it isn’t something I know a whole lot about, but how it was weaved in through this book? Top notch.

I don’t know why I thought this was a standalone — it isn’t — but I am extremely excited for the next book in the series.

I felt the writing in this book was amazing and I couldn’t get enough of it – the pace worked well for me. There were some funny moments thrown in amongst the more tense moments which gave a nice balance.

I loved the romance in this book. It was dreamy and done well. I wanted to smoosh them together. Ravyn’s family was also amazing, and I appreciated how this felt like a darker fairytale, perhaps a bit of a reimagined Cinderella? I quite enjoyed that. I want Ravyn’s family in fact. I need more of his family. ALL OF THEM.

The world that Gillig has created fascinated me, and I want to know more about it!

If you like dark fantasy, atmospheric fantasy, a bit of gothic horror, tarot or anything similar then this book is absolutely going to be for you!

P.S. This is probably one of my favorite books of the year and I am begging you to read it.

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Author: Adalyn Grace
Series: Belladonna
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy, gothic
Age Group: YA
ARC?: yes

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.


Review

Thank you to the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

So, I was excited going into this book because it said gothic on it, and I’m into pretty much anything gothic. And boy, did I get gothic! I also got a mix of fantasy elements that I love so much. And Death. Death was great as well. In some ways the atmosphere — something — about the book reminded me of Sorcery of Thorns, one of my all time favorite books. As well as Down Comes the Night. The combination in this book was just so well done. I was living for it. It is going to be a must re-read this fall when it’s spooky season. (I promise, you won’t be disappointed!)

Grace’s writing has only improved since her debut series, and I was gripped by it in this book. It was great before, and it is even better now. While the themes are different and styles are different, she does both very well! I found it easy to read and very addicting. I kept wanting to hug Signa. I loved her so much in this book. I adored her story — I felt connected with her even though she experienced things I hadn’t. And that is Grace’s talent, she can make you connect with a character even if it isn’t something you have experience. You feel empathy with them.

Also, the prologue was amazing . One of the best prologues that I have ever read to be honest. And I mean…the prologue was something else. What a way to get you into a book and keep you reading! Hook, line and sinker! This book was a slow burn in many ways; the romance, the plot, the world building, but it was beautifully done. I was obsessed with the idea of this glittering world, of “witches” of the personification of Death.

The romance in this book was much like Grace’s previous, it was slow and twisting; I rather enjoyed those aspects of it. Then you had the complicated factor of the mystery. Honestly, the mystery and ghosts were some of the best parts of this book. It incorporated well into the book, and it gave the book more body. And I love a gothic mystery that incorporates paranormal elements. I’m a sucker for it, and Grace had all of that.

And I loved the plot. I kept flipping pages because I wanted to know what was going to happen next! Suffice to say, I LOVED this book. What was also nice was the MC was 19! An older YA character! Hurray! This book literally checked all the boxes I could ask for. And I am addicted. ADDICTED I TELL YOU.

I need to get my hands on the sequel because HOLY HECK I can’t wait to see what happens next! This is definitely going to be one of my favorite books of the year. I already have THREE editions ordered.

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Author: Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, Sandhya Menon
Series:
Series #:
Genre: romance
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

The town of Moon Ridge was founded 400 years ago and everyone born and raised there knows the legend of the young woman who perished at the stroke of twelve that very same night, losing the life she was set to embark on with her dearest love. Every century since, one day a year, the Lady of Moon Ridge descends from the stars to walk among the townsfolk, conjuring an aura upon those willing to follow their hearts’ desires.

“To summon joy and love in another’s soul
For a connection that makes two people whole
For laughter and a smile that one can never miss
Sealed before midnight with a truehearted kiss.”

This year at Moon Ridge High, a group of friends known as The Coven will weave art, science, and magic during a masquerade ball unlike any other. Onny, True, and Ash believe everything is in alignment to bring them the affection, acceptance, and healing that can only come from romance—with a little help from Onny’s grandmother’s love potion.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. And as midnight approaches, The Coven learn that it will take more than a spell to recognize those who offer their love and to embrace all the magic that follows.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

“Byron Frost might have the name and face of a poet, but he had the soul of a mechanical pencil.”

The BANTER oh my god.

AND THE NAMES IN THIS BOOK. MR. BRIGHTSIDE IS MARRIED TO ROSS GRIMJOY.

“Alexander the Great-Looking”!!!

“’Since no one got all ten right, no one gets the extra points. Alas. Maybe this upsets you, but I have found that bitterness only enhances the sweetness of existence…’ Mr. Brightside paused to look dramatically out the window.”

I am literally keeling over in stitches.

“Practicing my lurking. I’m interning with Krampus for the holidays”

I literally…cannot breathe.

And then you had beautiful lines like,

“She made him feel all five senses at once, and the bright light of her spirit consumed him.”

“Even though she was scared of the house, Ash swore he could smell the beginnings of Halloween magic in the air — clove and honey with a hint of moonlight to come.”

“The words dissipated from her suddenly dry mouth like fog burning up in the sun”

“I think Orion Parker may be my ‘solid, mortal man’ and I may indeed prefer him to the centaur I was holding out for”

This book was amazing. Normally I don’t like YA contemporary romances. But THIS BOOK. I was smiling and sighing all the way through it. I cannot explain how cute and atmospheric it is. This will be the perfect fall/Halloween read.

I loved ‘The Coven’ and their friendship. I like how supportive they were of each other, and in general I felt that the authors did an incredible job of selling both the friendships and the romances. I feel that their styles merged so wonderfully together, as they already had similar styles. It was a seamless blend that just hit the right tone and spot.

Plus, all the amazing one liners in the books. Onny’s story was definitely my favorite (I have a soft spot for “enemies-to-lovers” and grumpy hero. This was just so adorable and I can’t stop loving it.

A PERFECT witchy read for October.

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Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Series:
Series #:
Genre: horror, mystery/thriller
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out in a bid for an inheritance that will leave Helen Vaughan either rich…or dead.

Helen Vaughan doesn’t know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven’t spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she’s shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she’ll be left with nothing.

There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen’s dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night?And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?

With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.


Review

I so wanted to like this book, it sounded like the perfect horror/mystery book. I’ve enjoyed other YA horror books, so I went into this one with an open mind. Yet…something about it just didn’t work for me overall.

I loved the book Hill House, and I’ve never seen Knives Out (so I can’t say how it compared to that), but I felt that the book was a tad bit…boring? I liked Helen, just felt that as a reader I wasn’t invested with her. What I did like was her relationship with Bryony. It was a bit of an insta-love romance, but I liked it anyways.

I even liked the atmosphere of the book. At times it felt a little campy and reminiscent of the original Dark Shadows TV show, but I liked that aspect of it.

There is a weird connection with the house and ghosts — and those are things I absolutely adore in books. I am still not sure how I felt about them in this book.

I think one of the issues I was having was with the writing style of this book. It just didn’t jive with me. I felt some aspects of the dialogue were stilted, and just awkward to read.

I liked Desmond a lot in this book and how he was helping Helen. Some of their interactions were really amusing.

There was a twist I wasn’t expecting; and I did enjoy that part. It kept me reading until the end of the book!

The book was good and I think it is going to appeal to a lot of people, it just didn’t end up being the best book for me.

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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: Kelly Devos
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: mystery, thriller, horror
Age Group: Young Adult
ARC?: Yes

For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets, this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.

Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.

She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.

But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.

Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history—just as they get the film’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.


Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book is going to be a huge draw for teen readers! It combines many things that are relatable: being an influencer, struggling with college decisions, getting rejections, dating, issues with parents and so on. To top it all off it is a murder mystery. A murder mystery in a Romanian castle that has to do with Dracula. Sounds intriguing right? And I think for teens it will be. In many ways the style of this book reminds me of Tom Ryan’s I Hope You’re Listening, Kit Frick’s I Killed Zoe Spanos, the Truly Devious series and the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series. This is a YA book, however it does remind me some of Riley Sager’s adult books. For me it is almost the teen version of those. IIt goes back between present and the past (where the main events took place) and it is interspersed with Alex’s interviews with the police in the aftermath. 

I found 90% of the characters unlikeable, and I don’t know if that was intentional. I also think that they were supposed to represent real teens, teens who are flawed and are jealous, who are still learning about themselves and what they want from life. So to me, this was a realistic representation of them. Even if I didn’t like them, it wasn’t like they were written badly! 

The writing style is easy to follow, and this book is a fairly quick read (for me). There is a lot of build up to the actual events at the castle. But there’s a lot of tension, not knowing how we get to the end. 

I guessed what was going on from the very beginning. There certainly were some red herrings thrown in, but overall I found it easy to guess. But the read itself was engaging and kept me entertained until I got to the end of the book. In some ways I wish that it had gone differently – that it hadn’t been as I expected. Alas. 

This book is going to be for anyone who enjoys slasher/final girl etc types of books and movies. It definitely lands more on the horror side of the mystery/thriller aspect, so just be aware of that. There isn’t anything overly descriptive in this book (or at least not too much), but more generalized descriptions. 

Overall, this book was a solid three star book for me. I enjoyed the book, but I think that teens (and tweens) will enjoy it far more than me! 

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Author: Jessica S. Olson
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.


Review

When I guessed what Owlcrate’s March pick would be, I was excited. I was very much looking forward to this book. Let me preface this by saying I think the book was good, but it wasn’t blow me away good. This is a book that was a solid three stars; neither bad nor super good. If I’d read this before buying it, it wouldn’t have been a book I bought. Checked out from the library, for sure! So…where did this book go wrong? 

The inspiration for this book was clearly Dorian Gray. I mean magic portraits that fix people? But I did love the interpretation of that into magic for this book. What I would have liked more of is worldbuilding. My mind bounced between this being a real world with magic, or a fantasy world. I would have liked a better setting to set the tone and to understand the world a bit better. 

I liked Lucy and Myra’s relationship throughout the book, I thought it was one of the more powerful components of the book. I also felt August’s anxiety intensely, and when they were talking about Lucy’s chronic illness, I understood that too. So there was some excellent representation in this book. (I really kind of want to know what Lucy’s illness actually was – it sounds a lot like my Crohn’s Disease). 

What I didn’t love was the romance in this book. It felt underdeveloped to me compared to the sisterly and family relationships. I could have lived without it, as I didn’t feel that August and Myra had any chemistry whatsoever. And that weird love triangle? Messy! And definitely did not enjoy that part of the book. 

Maybe it’s because I’m an adult, I had pretty much figured out what was going on from the start. Which isn’t always a bad thing; however in this case there wasn’t enough depth to the other parts of the book to make me think that it was a great book. 

Finally, I found the writing clunky. It did not flow smoothly to me, and I felt that we were ricocheted around. The writing was stilted to me. Overall, I just felt that the writing didn’t work. 

This book was not a bad book, but it also isn’t one I’d be desperate to read again. This book will be enjoyed by people who are fond of gothic mysteries, as well as fantasy.  

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Author: Alice Oseman
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends. 


Review

First off, this is the first novel by Alice Oseman I’ve read. I’ve been reading her Heartstopper for years now. This book called to me because it had ace rep, and I’ve yet to find a book that does ace rep right. Or the learning about themselves right. Especially since so many of them are set in high school, and I didn’t find that relatable at all. This one did.

I’m ace – and I used to say biromantic. But after this book it has me questioning my own identity – am I actually aro too? 

Georgia was a relatable character for me. Like her, I was into the idea of romance/love/sex – but not necessarily featuring me. It was interesting that that was incorporated into the book because I felt that in my bones. I was like yes, this is me. Then the aspects of “friends” or family questioning if just because you haven’t experienced something yet, how do you know if you don’t want it? Georgia says she feels it, which I do too. For me, her realization that there was a sexuality beyond LGBT was important. I didn’t discover ace until college. It wasn’t even on my radar. But once I learned about it and researched it, like Georgia, I couldn’t believe it was true…that I could be this. Wasn’t there something wrong with me? I loved that Sunil was there to support Georgia; I loved that he helped her and wasn’t condescending. 

This book also brings up the important topic of denying ace and aro people space in queer spaces. Sunil’s passion about it was important to me. The thought of never belonging is terrifying. 

I also appreciated how Oseman worked in friendship. Because friendships are so important, and I loved that Georgia realized her friendships could be just as satisfying as romance. For anyone that should be important. 

I enjoyed Oseman’s relatable writing and the book flowed well for me. The chapters were short and self-contained which made the pace of the book go by quickly. 

I loved all the characters in this book. I wanted to cuddle them all and tell them I loved them. I wish more books depicted being ace like this. 

And as I mentioned in the beginning of the review, it’s made me rethink who I am now…and how variable being ace/aro is. 

Loveless was a wonderful book and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone. 

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Author: Lexi Ryan
Series: These Hollow Vows
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult/new adult
ARC?: yes

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.


Review

How does one rate this book? Honestly, I am struggling with it. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Between the gorgeous cover and the description I thought it was going to be a shoo in for a top five book of the year. I should know better though – and I’m going to write this review a bit differently because I feel that I can’t divide it up into the sections I normally do. Instead I’m going to divide it up by beginning, middle and end for this review. And I had opinions on all three parts. To sum it up: each part had a different rating for me.

The beginning, or I should say, the part I had the issue with.

Yeah, so in short. The beginning. I feel like parts of the beginning were totally unnecessary to the story overall. I don’t mind a slow start, and it wasn’t even that slow. We find Brie in the middle of a heist. All well and good, but then something else happens and I feel the pace got thrown off. I know the beginning is setting up the rest of the book for what happens next, but I felt it should have been much more concise. Her sister, Jas, being stolen. I know Ryan was trying to set up the sister’s relationship and their friendship with Sebastian, but I felt those parts were drawn out. Honestly, the beginning was an unfortunate two stars for me. I almost gave up, but I decided to push through to the middle. I told myself if I didn’t like the middle then I would DNF and just be disappointed. Honestly, I have almost nothing to say about the beginning because it felt…irrelevant to the whole story. So, moving on to the middle part.

the middle part in which it does get better…sort of.

So, yes, it did get better in the middle. We find out who the two love interests are. And me, I always go for the bad boy. So Finn it is. Or…is it Bash? Honestly, I don’t know who the truly bad boy is here. Both? Neither? Well, we get the Seelie and Unseelie courts and how Brie must find three lost artifacts to free her sister from the clutches of the evil Unseelie king. Yep – find the three artifacts and overcome the challenge of learning her new magic. Like I said, my interest and the pace picked up in this part. In a way, parts of the plot were “eh” to me. Again, I felt bored at times. Like, Bash’s parts…I wasn’t interested! I found him boring. Which I know I’m not supposed to, but all I wanted to do were skip those parts.

Also the whole marriage thing…interesting. And the bond…interesting. I kept wondering where that was going.

Suffice to say, it held my interest enough that I wanted to continue the book and find out what happened. A solid three star middle. It redeemed itself!

part, the end of the book

Or, in other words, the last fifty pages is where it got really good. I’m a sucker for Finn. I’m Team Finn. Bash can jump off a cliff.

ANYWAYS, like the end was where I was like OH I see why it was said to be like The Cruel Prince. I get it, I get it. Those last pages were what made me LOVE the book. It was a stunning turn of events and had me with my mouth open. (I will admit, I had sort of guessed it, but still…the run up and reveal of secrets was great).

Thus, the last part got four or five stars. I can’t math, so I just said I’m giving it four stars. Close to 3.5, but four because the ending knocked it out of the park.

In case you were wondering as well, I didn’t realize it was a fairytale retelling, but it had moments of what I felt like were a combination of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast woven in.

All in all, I am excited for the sequel.

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Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 3
Genre: historical, fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

In love they breathed. In destiny they believed. In the end, will divinity be their demise?

After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin.

Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass.

With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.


Review

No one is more devastated than me – because I gave the first two books five stars. I LOVED this series. I’m a little upset that I am only giving this book 3.5 stars. If you want to know why, please read on! 

I want to cover what I enjoyed about the book first. Because there were aspects of the book that were enjoyable. Chokshi is a talented writer. I’ve loved everything that she has written, and the writing in this is no exception. I thought it was fabulous. Chokshi has a way with words and they melt into your brain as you are reading. 

Another aspect I liked is that this is historical fantasy, and I found it well done. Much like the first two books there were lots of puzzles and action in this book. 

The characters are another facet that Chokshi is a master at. She is able to craft characters that are so wonderful and feel as if they can step off the page. I did enjoy the overall character arcs in this book for the most part. 

The major thing that brought this book down was I felt that this was just a repeat of events in a slightly different way from the first two books. It felt rather repetitive. And while I do think the characters had depth, I didn’t feel that they were as well done as in the previous books. I also would have liked more from Hypnos character. He was a side character, but he also was a main character? Honestly, that was a little confusing. 

To be honest I was going, plot, what plot? Throughout this entire book. I felt that this book drifted around a lot, with no true purpose. It didn’t feel as if it was for character development either. I’m not sure what happened here, but it was not nearly as good as the first book was. The pacing was awkward for me too, and I felt that I was bored – and I was SO SAD because I wasn’t bored in the previous two books. I’m really not sure what happened with this book. It just didn’t work as well. 

I did however, love the ending. I was pretty happy with it. I knew it was going to be bittersweet, and it was in multiple ways. But I loved where all the characters ended up, especially my faves, Zofia, Enrique and Hypnos. 

Overall, the book was good, it just wasn’t as good as the first two books. I am excited to read whatever Chokshi writes next!

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