I think I said this had Gone Girl vibes to it but I wasn’t sure who was the Amy Dunne of the story and honestly, I’m still not sure. Lowen Ashleigh is a broke Author who gets a a big contract to be finish writing a series by the popular Verity Crawford. To plan out the next books in the series, she has go live in Verity’s house to go through all her notes and live with her grieving husband, Jeremy. You see, in the last year, the Crawfords have lost both of their twin daughters and Verity practically comatose from a car accident. While doing her research, Lowen comes across Verity’s Autobiography she had been working on and it’s a doozy. The deaths of her daughters may not have been accidents. What should Lowen do? She could show it to Jeremy but he is already grieving, this would just hurt him more but Lowen is also falling in love with him, so it could be the key to freeing him from her. There is just so much going on her. So many twists and turns, it’s hard to really know what was going on. No one is really a reliable narrator her. The book is from Lowen’s POV and it’s clear from the start that she is not in the best head space at the moment. She just lost her mother, who she didn’t have the best relationship with, she’s broke and about to be evicted. Not to mention, she is falling in love with Jeremy so of course she is going to paint herself in the best life. As for Verity, we only have her writing to base our opinions on but is she telling the truth. I was almost expecting to find out that this was all in Lowen’s head and that she and Verity was the same person but that’s not the twist at the end. All I’m saying, you will finish the book still not sure what is the truth and what isn’t. Trust no one. If this hasn’t been optioned for a movie, it should be because in the right hands, this is the perfect psychological horror movie waiting to be made.
The latest in the From Blood and Ash series and it’s okay. It was just as fast moving as the previous books but felt a bit uneven. I’m not sure if that is because it’s the first book that the POV is split between Poppy and Casteel and as interesting as it was to get in Casteel’s head but I’m not sure it brought that much to the narrative. I see how it was necessary because for the first half of the book, Poppy and Casteel were separated and with him in the capital with the Queen, we got more insight into who she was but also more context as to her plans. However, I didn’t find Casteel as interesting as I thought I would. He is far more attractive in Poppy’s POV in my opinion.
So what worked for me is the introduction of Reaver. Technically, we first meet him in the prequel series but he was a child and I don’t think he actually said anything. I loved every scene he was in. He not only brought the well needed comic relief but also the exposition needed to not only bridge the two series together but also move this book forward. He really saved this book for me. What didn’t work was the little character development for Kieran. He goes from being the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Casteel to the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Poppy. He has such little personality or purpose outside of the those two characters. I feel like more could be done with this character.
So yeah, it was a good read but compared to the previous books it was a little bit of a let down. I can only hope that what has been set up will bring the series back to the what made it interesting and fun in the first place.
So I’m not going to lie. I didn’t enjoy this much as the other books set in the world. I guess it’s good to give more context to world that Poppy and Casteel live in and the history behind so many of the conflicts and relationships. Other than that I don’t think it’s necessary. For most of the book, I felt like I was just rereading From Blood and Ash, the first book in the original series. Sera is so much like Poppy and Nyktos or Ash is so much like Casteel. They relationship is so similar. Sera, like Poppy was the Maiden and was raised to fight. They both meet their love interest while they are assuming different personas only to reveal who they really are later. Even their back and forth banter is the same. Heck, at one point, both Sera and Poppy stab Casteel and Nyktos in the heart. Thankfully, the last 100 pages finally became interesting as we learn more about the other Primals and Gods and the circumstances in which Sera and Nyktos became paired up. It just just didn’t need to be a 600+ book to get what we needed to extend the world. Then again, maybe there are things that happen in this book that will become more important in the following books both series to justify the page count. I can only hope so.
Back to the original series. How will Poppy handle the war now that she is officially a Queen?
Oh boy this was a lot. Like all of Sarah J. Maas books, there are a lot characters, a lot of POV’s and a lot of twists and turns. At the end of the last book. Bryce and Hunt have saved the city, killing 2 Archangels and started a relationship. Now, they just want to things go back to normal but of course they can’t. Bryce went through the drop and started to embrace her fae powers and all the complications with that. Hunt is no longer a slave but he still works for the Asteri. Both of their relationships with the Asteri is tenuous. They promised that they wouldn’t tell anyone what happened and in exchange they won’t be punished for what they did but it wouldn’t take much for the Asteri to go back on their word. Lay low. It should be easy. That is until a discovery a rebel that has a rare power that everyone wants because of what it can be weaponize. She also have information that could take down the Asteri. She risked her life to save her brother who is now missing and everyone is searching for him. You find the brother, you find her, if she is still alive that is. Of course, Bryce, Hunt and crew get messed up with this. Do they help the rebel cause and risk the freedom that they have earned?
This book was pretty fast paced and the characters are interesting and fun. I like the fantasy elements mixed in with the more contemporary urban setting. Bryce and Hunt are dealing with so many of the same every day complications that you are me deal with but with a super natural elements. I really feel for both of them. Bryce wants to move on but she just can’t. Everything always comes back to her friend, Dannika. She may have died at the beginning of the book but she is still involved in everything that is going on and it makes Bryce wonder if she really ever knew her best friend at all. Hunt has finally found some sort of peace with Bryce and is terrified of losing it and her. They honestly don’t want to be involved and just live their lives but they also can’t just turn a blind eye to the suffering around them. Especially since they both have power and influence to do something about it. As I said at the beginning, there are so many characters and twists and turns it is sometimes hard to keep track of who is who and what is going on. Especially since there are new characters added and characters that were just barely mentioned in the last book that all of sudden become front of center. This is what you signed up for when you read a Sarah J Maas book. Her books are full of characters and mysteries. Some work and some don’t but they are always entertaining.
Back to the World of From Blood and Ash. This is the 1st book in the prequel series Poppy’s grandparents. The Primal of Death and his consort. So far, it’s kinda of a retread of the first book but I’ll give it a chance.
I believe I said when I started reading this book that this was right in my wheelhouse. I do love this type of fantasy. Very Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. With multiple characters and rival arcs and magical powers. I rushed through the first three books only to have to wait another month for the fourth to come out. Poppy is the Maiden. She’s not allowed to talk or talk to anyone. She must always wear a veil when she is in public. Her every move is watched but what is the Maiden? It’s kind of a religious role. She is told how important she is and how she must keep up appearances and not to upset the Gods but no one tells her what really her role is after she ascends or what happen to the only other Maiden. Poppy wants to live and is unsure if she really wants to be the Maiden. Enters Hawke. The handsome and dashing Palace guard. When tragedy strikes and he is assigned to be one of her personal guards, Poppy world starts to change. For the first time, someone starts to ask her questions she’s been asking herself. She starts to believe that there is more to her life then what she has been forced to believe but Hawke is not who he says to be. Of course they fall in love but things are not as smooth. They are from different worlds and want different things. They start to work together because they both can give the what each other wants. I do admit, I like Hawke but there are a few red flags that start to show. He can be very possessive and controlling. He saves her from her prisoner only to try to force her into marriage. However, as the books move on he starts to give up a little control. Poppy because more powerful and into her own and he realizes, she’s going to do what she wants, he either can support her or fight her all the time. He chooses to mostly support her. Their relationship may not have started out in the best way but it has become one of the healthier relationship with the both learning to listen to each other to give each other want they want without pushing each other. I do admit, I thought this was a YA book since the last book I read by Jennifer Armentrout was but it does have some of the most explicit sex scenes I have ever read. The details in them at times was kind of blushing, which can be a little embarrassing when reading on the subway to work. So yeah, I like this series. I look forward to see where it goes from here now that the stakes have been raised and war is about to begin.
Sarah J Maas is known for her fantasy writing. This series has all the twist and turns of her other series but with a more modern twist. I guess you can say it’s a mix of high fantasy and contemporary urban fiction.
It’s been 4 years since the last book came out. Thank goodness for people posting their book recaps online. I’m ready now to see how Paige does in Scion Paris.
This is a story of how people deal with abuse. No seriously. Yes, they are mostly fairies and there is magic and takes place in a land full of both of those things but deep down it’s about the effects of abuse and how we deal with it. Almost every character has suffered some kind of abuse one way or another. In A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book of the series, I talked about Feyre’s recovery from not only what happened to her at the end of the first book but emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of Tamlin but Feyre’s not the only one. Maybe one of the reasons why she and Rhys get along so well, besides that they are mates, is because he also has been abused. Mor, Cassian, and Azriel all have suffered through emotional, physical and sexual abuse. They all continue to deal the invisible scars left from it. On the outside they seem okay but in private with each other, they can share their pain. It’s this reason that this series is important because it doesn’t shy away from these uncomfortable topics but faces them head on. We struggle through them as the characters struggle with them. I also think that is why I love Rhys so much. This is a guy who would do anything for his family, his friends. Submit himself to such tortures. Allow the world to see him as a monster. All to protect his people but he still came out of with hope for a better future. He took Feyre in knowing she was his mate but never pushed her. Never forced it on her because he knew what she was going through. Knew the pain that she was feeling. Knew how important choices are and never wanted to take that away from her or anyone. The compassion he shows to Feyre, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and to his people is remarkable.
As for the book itself, it is possible to love a series and book but also not really like it. I experience that with the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I originally felt it was too long and should have ended long before it did or at least be split in two books. It wasn’t until I read the sequel did I understand what I really didn’t like about it and why it was written the way that it was. A Court of Wings and Ruin, I thought it had the opposite problem. It started off slowly for me and really didn’t pick up until more then halfway through. I felt there was a lot of unnecessary maneuvering as they prepared for war with Hybern. I will admit that in the end all of that turned out to be important to the finale of the book but it felt tedious at times. However, when it got it groove back, it was unstoppable. It one epic battle at the end and it also brought us more of Feyre’s sister, Nesta, who is the Ice Queen we have always wanted but didn’t know. The ending felt more like a ending of a series then a transition to the next book. It definitely tied up some loose ends but there are enough left for another book but I just not seeing how there could be a bigger threat then Hybern. I guess I will have to read the next book to find out.