A satisfying ending to a very good series. It starts just minutes after the end of King’s Cage, where Mare is reeling from being betrayed by Cal choosing the crown over her. I wasn’t really all that surprised by this because as much as he loves Mare and has been open to the red plight but he is a Silver Prince that was born to rule. He’s going to give that up? Anyway, Victoria does a great job of balancing her Game of Thronesque story lines. With so many families, groups and countries vying for the future of Norta the story could have been easily bogged down but it isn’t. Alliances are clear and who is going to betray who is clear. We all know who is on what team and when it comes down to it who is going to side with who when it comes to the end it didn’t disrupt the storyline. At the moment, Mare and Cal are reunited in the same objective of get Maven out of power but their alliance is shaky at best. We know that Cal has no intention of giving up his throne as he feels he is the best to reunite his fractured nation but the Scarlet Guard has no intention of putting him on the throne. Maven has the Nortan crown but little support. Iris, his wife from neighboring country the Lakelands, is already scheming to take the crown from Maven as soon as he depletes his army against Cal. The western nation of Montfort that is the only democracy in this new world that has silvers and reds working together has made their intentions known that they will not have another silver king either. So who wins? Well that would be too spoilery but I will say i like the ambiguous ending. Victoria has definitely left enough open that if she ever wanted to return to Norta, Monfort or the Lakelands she could but if she doesn’t then she has given her characters a good send off. Mare is broken and bruised but is working on healing. She has been many people throughout the four books. She’s been Mare from the sticks, a thief. She’s been Mareena, a lost Silver and the lightning girl a leader and inspiration for the rebellion but who is she really. Cal’s growth is quite as strong but then again I think Cal has already had a good sense of who he was. Maven is probably the most tragic. The abuse that he suffered from his mother is beyond cruel but that shouldn’t excuse his many crimes he committed throughout the series. My biggest complaint is that Cameron who was one of POV characters in the last book only makes an appearance in one chapter. Other than that, this was a satisfying ending to a very good series.
What books can you not wait to read in 2018? I have lots of course but here are 10 that I really Really can’t wait to read next year.
- War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. (May 15, 2018) The final book in her Red Queen Series. Will Mare and the Scarlet Guard be able take down the Silvers. Will Maven get overthrown? Will Cal stop being a dumbass?
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. (March 6, 2018) This sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to read it. Zelie comes from a long line of maji but the new crown prince wants to banish magic from the kingdom. Zelie has one chance to save magic and her people.
- Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (March 6, 2018) It’s been 4 years since the end of the Shatter Me trilogy ended or so we thought. Restore Me is going to pick up at the end of Ignite Me. Juliette is the Supreme Commander and Warner is on her side but now that she has the world at her finger tips, what’s next?
- Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. (May 22, 2018) It’s been two years since A Torch Against the Night came out and I’ve been eagerly waiting this one. Laia, Elias and Helene are all in perilously situation. I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. (January 16, 2018) I’ll admit I was hoping it would be the next book in the Shades of London series but I’m just so glad that Maureen has a book coming out. I do love a good mystery and good ghost story too.
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. (January 2, 2018) So happy that Holly is back with a new series about fairies because no one does fairies like Holly Black.
- A Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro. (March 6, 2018) The final book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy can’t come soon enough. In true Holmes form, Charlotte has really sabotage herself and Watson can’t forgive her. They try to move on with their lives but someone wants them back together and well I want them back together too.
- Dread Nation by Justine Ireland. (April 3, 2018) The American Civil War is interrupted when the Dead of the battlefields come back to life. Jane is in combat school to learn how to take down the dead and with this comes opportunity but Jane wants more. Soon she is wrapped up in a conspiracies and plots that the dead are the least of her worries.
- Untitled Sequel to Renegades by Marissa Meyer. (November 6, 2018) Renegades was such a great book and can’t wait to read what’s next. Nova has successfully infiltrated the Renegades and her old friends are no longer around to blow her cover. Will she betray her new friends or cement herself as a villain.
- The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth. (April 10, 2018) Carve the Mark may have been problematic but it was still good. I’m curious how things will turn out for Cyra and Akos. Will they be able to escape their destinies or are they running right into them?
- The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. (No set date) I’m not sure this is coming out in 2018 but I really hope so. Strange the Dreamer was so beautiful I can’t wait to find out what happens next, especially after what happened at the end.
- Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas. (September 4, 2018) The final book in the Throne of Glass series and it’s been quite a ride for Aelin and friends. Who knows how it will all end. Well I guess Sarah J. Maas does but for everyone else it’s anyone’s guess.
- Untitled (WarCross #2) by Marie Lu. (No set date) Another one I’m not sure if it’s coming out in 2018 but I’m pretty sure. I was riveted by the first book and I’m looking forward to meeting the “hacker” and all the potential he is inevitably going to cause.
- Heart of Venom by Sherrilyn Kenyon. (2018) It also doesn’t have a set date besides 2018. It’s either the first in the Shadows of Fire series or #9 in the Chronicles of Nick series. However you want to look at it, it’s a switch in tone and focus for Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters. With a duel narrators of the Cyprian Malachai (Nick’s Son) and the Ambrose Malachai (Nick Himself) we find out if Nick truly does embrace his destiny or if the sacrifices he made at the end of Intensity was enough to forge his own path.
- Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes. (February 6, 2018) The final book in the closest YA book to Game of Thrones with it’s epic scope, world building and body count was originally scheduled to come out this month but was pushed back. I’m sure the extra two months will be worth the wait.
- Aru Shah and the End of Times by Roshani Chokshi. (April 3, 2018) The first book to be published under Rick Riordan’s new imprint highlighting stories from authors and characters from around the world. Aru Shah takes on Hindu legends to save her mother and classmates.
- Untitled by Maureen Johnson. (No set date) The Shadow Cabinet, the last book released in the Shades of London series had me on the edge of my feet and it’s been so long since it came out. I’m not sure that the next book is coming out in 2018 but Maureen has mentioned on twitter that she has two books coming out in 2018 so it’s a safe bet. *crosses fingers*
- Untitled by Kendare Blake. (September 4, 2018) I didn’t know that the Three Dark Crowns was originally planned to be a duology. I’m glad that Kendare Blake and her publisher decided to extend it because there are so many things about this world and these character left to be explored.
- Untitled by Traci Chee (2018) The final book in the Sea of Ink and Gold Series. Sefia and Archer continue to fight what is written and defeat their destiny while also staying ahead of their enemies.
- The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (May 1, 2018) I’m interested in this one since this in the first book that Sally Green has published since she ended her Half Bad trilogy two years ago. Half Lost left me broken and in tears. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that again but I can’t wait to see what Sally does next.
You know that moment. That moment when the main character makes a declaration statement that you can’t help but groan because you know they are just going to be disappointed. Yeah, that happened about midway in this book and yeah, Mare was crushed when she found out she was wrong. It wasn’t all that big a surprise because it is the third book our of four, so there still needs to be some drama left. She couldn’t be set in romantic life so soon but it was also like, C’mon Mare! Haven’t you learned anything yet!? Anyway, I think I’m getting ahead of myself. King’s Cage was another fast paced thriller that fits in nicely with the previous two books. Mare begins as a prisoner of Maven, who is using her as a propaganda against the Scarlet Guard. As Mare is imprisoned she battles Maven in an emotional tug of war. She is shackled in silent stone manacles, depriving her of her power and making it impossible to fight back. Her only weapon is to use what she knows of Maven but this is not easy because her own feelings for Maven are complicated. The first part of the novel was interesting as Victoria explores the effects of abuse and can you be held accountable. This is an addition to previous themes of what makes a person a monster. Mare is scared that her powers has made her cold and heartless, to easy for her to kill someone and move on with her life. Thanks to Maven’s mother, he doesn’t have those thoughts because so much of his memories she took away from him. She took away his fears and love of his father and brother. I’m not even sure what you call this abuse. She literally molded him to be the cold killer he is today. The only sense of humanity he has is obsession with Mare but even that has been twisted. Cal on the other hand is still Cal. While he has shown some growth over the novels, he isn’t quite as developed as a character as Maven is. There seemed to be a change in him as he seemed to be turning around about the Scarlet Guard and what they are trying to achieve but the first chance to return to his old life is presented to him the seems to have taken it. The book is still Mare’s story but as the conflict expands beyond her, we are given new Point of Views from Cameron and Evangeline. This is a welcome change as all three woman are different and come at the conflict from different views. They obviously see this conflict from different point views but they all think they are in the right. My one grip with this book was the ending. After pretty cool cliffhangers of the first two books, this one sort of fell flat to me. It wasn’t the game changer of the others. Sure, it assured that Mare was going to have to stand on her without one the Princes beside her but it was also predictable. I guess since this is what is leading us to the finale, I wanted it to be more. That being said, I am super stoked to find out how this series is going to end.
I really love this series and can’t to find out what happens next.
So 2016 is almost over. Thank God or Oh No. Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books. Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.
- Pyromantic by Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it. Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
- Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year. I found the two books to be very charming and sweet. I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not. I’m still holding out for Kitty novel.
- The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it. I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
- King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her. Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her? The rebellion continues
- The Untitled 3rd book of the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir- This is such an awesome series I can’t say enough great things about it. Who knows what will happen next as Laia, Elias and Helene take on the Martials.
- Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended. No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
- The Ship of the Dead and The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’. Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun. Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible. It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
- Silver Stars by Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2. The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending. There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
I will say this about 2016, I read a lot of good books this year. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10. So without further ado and in no particular order.
- Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – So it was hard to pick between this one and his other book Riordan wrote, The Hidden Oracle, but I choose this one because of the characters. I love that Rick has added diverse characters to his worlds. Not to mention his characters get sassier with every book.
- A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – A cross between historical fiction and dystopian novel. It’s quite a thrill ride and it left a real cliffhanger as to how the series is going to end.
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – After a so-so first book this one was a real game changer for the series as a hole. It delved into matters trauma and emotional abuse but still keep the story flowing.
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – It’s Maggie and It’s Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam and Noah. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect story.
- Half Lost by Sally Green – It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Nate didn’t have an easy life and nothing about this book was easy too. It was very true to life. It doesn’t always turn out the way you expect and in war there are always painful loses.
- Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Now this is a fun series. It’s a dystopian fantasy with X-Men qualities. Mare is not perfect. She’s complicated and conflicting but she means well and the writing only gets better with each book.
- Pyromantic by Lish McBride – This book doesn’t actually come out until next year so I’ll wait to tell you about it but let’s just say you are going to love it.
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – It’s a crime caper and a fantasy. You root for the the thieves and the con men to win. It’s wonderful.
- Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson – likable and charming, Kamala Khan is worthy addition to the Avengers. She proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from and what you believe, you can still be a superhero.
- The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – Another great ending to well thought out series. I may have qualms about who the real villain was but I think it was heartbreaking as it was beautiful.
Back in the complicated world of Mare Barrow. **Spoilers** She’s been betrayed by Maven. Her dead brother isn’t dead and also has a super cool power. Cal and Kilorn, two completely different boys who are totally in love with her are now in the same space. Oh, and Mare now has to deal with the grief of killing people while pushing a revolution into high gear. Yep, Mare has some things going on in her life. I’m going to do something different then just a straight review. I’m going to talk about how I felt reading this book. If you’ve read any of my previous posts about the first book, Red Queen. Then you know how excited I was. (Also how disappointed that Barnes and Noble didn’t deliver it on timed) I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed reading it and how it’s just as fast paced as the first. Less then a chapter in and we are already into our first battle. The emotional roller coaster I went through with Mare, Cal, Kilorn, Farley and Shade. One of which I was pretty sure wasn’t going to make it to the end of the book. (I won’t see who and sadly I was right). I could give you a synopsis of what happen but really, I’m probably spoiled enough of it already. Just go read it!
As I was getting more and more into the story, I started to notice some disturbing signs. I was pretty sure that I was not going to like how it ends I was starting to see the end game and like I alluded to before, someone was going to die. Someone was going to have face off with someone unpleasant and someone or someones were going to be heartbroken. So I started to stall. I figured I would just delay the inevitable. I distracted myself with other things. Since I was on vacation last week it was pretty easy to do. I told my mom what I was doing and her response. “This is why I read the ending first”. BTW, she totally does and it’s adorable but I can’t do that. That takes away the surprise! The suspense! So I read a little bit a time until it was time for me to go home and when you are on a small commuter plane, there really is nothing else to do but read. I had it finished before I got to Detroit. It was painful as I thought it would be. It didn’t play out exactly as I thought it would but yes the character I suspected was going to die, did. The confrontation I thought was going to happen, did happen but not at all how I thought it did and it lead to one crazy cliffhanger. And the heartbreaks were all around, myself included. Readers, why do we do this to ourselves? Why? The good news I have time to process everything that happened and get my emotions back in check before the next book comes out. The bad news (and also good news) is that there are two books to go. But really, is there anything better the agony and the ecstasy of a good book? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Since I have already done a review of this book, I’ll just give a few observations.
- You should never join a revolution when you are still in morning for dead brother. You really shouldn’t make any life altering decisions really. Mare is so blinded by her own rage and pain that she doesn’t see what is going.
- Which she would have if she had her wits about her. She may not be book smart but she’s definitely street smart. Her emotions got in the way and despite multiple people telling her not to trust the guy, including the guy she does anyway.
- I’m glad that I read Cruel Crown because I totally forgot about that one character dies and I glad we got a little bit more backstory on him, even if it was just a little bit.
- GIRL CAL IS IN LOVE WITH YOU THE WHOLE TIME! HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED IT!!!
- I really dislike Elara and I hope she has a very painful death.
- Poor Lucas
- It should be an interesting dynamic between Cal and Kilorn.
Bring on Glass Sword.
Cruel Crown is the collection of two prequel novellas to Red Queen. The first novella is Queen Song where we get the backstory of Cal’s mother and what really happened to her. The other is Steel Scars that follows Farley as she leads the Scarlet Guard into Norta. They both were pretty good. Giving more insight into world the books take place. Since Red Queen is told from Mare’s point of view, things like how the silver hierarchy is set up and how the Scarlet Guard works isn’t give much detail because Mare doesn’t know these things in much detail. That’s what kind of great but these little novella’s. I’ve written in the past about how it’s trendy for YA authors to write novellas or short stories that take place in between books or prequels. Sometimes they are just filler but other times they serve the purpose of filling in wholes that didn’t have time to get to in the narratives. They also usually focus on supporting or minor characters instead of the protagonists in attempt to flesh out the world a little bit but usually they are of little importance. If readers don’t read them, it’s no big deal. They will still be able to the novels without missing anything.
Of the two stories I liked Queen Song the best. It follows Queen Corianne before she became queen. She’s the only daughter of a once great house that is down on their luck. She catches the eye of Prince Tiberius, Cal’s and Maven’s father. It follows their courtship, their short marriage and her eventual death. She’s a feisty and curious girl, who is interested in mechanics and how things work but in a world where her only role is to be married off her dreams will never happen. When she meets Prince Tiberius things start to open up for her. She finds an equally lonely person to commiserate and love but never really gets over the feeling of being weak and useless. Among those helping her feel that way is rival Elara, who would become Tiberius’s second wife and Maven’s mother. She’s a powerful mind reader but the extant of her power is not truly revealed until the end. Over the course of the story Corianne falls deeper and deeper into paranoia and sadness. She’s been accused of tricking the Prince into marrying her. She suffers many miscarriages until Cal is born. She believes that Elara is behind it and ultimately she is right but no way to prove it. It’s really quite sad. From the very beginning there is a sense of foreboding since we know from Red Queen that she is dead and is believed by suicide. I kept hoping that there would be some kind of happy ending but knowing there would not.
In Steel Scars we get to know more about Farley and her motivations for not only for the Scarlet Guard but also for Mare. We know in Red Queen that the Scarlet Guard is a resistance movement against the silver leadership but I assumed only in Norta. I guess I’m going to have to go back and read it again. Farley is from the Lakelands and comes to Norta to start the Scarlet Guards operations there. While there she meets Shade Barrow, Mare’s brother, who becomes a spy for them. Mare believes Shade to be dead until the end when it’s revealed of his involvement but also that he is like Mare. Red blood with Silver powers. We really don’t get much else from the story then that and why Farley is keen to recruit Mare. Also, i think we are seeing the budding relationship between Farley and Shade. There might be other hints for Glass Sword, the next book in the series but we will have to wait and find out.