This was a delightful little fairy tale if you can call it that. Olivia Prior is an orphan who grew up in a school that does not understand her or tries too. She is not able to speak but she has a lot to say and will not go unheard. Her father died before she was born and only has a diary of her mother that shows her fall more and more into madness. Throughout it tells her Olivia she will be safe as long as she doesn’t go to Gallant. One day, she gets a letter from her uncle telling her that he has been searching for her for years and it’s time to come home to Gallant. She heads to Gallant in hopes of finding a family that she has always wished for but what she discovered a broken down mansion. The Uncle who invited is dead by a year and all who live there now is the housekeeper, the groundskeeper and her grieving Cousin. The family Prior live in Gallant and they can never leave because they guard the wall between the living and the death. Her arrival is not welcomed but Olivia will not be denied a chance of a home or go back to that school so she does what she can to stay. It’s all delightfully gothic in feel and tone. There is such a mystery around all the characters and makes it so rich. Olivia’s cousin, Matthew is so broken by the loss of his family and the history of his family at Gallant. You just wants to give him a hug because he resigned himself to the burden of his families legacy and wanted to protect them as well. He wants Olivia to leave so she doesn’t have to suffer the fate of the family. Olivia is strong and a little stubborn and goes beyond the wall and discovers all the secrets. I won’t say more as not to spoil it but I can’t say enough good things about this book. It was a quick read and heartbreaking. You can’t help but root for Olivia as she tries to find her place in a family she never knew she had but has always wanted. Your heart will break for Matthew who has lost too much and can only lose more. Please go read it.
This has some real gothic vibes to it and I love it.
I admitted that I picked this book based on the cover. It is so pretty. Thankfully the book was good or I would have been super disappointed. Ning is from a small town but one day gets an invitation from the Palace to compete to be the new shennong-shi, a master of the art of magic and tea. If she wins and becomes the Palace’s shennong-shi it will bring her power she can only dream of but more importantly, it will give her access to cure to save her sister. Ning immediately gets caught up in Palace politics. The Princess is currently ruling as he Emperor is sick. Her cousin, the son of the banished Prince wants something but his motives are allusive. Others in court have their own agenda. Who can Ning trust? It’s a lot of back and forth as I doubted each character’s motives, convinced that they were the bad guys, only to be surprised at the end. Ning is definitely my favorite character. She is super smart but a little naïve. She is a little over her head when it comes to the machinations of court. Despite that, she is very resourceful and talented. She is able to move through the competition by using what she knows and being able to think on her feet. She often knows the smart thing is to walk away but the does the right thing and stay and help. This often gets her in trouble but also helps her find allies. I was really drawn to this book and sad, I have to wait until October for the sequels. I guess I should be grateful, I don’t have wait a year.
I am not going to lie. I picked this book because of the cover. I mean just look at it! It’s just so pretty!!
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.
I do really love Poppy. I love her curious nature and her willingness to put others first despite everything she’s been through. I’m not sure how I feel about Hawke, though. He’s great but there are also some red flags there. So I guess our typically YA love interest.
***Contains Some Spoilers***
There are many “chosen one” stories out there. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Frodo from Lord of the Rings, etc. All of these stories end with the hero vanquishing the villain and living happily ever after. But do they really? We really never see what happens to them as they grow old. Well, we get a glimpse of Harry’s ever after if you have seen the Cursed Child and well, it’s not pretty for him. Anyways, Chosen Ones grapples with what happens to child heroes after they have saved the world and grow up. Sloane, Matt, Albie, Esther and Ines were all kids when they were charged with fighting the Dark One and after years of fighting they do. The story picks up at the 10 year anniversary of their victory and all 5 of them are have moved on one way or another. Well, all except for Sloane. She still has nightmares and panic attacks. She was heavily scared from what she did to take down the Dark One that she can’t really move on and when one of the five dies suddenly, it brings everything into a whirlwind. Maybe, the Dark One isn’t gone after all? They get kidnapped into a parallel universe, who’s Dark One is still out there and they must take him down all over again. However, Sloane is older now and more weary. As a kid, she may not have questioned what she was asked to do but now she does. She is no longer going to do anything until she is given a reason why and has no problem with asking questions or just finding out for herself. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was the best book from Veronica Roth since Divergent. I really felt for Sloane and her struggles. As a young girl, she was given over to the government to fight a force she knew nothing about and really didn’t have much chose. It broke her and scarred her ways that she is still is dealing with and forced to act like everything is fine. Like she didn’t spend her childhood in perpetually peril. So when she takes things into her own hands, I could only cheer her on. So, yes this was a good book and I think you all will enjoy it too.
I am sucker for this type of fantasy books.
What happens to the heroes after they have vanquished the big bad and save the world? The 5 chosen ones were teenagers when they were chosen to fight the Dark One. 10 years later after the final battle and they still are fighting demons but this time it’s their own. Everyone else has moved on but why can’t they? I really like this premise so I’m super stoked to read it.
Inspired to reread this book after listening to the Bad Women podcast. I do hope that Maureen Johnson is able to finish this series some day. I really love this series and it’s a shame that we don’t know what happens to Rory, Stephen and the rest of the Shades of London.