Thursday, September 6, 2018

ARC Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

fantasy book reviewMirage
By Somaiya Daud
Mirage #1
ARC: 308 pages
Flatiron Books
August 28, 2018
Categories: Science Fiction, Ya, Fantasy
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| @Somaiiya πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ |5/5|
Spoiler-free review below

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancΓ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.


Mirage was such a fun, fast-paced read for me; I finished it in less than 24 hours! It is a tale rich with Moroccan cultural influences, and the world building is fantastic. I loved the abundance of history and political conflict that was included throughout the story, not to mention the sci-fi vibes! fantasy book reviewI find that most books full of world-building are short on action, yet that was not the case with Mirage. The pacing flowed perfectly, and I always found a reason to read "one more chapter"! As a book nerd, I'm sure you understand what I mean when I say this. You finally turn to the clock and it is somehow 3am and you have no idea how you manged to keep your eyes open for so long. The need to know what happened next was strong in this story!

Amani is a strong female protagonist, my favorite kind. I have had an obsession with these fierce female leads as of late, and Amani did not disappoint. Her drive to protect her family and loved ones is stronger than her fear of her oppressors. She is born and raised a farm-girl on the moon of a distant planet, taken over by a violent race of peoples called the Vath. After the initial invasion and subsequent take-over, everything in her life changed. From surveillance to raids, these superior creatures controlled every aspect of lives in her small village. On the day of Amani's coming of age ceremony, the Vath kidnap her and take her to the capital city where the royals reside. Ziyaana is a city where you can trust no one, especially the royals. She is introduced to Princess Maram and finally realizes why she has been taken from her home. She looks exactly like the Princess. Amani is trained to become Maram's body double, as the Princess is always in danger of assassination. Amani is to replace her at gatherings that involve the public, basically risking her life for someone she despises. If that isn't bad enough, the Vath threaten the lives of her family if she doesn't comply with their demands.

fantasy book review Princess Maram is introduced as a vapid, hateful girl and the reader immediately despises her. I enjoyed her character growth throughout the story though, and found myself almost liking her by the end. Almost. I definitely enjoyed learning more of her back story and why she acts the way that she does. The hatred of her from both sides of her family is sad, and I felt pity for her more times than I care to admit. Maram is engaged to a young native prince named Idris, and his character is important to the story as well. I fell easily in love with him and his open-minded views on politics. Regardless of being forced into an engagement with the enemy, his hope for a better world outweighs his oppression. I enjoyed the inner conflicts of all of the main characters!

All in all, there was nothing about this book that I didn't like. I despised the villains of the story as the reader should, I loved the heroes, and the world was so rich in culture and political intrigue that I couldn't help turning the page over and over again. I highly recommend adding this one to your tbr!

Morrighan <3

Monday, September 3, 2018

ARC Review: The Darkest Star by Jennifer Armentrout

fantasy book reviewThe The Darkest Star
By Jennifer Armentrout
Origin #1
ARC: 366 pages
Tor Teen
October 30, 2018
Categories: Science Fiction, Romance, YA
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| @JLA πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ |5/5|
Spoiler-free review below

When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.


I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

Holy alien babies!

Jennifer Armentrout is the jedi master of writing perfect male characters. I don't know how she does it, but her male leads never fail to make me swoon, and Luc is no exception. It could be the arrogance and sarcasm that she introduces them with, or the amazingly big hearts they always reveal-- but my lord. I officially have a new favorite male character in my life!

The story begins 4 years after the Luxen invasion that threatened to destroy Earth. If you read The Lux Series, you have already met Luc. He is an Origin, a hybrid alien/human created by the government to be a super soldier. If you have not, first of all, what the hell are you doing with your life? Second-- please go pick up this series and read it. It is such an amazing adventure. I never knew I would fall in love with sexy aliens, but I absolutely did and my life is better for it. Third-- I will explain a bit of the back story that leads us to the beginning of this book.

The Luxen are from another star system and fled to Earth when their planet was attacked and subsequently destroyed by the Arum, another race of extraterrestrial beings. They have lived among humans and assimilated our DNA to blend in and appear as one of us. The truth of the Luxens is known by only the government, and the Daedulus Group, responsible for creating Luxen/human hybrids known as Origins. Origins are crazy powerful, and since they have been raised in a lab, know nothing of morality. They are super soldiers in every sense of the word. Thankfully, when the enemy aliens invade Earth, hell-bent on exterminating human life and inhabiting our planet for themselves, most Luxen residing here as well as the Origins take up arms against the invaders. 4 years after the war that destroyed most US cities, Luxen are now known to humans. Regardless of the fact that they saved our species, they are under constant surveillance and required to register with the government. The remaining aliens on Earth are judged harshly for who they are and forced to wear bracelets that disable their abilities. It is the same sad story of racism that we see over and over again on this planet. fantasy book reviewI'm praying Bernie will be in office if ever we discover extraterrestrial life does exist. But now I'm rambling. Anyways..

Our main character is a 17 year old girl named Evie. She has little memory of the invasion and the subsequent war that follows. Her life has just begun to get back to normal. She is an only child; her father died in the war and her mom works long hours for the military. Evie is basically left to her own devices, which leads us to her decision to go to a club that is frequented by Luxen. Here, she meets Luc. He is cocky and annoying, basically telling that her she doesn't belong there. When the club gets invaded by military police looking for unregistered aliens, it is Luc that keeps her from danger. I enjoyed Evie's character; she is a strong female that makes the most ridiculous life decisions. I can totally relate! Her relationship with Luc is dangerous, frustrating, and at times, inconvenient. I. Loved. It. As their connection grows, so do the questions surrounding Evie's past. I don't want to give too much away, but the twists and turns throughout this story were wonderfully done. Yet again, Miss Armentrout's writing is superb. Her characters are among my favorites ever written! This heart-pounding, non stop adventure left me with tears on my cheeks and a smile on my face. I cannot wait to read more of Luc and Evie's escapades in the books to come. I highly, highly recommend putting this book, as well as the first series on your tbr. I don't think you will be disappointed!

Morrighan

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

fantasy book reviewA Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches #1
Hardcover: 579 pages
Viking Penguin
February 2011
Categories: Fantasy, Witches, Historic
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| @DebHarkness πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ |3/5|

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

This book started out with so much potential; Diana is a powerful witch that refuses to acknowledge her powers. She is a strong, take no nonsense female lead and I fell in love with her almost instantly. Let me tell you though-- my love sadly did not last long. As soon as Matthew comes into the picture, ugh. Let's back up a bit-- I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

Diana was born to a family of witches dating back to Salem in the 17th century. She is full of magic, but she has chosen to shun her own abilities. After the death of her parents as a child, Diana has been scared of being a witch. In turn, she has chosen a life of historical research, leading her to Oxford and the Bodleian Library that houses thousands of ancient manuscripts. In the process of doing research for her alchemy paper, she comes across a book that is full of magic. After opening the book, she returns it to its proper place in the library. Little does she realize, she has unleashed a shit-show of magical creatures upon her small England town. Not only witches felt the magic that she released, but daemons and vampires as well. As they all begin to show up at the Bodleian, so does a powerful vampire that immediately draws her attention.

Matthew. Matthew is an ancient vampire, powerful and dangerous. At first, I liked his character; I honestly thought he was the typical cocky, sarcastic, lovable male. Well, let me tell you. I had SO many issues with his character, not to mention the ensuing relationship between him and Diana. He is pushy, bossy, and a complete asshole. When I say asshole guys-- I can take a lot when it comes to male characters. I thought Cardan from the Cruel Prince was kind of lovable next to Matthew. His complete dominance of Diana makes me want to vomit. The fact that she completely changes as soon as he comes into the picture left me baffled. One minute, she was all, "Vampires are dangerous. I hate magic. Leave me alone." The next moment, she was alone in a car with him, going to yoga. Her 180 left my head spinning. I really never understood their insta-love and where it came from.
fantasy book review
The entire story was their relationship and the effects that it had on the supernatural population. That's it. Both of our main characters chose to be selfish and chaos ensues. Don't get me wrong here, I understand that people should be free to love whoever they want to love, no questions asked. That's really not the part I'm talking about when I make the statement, both characters chose to be selfish. There were multiple scenes, minus spoilers, that our leads chose themselves over family and friends. The safety of others involved never concerned them, and this pissed me off to no end. Not to mention the fact that Matthew made the decisions for a group of people that he obviously cared little for. If he was questioned about the choices he was making, he basically threw a toddler style temper tantrum and his show of dominance was nauseating. Ok, end rant.

Honestly, I really did enjoy the world and the array of supernatural creatures that we get to meet throughout the story. The plot-line itself, outside of the relationship, was rather intriguing. I liked the mystery of this secret manuscript and the implications it had on the entire supernatural community. The ending was written well enough to make me want to read the rest of the series. Will I rush on finishing them? Absolutely not!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Book Review: The Bone Witch

fantasy book reviewThe Bone Witch
By Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch #1
Hardcover: 432 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
March 7th 2017
Categories: Fantasy, Witches, Historic
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| @RinChupeco πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ |4/5|

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.


I really enjoyed this story, but I understand why it is not for everyone. There is a huge divide when reading reviews for The Bone Witch; people either love it or hate it. I am of the former category, but I am also a huge fan of world-building. My inner history nerd was all aquiver with the cultural knowledge bomb that is life as an asha. Asha are the magical equivalent of Geisha girls, and this world is rife with Japanese culture. The Asha are adopted into a house at a young age, taken care of and trained, and when they are old enough to make their 'debut', their debts to their house are paid back through performance fees. It is a strange concept, and one that I am not overly familiar with. I enjoyed learning more about the culture and their way of life.

Tea is our main character, and she is the youngest dark Asha in the kingdom. Dark Asha is the proper term for a bone witch, one dealing in death and darkness. A huge majority of the population is afraid of her abilities, but the other Asha revel in them. Her ability to call the Dark is the only way to defeat the daeva, a dragon-like creature that plagues the continent. There was once a great curse placed upon the land. Every ten years, seven daeva rise from the dead and wreak havoc across all eight kingdoms. They are powerful, destructive creatures and their rise can result in the ruination of the world. Tea is a flawed character; vulnerable to the darkness and the feeling of calling it into herself. The Asha have no choice but to begin her training; the only other bone witch in the land is dying.

"There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your flaws."
I fell in love with the characters in this story; their flaws and weaknesses only making them more complex and developed. The twists and turns, especially that one at the end, had me questioning my own sanity! I enjoyed Tea's drive to want to change the world however she can. Her petition to allow male Asha, as well as her want to find a way for bone witches to call the Dark without destroying themselves in the process. The fact that she doesn't accept things that she thinks are wrong is one of my favorite traits of hers. She wants to find a way through problems, not just around them.
"Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are rather than in what they expect you to be."
My greatest issue with this book was the way that women were treated as trained puppets. It made me nauseous at times, reading about the way women were treated by men. The Asha exist to entertain rich men; they are taught from a young age to sing and dance for them, and while they are paid well and taken care of to do so, ugh. It just frustrated me. I understand that was the author's point, but there were certain situations throughout the book that made me cringe.
"Our opinions do not matter, and if you have to swallow your pride to keep them happy, then so be it."
fantasy book review Whuuuut?! I feel like I absolutely would not have survived in this world! My filter-free mouth would have gotten myself into heaps of trouble, dealing with people that subscribed to these views. All in all, I really enjoyed this story. The world was fantastically written and described, the characters were beautiful and flawed, and the story line flowed smoothly. I'm happy I own the second book, The Heart Forger because that ending was INSANE though, Miss Chupeco! I wasn't ready!

<3 Morrighan

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ARC Review: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

fantasy book reviewWarrior of the Wild
By Tricia Levenseller
Standalone
ARC: 326 pages
Feiwel Friends
Feb 26, 2019
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ |5/5|
Categories: Fantasy, Mythology, Vikings
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| @TriciaLevenseller πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

How do you kill a god?

As her father's chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.

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**This is a Spoiler Free Review**

Tricia Levenseller's Warrior of the Wild is a highly unputdownable adventure full of badass Vikings and mythological monsters! I fell so deeply into this world that the author creates, I finished the book in less than 24 hours.

Rasmira is our main character, born and raised in a small Viking village. From the moment she declared herself a warrior at the age of 10, she faced nothing but ridicule and bullying from her peers. Her mentors provided her with conflicting behavior, giving her praise while ignoring others. Rasmira will be the ruler of her village, inheriting her father's legacy as leader. She just has to pass the warrior test. Every 18 year old in the village declares their profession and performs a test in front of everyone. She knows she is ready. She has trained for this moment for 8 years, and she couldn't be more prepared. Until the day for the trial comes and she is sabotaged.

Suddenly, everything and everyone she has ever known and loved turn on her. In the blink of an eye, Rasmira is no longer a warrior. She is exiled from her home, her family, and the boy she thought she loved. Sent into the dangerous wild surrounding her village, she is given one task to complete before she is allowed to return. One single task. Kill the God that plagues the villages. Peruxolo is a powerful immortal, and each of the seven villages pay him tribute once a year. The God claims their meat, their gems, and their women; he possesses the power to strike down a man without touching him. How can she kill an immortal God?

I fell completely in love with our main character. Rasmira is a strong-willed, powerful woman. Warrior of the Wild is the story of a lost girl trying to find herself in a world she no longer understands. I loved being able to witness her growth; the years of constant ridicule because she is different both hurting her and helping her to become the warrior she is meant to be. Destined to rule, her ability to change herself because she wants to, not because people tell her she should is admirable.

I was pleasantly surprised that bullying was a huge theme in this story. The way that the author addresses it was wonderful. She is able to show the character grow from a damaged girl into a woman that believes in herself. I cannot say enough about the importance of this theme in YA. It is rarely acknowledged, yet is a huge issue in a lot of young lives. Thank you Miss Levenseller for creating a beautiful, strong female character that is flawed and damaged. She is the hero of this story in more ways than one.

fantasy book review All in all-- I LOVED this adventure! It was a heart-touching, epic ride into the wilds of Viking territory, rife with horrifying mythological monsters, as well as monsters that end up being human. I highly recommend preordering this one-- you will not want to miss it!

*Thank you to the author, Tricia Levenseller and the publisher, MacMillan for sending me an ARC to review!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: The Wicked Deep

fantasy book reviewThe Wicked Deep
By Shea Ernshaw
Standalone
Hardcover: 308 pages
SimonPulse
March 6, 2018
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✰ |4.5/5|
Categories: Fantasy, Urban Legend, Paranormal
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| @SheaErnshaw πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow… Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
This story begins the telling of a legend of three sisters, accused of witchcraft and being drowned by an entire town in the 19th century. The urban legend feel to the tale drags the reader right into the town of Sparrow from page one and refuses to release its hold.
"The townspeople of Sparrow found the sisters to be much more; they believed them to be witches, casting spells on the men to make them unfaithful. And so at the end of June, when the moon was nothing but a thin shard in the overcast sky, stones were tied to the sisters' ankles, and they were dropped into the ocean just beyond the cape, where they sank to the bottom and drowned. Just like the ship they arrived on."
The town of Sparrow reminds me of these backwards towns that still exist throughout America-- small minded folk that think that anything different is dangerous. Every year, the three Swan sisters return from the depths of the ocean to exact their revenge. Their vengeance comes in the form of drowning young, teenage boys. It almost feels like the town of Sparrow celebrates them-- maybe that is their way of accepting the crimes of their ancestors? The 'Swan Season' seemed peculiar-- throwing parties and hosting parades during this three week long time of death.
"The knowing of what's coming, the death that creeps up over the town like fate clawing at the door of every shop and home. I can feel it in the air, in the spray of the sea, in the hollow spaces between raindrops. The sisters are coming.
Each sister takes over the body of a young girl, and no one but our main character seems to know who is possessed. Tourists pour into the town and watch morbidly as boys' bodies are pulled from the water, lifeless and bloated, yet with smiles on their faces. Thus begins yet another witch hunt for the possessed girls, because the first one obviously worked so well.

This book was so strange, yet I found myself sucked into the world. The darkness rippling from the pages held my attention to the point that I finished it in one sitting. Penny is our main character-- she lives on an isolated island right off the coast of Sparrow, Oregon. Her family life is falling apart; her father disappeared during a Swan season three years prior, and her mother has gone mad in his absence. Penny knows that she will never have a future; how could she leave her mother alone on the island to seek out her own dreams of college?

At the annual Swan party to kick off the season, Penny meets Bo. She is drawn to him and trusts him instantly. Bo is looking for work and Penny needs help on the island. She offers him somewhere to stay and food in exchange for his help manning the lighthouse. What she doesn't know is why this outsider is here in Sparrow at the time of the Swan season. It seems an odd coincidence. The story follows Penny and Bo, their strange relationship, and the insane killings that occur during the Swan season. I loved it. Every twist and turn, every morbid detail that surrounds this insane town and its even more insane reactions to this yearly season of murder.

Magic is a tricky thing. Not easily measured or metered or weighed.
fantasy book review The only reason I cannot bring myself to give this book the full five stars it may deserve is the massive amount of prejudice throughout the story. It made me grind my teeth more times that I can count. I understand that was the point of the author but it got to be a bit much at times. Other than that, I HIGHLY recommend giving this book a read! It is a highly atmospheric tale of vengeance, love, and loss that will leave the reader questioning their sanity.

<3Morrighan

Friday, August 17, 2018

ARC Review: Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

fantasy book reviewThrough the White Wood
By Jessica Leake
Standalone
ARC: 400 pages
HarperTeen
April 9, 2019
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ |5/5|
Categories: YA Fantasy, Mythology, Magic
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| @JessLeake πŸ“· | Official Site | Twitter |

Katya’s power to freeze anything she touches has made her an outcast in her isolated village. And when she loses control of her ability, accidentally killing several villagers, she is banished to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev.

At the castle, though, she is surprised to find that Sasha is just like her—with his own strange talent, the ability to summon fire. Instead of punishment, Sasha offers Katya friendship, and the chance to embrace her power rather than fear it.

But outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies have organized their own army of people who can control the very earth. Bent on taking over the entire world, they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed everything.

Katya and Sasha are desperate to stop the encroaching army, and together their powers are a fearsome weapon. But as their enemies draw nearer, leaving destruction in their wake, will fire and frost be enough to save the world? Or will they lose everything they hold dear?


**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Our story opens with our main character, Katya, being ripped away from the only home and family she has ever known. It is a heartbreaking first scene and pulled at my heartstrings immediately. I knew nothing about this girl, only that she was losing everything in the blink of an eye and there was not a soul there to defend her. The members of her small frozen village, a village she had grown up in, looked on with hatred in their eyes. They were terrified of her and only wanted to be rid of the girl with powers they could never understand.

Katya is a damaged 17 year old girl from a small village on the outskirts of Kiev. Orphaned as a baby in the frozen forest, she is discovered by an older couple who take her in. She calls them Babushka and Dedushka, the Russian word for grandmother and grandfather, but they are no relation to her. She is a lost girl whose family gave her up and left her to die in the cold. Katya could never succumb to the cold though, for she has powers that would keep her alive in the harshest wintery terrains. She has the power of cold. Ice. The ability to freeze water in any temperature. There is also a power she possesses that is a bit more destructive-- something she has labeled 'cold fire'. A power that has gotten her exiled from her village and sent to the rumored 'evil prince' of Kievan Rus'.

"As long as I can see the stars, I told myself, I won't feel so far from home."
I was able to connect with Katya, and I fell in love with her. She is a lost girl, searching for a way to be strong in a world she doesn't understand. Her ability to trust is non-existent from years of ridicule, but her want to overcome that is one of my favorite aspects of this story. She wants to be better, and that drive in her is stronger than her past. I admired her ability to change when faced with new situations. She is an open-minded, multi-dimensional character, well-written and fierce! SO very fierce and protective of the ones that she cares about.

Sasha is the young prince of a city on the brink of war. He has long since given up on using his own power to control fire, and is in search of other powerful element wielders to help defend his city. I fell in love with this young prince. His determination to protect his people, and his drive to do that at all costs is admirable. When faced with adversity, he doesn't get angry. He finds a way around or through it.

I enjoyed the world building in this story. While this is not a sequel to Beyond a Darkened Shore, it is still set in the same world, close to the same time period. The Russian and Slavik folklore is very present, including tales of Baba Yaga and the Firebird! The mythology is woven so well throughout the adventure; I absolutely enjoyed learning more about this culture that is rarely found in YA literature.

fantasy book review Jessica Leake has quickly become one of my favorite story-tellers. I find myself falling in love with her characters and worlds, to the point that I dream about them. As a constant reader, that is my ultimate differential of a good book and an excellent book. Throughout the day, drifting off to a frozen world where princes are passionate about the people that they rule. Where young, damaged girls find the power within themselves to change their future. And ultimately, where a group of young people can band together to try to defeat an enemy that threatens their world. I LOVED every second of this book!

Thank you so much to Jessica Leake and the publisher, Harper Collins for sending me an early copy!