Shadow Eyes #2: Luminous Spirits Review

Luminous Spirits (Shadow Eyes, #2)
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Luminous Spirits is the second book in the Shadow Eyes trilogy by Dusty Crabtree. Iris is finally coming into her powers and has started to go on more difficult missions with Gregory, Patrick, and Kyra to save people from the shadows that prey on them. But her best friend Lexi is being completely left out of the picture. She isn’t a light warrior and can’t go on the missions for safety reasons, but Iris is now spending all of her free time training. Soon, the shadows start to come for Lexi, and Iris has to figure out how to save her best friend. Her relationship with Patrick is also hurting because of a new girl named Lila that won’t leave him alone, and her ex Josh has come back into the picture and reminds Iris of how things could have been.

I am loving this trilogy so far! Iris has truly blossomed since the last installment of this series and has finally started to become a full-fledge light warrior, but she is still learning some important things. For example, she has to learn how to tell shadows apart in order to figure out how much strength will be needed to remove it, or if it can be removed at all. Some shadows are so strong that they have already started to kill their human hosts, but most can be removed before they get to that point. The shadow description in this trilogy has been done so well, as the shadows aren’t simply random “villain” encounters. The shadows have voices, the shadows can speak to their hosts, and Iris has to intercept them. I felt as though the shadows were real as I read this, and felt as if I wanted to be a light warrior to save people from the shadows that plague them.

The only thing that I didn’t like in this novel was how quickly Iris seemed to jump to conclusions. She seemed pretty indecisive about her relationship, but the minute her boyfriend does something totally out of character for him, she is willing to believe the worst. This could just be my bias against love triangles coming out, but I don’t see a love triangle in the near future for this series. This book focuses mostly on Patrick though, which made me glad.

My two absolute favorite parts about this book were learning about Patrick’s past and the side story with Iris’ best friend Lexi. Patrick wasn’t always a light warrior, and he starts to tell Iris more about his past self in this book. I am a little confused as to the timeline with all of this, but I understood what was happening when he was telling his stories. A lot of new characters were introduced this way, and I enjoyed learning about the new people in this world. It also really touched me to have Lexi not be forgotten, and for Iris to realize how she was hurting her friend. In most books where a kid gets powers and leaves their friends behind, the friends either turn out to be evil, secretly have powers too, or just “don’t understand” so it is reasonable that they are forgotten. Lexi tried to be a good friend, but she kept getting pushed to the side, making her an easier target for the shadows that latch onto sad emotions.

This was an amazing installment in this trilogy! I would recommend the Shadow Eyes Trilogy to anyone looking for a new YA fantasy or urban fantasy series.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 books.

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The Beholder Blog Tour Plus Review

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BOOK INFORMATION

The Beholder (The Beholder #1)

by Anna Bright
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 4th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36558159-the-beholder

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IhjP1N

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-beholder-anna-bright/1128751049?ean=9780062845429#/

Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Beholder-Anna-Bright/9780062845429?ref=grid-view&qid=1554744094457&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-beholder-6

Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Beholder.html?id=Qm61uwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

The Beholder by Anna Bright is a fantasy novel about a girl named Selah. In Potomac, Selah has been preparing to marry from a young age. She knows that she wants to marry her best friend Peter, but he rejects her. Her stepmother says that she must cross the Atlantic to find a suitor and marry. Selah doesn’t want to have to deal with stuffy court protocol for months in order to find an equally stuffy husband, but she doesn’t have a choice. Her father’s health is also failing, and her godmother seems to be wary of her stepmother’s true motives behind sending her across the ocean. Selah embarks on her adventure, determined to come home as soon as possible.

Selah was definitely an admirable character. The only thing I disliked about her was that she seemed to fall almost head over heels for a specific suitor of each region, almost completely forgetting any suitors from any previous regions. Peter, her one true love, is sitting on the backburner by the end of the novel. But I understand that this is her first true experience with “dating” or “courting,” so it makes sense that she would be a little flighty. I forgave her flightiness almost completely after learning about how down-to-earth she was. Despite the fact that she was a royal, she loved to serve her people. She would help keep up the community garden and wouldn’t mind getting her hands dirty for others at all, but her trip to the Atlantic forced her to give up these things almost entirely. Most of the novel was focused on her fighting what was “proper” in order to do what she thought was right.

I wanted to learn the story of each individual character in this game. When Selah travels across the Atlantic, she has to pick a suitor that will satisfy her Council, her Stepmother, and ultimately, herself. This means that she has to get close to each individual suitor in order to pick the best one. Even though the story kind of bombards you with a lot of suitor names when she is first on the boat, the story starts to make sense almost immediately once Selah actually starts meeting the suitors. You will be able to have a connection with each one as you read this story.

The story moves smoothly. There is a bit of slowdown around the middle, but it only lasts for around 10-20 pages before it picks back up again. I read the book over the course of one day, and I didn’t have many issues putting it down and remembering where I was when I decided to start reading again. No large time-skips, nothing to make the story confusing to the point where I couldn’t finish it.

Overall, this was a great YA fantasy novel. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new book in that genre, or anyone looking for a YA romance novel with a dramatic storyline.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.

When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: https://www.annabrightbooks.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17310926.Anna_Bright

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brightlyanna

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brightlyanna/?hl=en

Tumblr: http://merryandbr1ght.tumblr.com/

BOOK EXCERPT

AND

https://www.epicreads.com/blog/sneak-peek-the-beholder/

Shadow Eyes Review

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Shadow Eyes (Shadow Eyes, #1)Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year-old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.

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This book had some of the most realistic YA fantasy characters that I have ever read. I am used to YA characters either acting a lot younger or a lot older than their age because of adult authors writing them. Crabtree gets the seventeen-year-old lifestyle just right! Once I started relating to the characters on a deeper level, I knew I would love this book. And love it I did.

Iris had been seeing shadows for years, but she wasn’t some sort of instant hero. She wasn’t trying to take on the shadows by herself, she just wanted to be able to make them go away again. Nevertheless, she kept trying to live her life. She had a crush and started dating Josh, and she went on group dates with her friends. The shadows kept trying to bother her and her family, and Iris slowly starts to see everything around her crumble. Either Iris is going to have to start fighting back, or the shadows will win.

I hate to keep using the same word, but I have to say that Iris’ relationship with her boyfriend Josh was so relatable! She was with him and she liked him, but sometimes he would just go too far. She never wanted to speak up for herself, but something would always happen to allow her to get out of the uncomfortable situation. Now I’m not saying that all teenage boys are like this, but like every single girl I know who has had a boyfriend has one of these “uncomfortable but just waiting it out until I can leave” stories to tell. Heck, even I have a few! It just seems like a teen girl’s relationship rite of passage. Of course, if she said something, Josh would always back off. But he would get upset about having to back off at the moment, and only apologize later. My gosh, if only all YA boyfriends were written like this. It would definitely tell girls that no, all boys aren’t the perfect beach boys who can never do any wrong like most YA guys. Josh was a generally good guy, but he could get pushy, and Iris just didn’t know how to deal with that. I could go on and on about those few scenes, but they just stuck with me. I hope that this relatable-ness continues in whatever relationships Iris is in in the future novels.

Iris family situation was different but in a good way. One of her sisters was older and was struggling to have children with her husband. Iris thought that the shadows must have been messing with her. Her other sister lives with Iris and her mother and tries to keep things light in the house when Iris or her mother is depressed. And her mother was divorced, finally trying to look for love again. Definitely a modern family situation, but it was more realistic for a girl born in the 2000s. I liked seeing Iris and her sisters make a family with her mom whether or not a new boyfriend was in the picture. They each had their own demons to fight, demons that had truly come out after Iris’ fourteenth birthday, and they leaned on each other to fight them.

The only thing that I didn’t quite like in this book was the assault scene. I thought that it was kinda strange how it played out. I didn’t know exactly what the person did to Iris, and it was never quite explained. Iris just forgave this person, and I think that she forgave the person too quickly. But things were explained at the end of the novel, so maybe they will be revisited and explained in the second book of the series. I’m not saying that Iris shouldn’t have forgiven this person, but I still don’t know why the person tried to attack her. We will see in the next few books!

Overall, this was an amazing read. I can’t even mention everything that I loved about it because it contains too many spoilers, but I will definitely revisit some more things in my review of book 2. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an actually relatable and realistic YA fantasy read.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Blessings of the Firebird’s Light (Firebird’s Blessings Saga #1)

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Blessings of the Firebird's Light: The Firebird's Blessings Saga: Book 1Audry Duvessa knows something about dark forces. She has been given the moniker “Dark Beauty” for her role in her mother’s coven of sorcerers. Audry is destined to take over and continue her mother’s work, but a surprising ally opens her eyes to the possibility of redemption.

When Audry’s mother tasks her to find a firebird, she meets Roei Shurwud, a hunter who follows the word of God. Roei hunts dark creatures and sorcerers like Audry and her family, but something about the young woman fascinates him.

These two very different people find their paths aligning time and again during Audry’s quest for the firebird, and Roei’s faith is tested by several calamities. He ends up partnering with Audry for his own reasons, and the two discover a conspiracy that could destroy both their homes.

Audry has a reason to hate hunters, but she’s surprised by Roei’s gentle faith and devotion. Even in the midst of destruction and disaster, Roei must decide whether this imperious young witch is ready for redemption—or whether her lack of faith will lead her ever further away from the path toward God.

I have read a few Christian fantasy novels, and each one seems to be different. This one has to be my favorite one yet!

Roei and Audry start off being mortal enemies. Roei is a respected hunter who has a strong relationship with the other hunters, and with God. He is living an honest life, he protects the people he loves, and he loves what he does. Audry is a witch who he suspects is up to something, but he can’t help but be drawn to her in some ways. Once disaster strikes and he loses almost everything he loves, their paths cross again. Roei must help Audry on her quest to find the feathers that will lead her to the Firebird, and Audry must learn to trust both God and the men who follow Him again.

At first, things seem very black and white in the story. You know that Audry is evil and Roei is good. Audry is a witch, and Roei follows God. There’s no way that there could even possibly be a grey area. That is, until they begin their journey. Roei learns about some fo the things that men like himself have done in the past, and Audry learns that not all people who follow God are the same. Not all people who follow God are the same as those who want to hurt her and other witches like herself.

The journey to the Firebird takes a long time, a few years it seems, and Audry and Roei have to learn to rely on each other more during that time. At first, they are mortal enemies. But the Firebird’s feathers are not going to reveal themselves unless they work together. Once the stakes are heightened and both parties see what they have to lose, they quickly decide that they need to start working together in order to get home as quickly as possible.

This story element of the search for the feathers was such a good way to set these characters on a meaningful journey. I honestly think that it couldn’t have been done any better than it was! And, believe it or not, this book has so much more than just that one journey. That is the main focus, but there are many other storylines weaving in and out of it.

As I got further into the book, the characters just began to unfold in front of me. You learn the truth about the backstories of both Roei and Audry, as they tell each other secrets that no one else knows.  Many, many years pass as the story progresses, and you can see their bond grow stronger and stronger. It’s truly a beautiful book, these two characters come to life as you read the story.

My only small complaint would be how fast the story moves closer to the end. It has a slower and more detailed format at the beginning, which really worked for this sort of novel, and then it had a lot of timeskips closer to the end. It didn’t confuse me in the slightest, but I would have loved a deeper look into the characters’ lives. This didn’t really affect my overall reading experience though, I just really need to know more about these characters! I hope that more information and details about those lives are given in the second book of the Saga.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new, wonderful Christian fantasy novel.

I received a copy of this novel, and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crowe Review

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #2)Morrigan Crow may have defeated her deadly curse, passed the dangerous trials and joined the mystical Wundrous Society, but her journey into Nevermoor and all its secrets has only just begun. And she is fast learning that not all magic is used for good.

Morrigan Crow has been invited to join the prestigious Wundrous Society, a place that promised her friendship, protection and belonging for life. She’s hoping for an education full of wunder, imagination and discovery – but all the Society want to teach her is how evil Wundersmiths are. And someone is blackmailing Morrigan’s unit, turning her last few loyal friends against her. Has Morrigan escaped from being the cursed child of Wintersea only to become the most hated figure in Nevermoor?

Worst of all, people have started to go missing. The fantastical city of Nevermoor, once a place of magic and safety, is now riddled with fear and suspicion…

I’ve finally finished reading this book, and boy was it good. I think I like this book even more than the first book in the series!

Morrigan Crowe has finally been accepted into the Wundrous Society, but that doesn’t mean that her troubles are over. Her status as a Wundersmith has to be kept hidden, as the only Wundersmith around is Ezra Squall, and he is evil. Her only teacher in the Wundrous Society just has her learning about how evil Wundersmiths are, and she doesn’t feel as if she fits in. Then her team is blackmailed into keeping her secret, and her own teammates start to turn against her. She doesn’t think that she will be able to ever fit in and become a successful member of the Wundrous Society, and she is also worried about taking her team down with her. Then, Ezra Squall pays her a visit.

I have to say that I wasn’t expecting this book to go the full “magic school” route, but I quite enjoyed it. The Wundrous Society is definitely strange and harsh, from the teachers to the other students. Morrigan already started off on the wrong foot by being a Wunderrsmith, but no one but her teammates knows that she actually is one. As long as no one finds out, she should be safe. But that doesn’t mean that the Wundrous Society will be easy to get through, as she struggles through the trials and classes that they throw at her team.

The book is fast-paced, but there is a lot of information on each page. I truly was immersed in this story as I was reading it, and it gave me the vibe of the early Harry Potter novels that I love so much. There also were no love interests or love triangle’s (so far). Nevermoore is such a unique and wacky world, readers will definitely get lost in it.

The character development was intense for this story. Morrigan is not used to communicating with other kids, and now she has her own Wundrous Society family to communicate with on top of her guardian. I hope that in the future books the team gets closer together, as it was only a few unforeseen circumstances that drew them apart in this book. I also wouldn’t mind romance, but I also don’t mind if it isn’t included. The focus is on Morrigan, not on who she is dating.

I’m not sure how long this series is actually going to be? It seemed like a trilogy when I first started it, but now there is so much information that I think it could definitely be longer. I will keep an eye out for when the next book comes out, and I cannot wait to read it!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA fantasy novel with a strong female main character, unique universe, and awesome cast of characters.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 books

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Jaclyn and the Beanstalk Blog Tour Plus Review

Jaclyn and the BeanstalkSYNOPSIS

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

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Jaclyn loves both of her parents, but she won’t tell them that she has dreams about monsters. These dreams attack her, cause her to see things that she never wanted to see and cause her immense pain. She doesn’t know why she has these dreams though and just asks her father to teach her how to fight in case something happens. Then, her father and his friends are taken by the monsters, and it is up to Jaclyn to save them.
Even though Jaclyn was sixteen years old, this book could still relate to younger YA readers. Some parts of the story were a bit suggestive, but other than that, she actually acted more 13 or 14 to me than 16. I especially thought this when she was so connected to her parents, and obeyed them in almost everything, even when she wanted to go out and see the world. This was a great fantasy novel, but I would recommend that if you read it, just age the character down a few years in certain scenes to make it more realistic.
I love how Jaclyn’s father never babied her for being a girl. He was willing to teach his only daughter how to fight, and Jaclyn is willing to learn. The only person who wasn’t completely on board with the plan was Jaclyn’s mother, but even she gave in eventually.
I also liked Jack and Jaclyn’s small romance in the story. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it was sweet, and I am a sucker for childhood friends-to-lovers books. This was definitely a good romance for Jaclyn’s type of character! Jack was just the right amount of assertive and caring, even though they hadn’t met for many years.
Overall, this book had great characters and a great plot, even though the plot felt a bit rushed. Jaclyn was a unique main character who had a healthy teenage romance, and I only wish to have been able to learn a bit more about her without flashing from scene to scene. This might have eliminated the small issue with her seeming a tad younger than her age in certain scenes. I can’t wait to read the next book in this retold fairy tales series!
I would recommend this book to lovers of YA fantasy novels.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 books
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Praise for JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK

A mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Lord of the Rings” … RECOMMENDED ―School Library Journal

“Keenly descriptive and eloquently written with touches of sixteenth-century language, the story takes the reader into the world of monsters controlled by a diabolical villain, and into a land of mystery and magic beans.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

Mary Ting managed to surprise me at every turn, even though I must have read this story a million times as a kid. The most impressive surprise was the creation of a girl protagonist who is so much better than the original Jack. Then she brings in the boy, Jack, as the love interest. Sheer genius and a great idea. The writing is great. The plot is good, and the various themes woven throughout the story make it a very compelling tale.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review

Mary Ting writes with an adventurous heart, a clever pen, introducing young readers to a classic that meets fantasy, shedding light on the family devotion and a love story that buds to completion by the end. This short novel comes as a highly recommended read for parents and young adults that prefer fantasy fiction with a Christian-based theme and a creative perspective. Mary Ting is one of those writers to notice and watch. ―Kingdom’s Review  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Tingis an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM MARY TING

WEBSITE: http://www.tangledtalesofting.com/
TWITTER: 
@MaryTing
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4388953.Mary_Ting
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/authormaryting

 
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Awakened By Grace Review (Divine Fate #3)

Awakened by Grace (Divine Fate, #3)Ryn Tyler has finally fulfilled her destiny—but Eagle Valley is in more danger than ever.

After a victory that came at too high of a cost, Ryn’s sacrifices have paid off. Ryn has awakened Grace, the Davina who’s prophesied to save them all… but she’s not what Ryn expected. From the start, Ryn knows Grace is keeping secrets. But it’s worse than she originally feared, for Grace is hiding something that could mean the end of the world.

Ryn decides she has to discover the truth—even as war erupts in Eagle Valley.

Everything Ryn thought she knew about the magical world is wrong, but somehow, she and her friends have to make it right again. If she doesn’t, the home she’s come to love, and everyone in it, will be lost.

Ryn finally awakened Grace, but Grace isn’t what she seems. Ryn expected Grace to come back and save the Davina, and even though Grace wants to do something like that, Ryn isn’t sure if she is going about it in the right way. Something just seems too off about her, whether its the fact that she is a little more prone to violence than Grace was in the stories, or that some of the things she says don’t add up.

As this series comes to an end, I have to think back on the previous novels and see what has changed. Most things changed for the better, but some things got worse as the series went on.

For starters, I always mentioned Ryn’s relationship with her mother in all of my previous reviews. I always thought that Ryn acted like a brat towards her a lot and that her mother was just trying to keep her safe most of the time. Ryn finally has a bit of a breakthrough near the start of this novel and realizes what her mother was trying to do for her, and this really made me think that Ryn herself had FINALLY matured! This wasn’t even a major piece of the story, but it was huge for me.

One thing that I really thought deteriorated throughout the books was Ryn’s relationship with Marek. They started the series kinda liking each other, and I was looking forward to a whirlwind magical teen romance for the rest of the books. Instead, it fell a bit flat, and I couldn’t even see the fact that they were really a couple anymore by one point in the trilogy. Marek wasn’t even given that many lines in the majority of the novel. He just seemed to be there as the obligatory romantic interest, even though they had no chemistry. At least in book two, he trained her, in this novel he just seemed like a sidekick. As a lover of YA, I definitely did not need for them to be a couple.

The series did end on a good note. I was expecting the ending to be more anticlimactic than it was, so I was pretty satisfied with it. The fight scene was even really exciting, one of the most action-packed that I had seen in the entire series. There were one or two plot things that may not have been completely tied up at the end of the story, but most things were finished nicely. This book also seemed to move faster than the other ones in the series.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad YA fantasy trilogy! The world was definitely unique, and even though I didn’t like certain things in certain books, my overall experience was pleasant. I would still recommend this entire series to anyone who was looking for a new YA fantasy novel.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars