eARC Review – The Silvered Serpents

Title: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 22nd, 2020

416 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Review

**Thank you to Wednesday Books, Netgalley, and Roshani Chokshi for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The second installment of The Gilded Wolves trilogy continues the adventure of our new fave gang since Kaz Brekker and the Dregs. Severin and Laila (and others) are back with a new mission – find The Divine Lyrics, a book that no one can agree on what it says, but everyone knows it’s important. Severin needs it to become a God. Laila needs it to learn more of her past. The Fallen House wants it because it was theirs, but they can’t find it becasue it was lost so long ago. It’s a race to see who will uncover it first.

I was worried this installment would fall to the typical middle book syndrome but IT DID NOT. Middle books can sometimes be on the slow side because of setting up the plot in the third, but The Silvered Serpents kept the action and adventure going the whole time – with twists and turns and a stunning ending that I did not see coming.

One thing, Severin is a PUNK in this book. He’s so devastated after [REDACTED] has that ending in The Gilded Wolves. He treats Laila terribly and the book really lost some points for me for that reason. He is mean to the point of emotionally abusive to her (even though she isn’t innocent in this). I think the major issue in the plot could’ve been resolved by a conversation between Laila and Severin, which isn’t my favorite plot device.

For fans of Six of Crows and Enchantee, The Silvered Serpents continues the captivating, historical adventure that will take you through France and Russia – and everywhere in between – while deepening the magical story of these 5 friends.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Where Dreams Descend

Title: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdoms of Cards #1)

Author: Janella Angeles

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

464 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review

Kallia is a female magician, stronger than most others, in a world where stage magicians are only accepted if they are male. She learned everything she knows from Jack, the master of Hellfire House, a club near the city of Glorian. She is the headliner of the club, but she longs to be on stage as a true magician, not a show girl. So she escapes to Glorian to enter a magic competition being held – but not before she finds out Jack has been lying to her all along. Now in Glorian, she is faced with opposition like never before, and she must remember that not everything is as it appears, especially when looking into mirrors…

I had a hard time reviewing this book, because the beginning and middle of the book were very different than the end. Throughout the book, I had no trouble putting it down. I just wasn’t fully drawn into the plot and the cast. BUT the ending was crazy insane and completely changed my mind on the entire book. Kallia is a great character, and her assistant Aaros made me laugh through the whole book. But Demarco wasn’t exactly what I would look for in a love interest, BUT I have high hopes for him in the second book! There was a lot of Kallia having to be strong against male opposition, due to all the misogyny in the book.

The world Angeles has built is super interested. You don’t know much about the world outside of Glorian or the Hellfire House, but it’s all very intriguing and mysterious which makes for a good read. I would’ve liked some more explanation into the magic system, I didn’t leave the book feeling like I truly understood how it all worked. BUT the descriptions and writing of the magic and the circus and the competition was glorious and so well done.

As you can see, this is a bit of a mixed review. I’m very much invested in reading the sequel when it eventually comes out, because I just MUST know what happens to everyone after that ending. Prepare yourselves for a decently large cliffhanger!

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Mirage

Title: Mirage (Mirage #1)

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication date: August 28th, 2018

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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’ fiancé, 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.

Review

“You do not kneel or bend, I told myself. To anyone. You continue.”

somaiya daud, mirage

Amani is a simple girl, living in a small farming village. Her planet has been conquered by a oppressive race, who views them as degenerates and less than. One day, she is captured by the empire to serve as the stand-in for the Princess, Maram. They are almost identical, and is in need of someone to take on the risk of public events. Maram is cruel and vicious, she is half and half, so everyone despises her for her race for some reason. Amani and Maram are able to form an uncertain companionship, but Amani soon is in over her head.

I really enjoyed the mix of science fiction, corrupt government, and rebellion plot lines and themes. There’s interplanetary travel and technology but also class divisions and haves and have nots. I loved the juxtaposition of Amani and Maram, they are truly opposites in every way of life and personality while being almost identical. I enjoyed reading about Amani’s thoughts as she is pretending to be Maram, she really took on the “character” well and it was like she was acting and playing a part.

Some of the middle of the book went somewhat slowly and became less interesting, but I still highly enjoyed the read. You start to see a more human side of Maram, which is nice, and I imagine the sequel will further her story – as this is really focused on Amani and her story. As always, it is hard to read about racism and the general insults that come when racism is apparent – but it is a major plot line in the book and it wouldn’t be the same without it.

For fans of Illuminae and Sky Withouts Stars, Mirage is an interesting take on rebellions in space, and the meaning of race and friendship.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Morning Flower

Title: The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins #2)

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Nestled along the bluffs of the forested coast lays the secret kingdom of the Omte—a realm filled with wonder… and as many secrets.

When Ulla Tulin took her internship at the Mimirin, the only mystery she thought she’d have to solve was that of her birth parents. After a girl named Eliana gets kidnapped while in her care, Ulla knows she has to find out the truth of who Eliana really is—and the only way to do that means traveling to the Omte capital, the place she suspects her mother is from.

Ulla didn’t expect that when she arrived she would discover the identity of a Skojare man who crossed paths with her mother—a man who could very well be her father. When the head of the Mimirin learns Ulla’s father is connected to the Älvolk, a secret society who believes they were tasked with protecting the First City and the only ones who know its location, he sends Ulla and Pan to Sweden where they find him living among the Älvolk. But all is not what it seems with the Älvolk and their urgent quest to find the Lost Bridge to the First City leaves Ulla feeling uneasy—and possibly in danger. 

Review

In the thrilling sequel to The Lost City, Amanda Hocking continues Ulla’s journey to finding her parents. This book takes Ulla across the country and world, searching other Trollian cities and areas for clues. Every time she gets close to some information, another wrench is thrown into the mix and turns everything upside down. With her friends Pan and Dagny, Ulla also is searching for Eliana, the young girl she became close to in The Lost City. As the book continues, it seem more and more like the two searches aren’t as separate as they seemed…

I truly enjoyed reading this book more than I expected. Going into this series I definitely thought it would be more high/epic fantasy and it totally isn’t. It’s very modern with some cool references. The plot keeps going, though it seems like it was stretched a smidge to make it into a trilogy instead of a duology. This book was almost more interesting than the first because you experience more of the world with Ulla’s travels. I also LOVE Dagny. She has ace rep, which I love, and she’s so no nonsense that it really balances Ulla out. They are so different but work so well together as characters.

I wanted more romance. Give me more Ulla and Pan. Every time they got close, one of them pulled away and I just kept screaming at them to get together already!! So it’s definitely a more slow burn romance as we’re in book two and it hasn’t really happened yet. There was also a bit of middle book syndrome where most of it is just used to set up for the third book, so there isn’t much action. It’s a lot of data finding and questioning people in order to find everyone Ulla is looking for. But, it sets everything up nicely for The Ever After, the third book in the trilogy – I will definitely be reading this one to see how it all shakes out.

Also, this book is second in the third trilogy in this world. I have not read Amanda Hocking’s other books set in this world, but you don’t really need to. Everything is explained and easily grasped so don’t let that stop you from picking this series up.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Court of Lions

Title: Court of Lions (Mirage #2)

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

Review

**Thank you to Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Somaiya Daud for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

A stunning conclusion to the Mirage duology, Court of Lions continues Amani and Maram’s journey. The book picks up about 6 weeks after the end of Mirage, but mostly fills in what has gone on during this time. A different aspect of Court of Lions that we didn’t see in Mirage is POV chapters from Maram – some in flashback and some in real time. Maram undergoes a lot of character development in this book, and this insight into her character really helps give her depth.

This book is really centered around Amani and Maram’s friendship. Their development around each other, with each other, BECAUSE of each other, is truly a marvel to read. These characters were written so well, and seem to be meant to be seen as polar opposites, whereas they are actually two ends of a spectrum and eventually meet in the middle. The side characters and plotting are great as well, but this book truly is about Amani and Maram.

The pacing of this book is a tad off, some things happen too quickly, without enough time or justification. Some of it seems too “easy”. As an avid reader of fantasy novels I’ve come to expect certain hiccups or things to go wrong in the plot – but there wasn’t much in this book. It reads as a touch unbelievable. I found myself confused about how quickly events were happening & there just didn’t seem to be much struggle for the characters.

Overall, I really did enjoy this conclusion and found the world-building just as amazing as the first book. Also, there is LGBTQIA representation in this one, which helped you understand a character a bit better.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Set Fire to the Gods

Title: Set Fire to the Gods (Set Fire to the Gods #1)

Authors: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

432 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

Review

tw: death, physical abuse

Ash and Madoc are unlikely allies. Pitted against each other in their god’s war, the goal is to defeat the other. But when it starts to seem like there is more at stake than a war fought over a gladiator battle gone wrong, the two must team up to stop the gods from destroying both their countries. But their loyalty to each other will be tested, and they will be shocked by what each other, and those around them, are really capable of.

Wow okay so I literally just finished reading this book 5 minutes ago and I am still processing it. THAT ENDING. Whereas the first say, 15% of the book is tough to engage with, it really picks up and the action just never ends. With shifting alliances and allegiances there’s no predicting what will happening, ESPECIALLY THAT ENDING. Did I mention the ending??? Holy cow.

This book is pitched as Avator the Last Airbender meets gladiators. Whereas the gladiator part is very evident, the ATLA is less evident. Sure, the characters have elemental abilities, but there was a lot less use of them than I was expecting. I wish there was more use of the powers and abilities through the book, but based on what happens I imagine there will be more in the second book.

Set Fire to the Gods is a unique take on books with gods. Basically, the gods are on “earth” with them and you can interact with them almost on a daily basis. The idea of the gods fighting each other and their original creator is not new, but it didn’t feel overdone or reminiscent of any other series that I can think of. Once the action got going, I truly enjoyed this and could barely put it down.

Thank you to Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Unravel the Dusk

Title: Unravel the Dusk (Blood of Stars #2)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publisher: Knopf

Publication date: July 7th, 2020

416 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

Review

**Thank you to Knopf, Netgalley, and Elizabeth Lim for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Unravel the Dusk is a stunning conclusion to a Chinese inspired story that is a mix of Mulan and Project Runway. Our main girl Maia is dealing with the aftermath of the events of Spin the Dawn, and is still working to save A’landi from the shansen. Her family is in danger, and Maia must make some very hard decisions in order to keep everyone safe, including herself.

I truly loved this sequel. Lim’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful that you feel transported to A’landi, seeing what Maia sees. Unravel the Dusk provides more background to other characters, instead of focusing mostly on Edan and Maia. The romance continues (no spoilers) but is still very PG and YA like. You get to see more of her family, the Emperor, Lady Sarnai, and the shansen – I liked this because Lim was able to add dimension to these characters.

The plot was a touch confusing and hard to follow at times, especially as it was reaching the climax. I had some difficulty following the potential consequences of Maia’s actions at any given time, and I think this is due to so many things happening. There were a few false endings where I thought the book was just about over, only to look down and see I was still only 77% through the book. This made the reading experience seem a bit disjointed as I got prepared for the “ending” only for it not to come.

I read through this book mostly in one day. It is a quick read, and I still loved the world that Lim created. I did not do a re-read of Spin the Dawn before I dove in, and I did not feel like I should have when reading. The plot picked right up from the ending and there were enough reminders in the text that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

Overall, a great conclusion and I am so lucky that I was approved to receive this book from Netgalley. I am so appreciative and can’t wait for this to be officially released! And, that cover is just gorgeous!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Grave Mercy

“One heart cannot serve two masters.” 

Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: April 3rd, 2012

576 pages

Goodreads Synopsis

Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review

“I stare at him coldly. “I do not care for needlework.” I pause. “Unless it involves the base of the skull.”

robin lafevers, grave mercy

Another day, another review for a book with a young, female assassin! Whereas Grave Mercy has a similar main character to Throne of Glass, that’s pretty much the only similarity these two books have! But, I do still enjoy a good, female assassin!

Grave Mercy is the first in a trilogy following the lady assassins of St. Mortain, the god of Death. Set in the 1400’s in Brittany, Europe, Grave Mercy is a historical fantasy where the gods grant certain powers, abilities, and duties to those sworn to them. Ismae, our MC, hsa a horrendous childhood as she was marked at birth and seen as cursed. Her birthmark is really proof that St. Mortain saved her when her mother tried to abort her. Ismae was sold to a terrible husband, but quickly saved to go study to be an assassin for the god. The story jumps and Ismae is thrust into the political environment of Brittany as they try to stave off the French, and she is instructed to protect the young duchess ruling all of Brittany.

I have many thoughts on this book. First off, I don’t generally like historical fiction/fantasy that much, but this book reads more like fantasy than historical – so much so that I didn’t realize it was really based off real events until I read the afterword! It feels like a fresh, new world & the powers and abilities of the assassins of St. Mortain are interesting.

In terms of the actual assassinating, Ismae is good at what she does – but she isn’t written as all powerful like Celaena from Throne of Glass. She isn’t unstoppable, she’s methodical and take pride in her work, but not necessarily enjoyment. As a character, Ismae did not thrill me. I loved her budding romance with *redacted* but I found her character to be more boring than the other characters. There were chunks of the book I enjoyed her more in than others, so it was really a roller coaster experience for me.

The writing is superb, the world-building is phenomenal, and the political intrigue is top notch. I enjoyed these elements of Grave Mercy immensely, and definitely plan on continuing to read this series to see how the story goes with the Duchess and Brittany. The villain was also suitable evil and hateable, which I always enjoy!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Throne of Glass

“We all bear scars,… Mine just happen to be more visible than most.”

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication date: August 2nd, 2012

404 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Review

“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.” 

sarah j maas, throne of glass

Celaena is a world reknowned assassin… but she was captured and thrown in prison for the last year. And not just any prison, Endovier is a salt mine where almost 100% of people perish before they serve their sentences. Celaena is approached by Prince Dorian to be his choice to compete for King’s Champion, a role that Celaena can’t imagine playing – but would in order to leave Endovier. But once the competition starts, it becomes immediately clear that there are magical forces at play, looking to wipe out the competition, including Celaena.

WOW. I read this book so quickly, and loved it so much. There were so many pieces and layers to ToG that it seems impossible that it was all done in a relatively shorter book. You’ve got assassins, competition, slight romance, magic, world-building, Fae, and adventure all wrapped up. Basically it has all the real components of adult fantasy, but set in a more YA world and tone.

Celaena as a character is dominant. I honestly think that is the best way to describe her. She is just fierce and basically unbeatable. Maas writes her as basically an assassinating prodigy (except for that one time she got caught but we’ll give her a pass for that one). Celaena is also sassy, moody, and a READER. She’s basically a normal human that was forced into being an assassin and now accepts her role in life. I also loved Dorian and Chaol, for very different reasons. If I could, I would have her end up with both of them at this point tbh.

Going back to an original point, there is so much going on in ToG, that sometimes it is hard to keep track of everything. There was almost too much plot happening to follow, too many threads to tie together. However, this did not lessen my satisfaction with this book, as I know this series is super long & it is setting up a large and complex universe.

Overall, I’m very excited to continue reading this series as I know there will be incredible twists and turns. The writing is easy to get through and isn’t super dense. Give me more!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Chosen Ones

Title: Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: HMH

Publication date: April 7th, 2020

432 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Review

Thank you to HMH and Netgalley for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Chosen Ones flips the fantasy script and focuses on the aftermath of what happens when you’re Chosen to save the world. 10 years after they vanquished the Dark One, the gang gets pulled into another dimension/universe to slay another villain. Told exclusively from Sloane’s POV, Chosen Ones strikes a balance between being Chosen and being human. Characters are dealing with alcoholism, PTSD, drug addiction recovery, and racism is even touched on briefly. As readers, you don’t really get to see what happens AFTER the big battle – and especially not 10 years later.

The characters in this book all have problems, like serious problems. If you’re looking for redeemable characters that leap off the page with their airy lightness and happiness, keep it moving. Sloane is seriously dealing with PTSD and trying to hold it together. She is dating Matt, but when he proposes she freaks out and burns the relationship to the ground. Matt honestly isn’t much better, but it helps to show that they all aren’t quite back. I happen to like them even more that they aren’t redeemable, but I do feel like some conflict could have been avoided by having simple conversations.

I truly feel like Albie and Ines got shafted in this book. They have SO LITTLE page time, so I really wonder what the purpose was. The beginning to this book (where they existed) was fairly slow going and some scenes seemed unnecessary. However, the book really picks up when they are pulled into the other dimension. This is when the book really starts to get good and I got invested in the story.

THE ENDING. Without spoilers, the ending is a wild ride. I definitely did not see parts of it coming, especially not the big reveal. Along the way I picked up on some clues, but I was still fooled. The ending is fairly clear, there really isn’t a cliffhanger even though I believe there is a sequel. However, I found the writing in the ending to be very confusing and hard to follow. This could potentially be cleared up in edits, as this is an ARC.

Overall, I would give this a 3.5/5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads). I will read the next book, however there were some significant enough issues for me that I couldn’t give it a whole 4 stars.

Happy reading, folks!