Tag Archives: NA Lit

Book Review of Eidolon by Grace Draven

Eidolon The Wraith KingsEidolon is the second book in Grace Draven’s The Wraith Kings Paranormal Fantasy Romance series.

SUMMARY (from back): In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness. His human wife, Ildiko, must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne.

Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned.  A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved the first book in the series, Radiance, for its depiction of how a human adapts to the dramatically different culture of the Kai after an arranged marriage borne out of political interests. Eidolon, while not focusing on the same themes as Radiance, introduces a peril on that world that demand the three nations unite and fight.

I loved the continued world-building of Draven.

Plot: The threat in this book is a horde of demons from the pit of Hell released by the former self-obsessed queen. They pillage and feed upon any living being. The stakes have never been higher and failure is not an option. It was certainly a creative and extreme conflict to be sure.

While the plot introduced a significant conflict, I thought the transition between book one and two was a bit abrupt. I mentioned this in my review of the first book. For it was in the epilogue that Draven crafts this conflict. While the scenario would have been possible based upon the character of the queen she’d set up, I would have like to see the story flow and the narrative create this problem on its own, not an epilogue.

I will not give any spoilers, but I found the execution of the conflict and resolution lacked an emotional hook for me. It seemed academic and while “big”, I wished the events leveraged the emotions of the female protagonist, Ikaido, as well as her husband, Brishen, more. It felt like Draven built the tension and then we moved to lots of action that lacked anything but the occasional pining of the husband for his wife while he’s slaying the bad guys.

Characters: I enjoyed the continued growth of both Ilaiko and Brishen. They have gone from willing pawns in a political game to husband and wife who are deeply committed to each other. I thought the misunderstand between them and how it impacted their relationship (duty vs desire) was well done.

Overall, I give this 4.0/5.0 stars.

Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of A Court of Mist and Fury

ACourtofMistandFury

Amazingly beautiful cover! So many unexpected twists. An ending I had to read twice as more and more depth was revealed. Oh so good! That’s A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Maas is a master at storytelling. Period. And this book is even better than the first in this series.

I chose to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses to get back up to speed before reading this one. And I’m glad I did because I’d forgotten so many of the details Maas gave us. For instance, I’d forgotten just how broken Feyre is from her time “under the mountain.” This installment picks up with Feyre reeling from that trauma. She’s back with Tamlin and we’re breathing a sigh of relief…but not for long for he wants to put her in a glass box to protect her from every danger (to protect his fragile heart), while she withers from the stifling confinement…confinement not unlike what she experienced under the mountain, and she fractures.

As if that’s not a complex enough beginning, the Lord of the Night Court intervenes… I love how Maas uses characters she’s coached us to hate, just to reveal another side that explains why they behave as they do…and from motives we not only accept, but actually advocate, launching us in a whole new direction. As a side note, I loved the banter between Feyre and Rhys–It’s clear they both use it to protect themselves from being vulnerable and exposed, but at the same time in my head I’m thinking, just lay yourself open and bear, you won’t regret it. Oh feels…

Sarah introduces a host of five major new characters, an inner circle, that are each so different from each other, wounded and traumatized just like Feyre. I loved how they each grow and develop throughout the story helping Feyre sort through and begin to heal from her brokenness. What awesome friends.

In book two, we also discover what that “minor” detail in book one accomplished when all seven Lords gave a drop of their power to bring Feyre back to life.  Look out. Talk about power…I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Feyre masters these new abilities in book three because the story is just begging to go there, especially when the King of Hybern needs to be dealt with. And we already have forewarning that the dude plans to use Feyre, and not for good.

I have to add a plug for the world building as well. Maas added a lot more depth to several of the courts in book two–the political divisions between, the relative power of several, different races, and how betrayal can emerge without warning.

I must confess I JUST finished rereading the last five chapters of this book because the first time through I had to know how it ended, but Maas throws SO MANY details in those last chapters that my reread left my head spinning, it was so good.

CAVEAT: I need to mention that while this book is technically listed as “Teen,” there are several explicit sex scenes that had a purpose in the narrative, but if you are turned off by that kind of thing, you’ll probably want to steer clear.

I give this 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Mist and Fury on Amazon

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses

CourtofThornsandRaoses_CoverUnique in a way that makes you fall even more in in love with the characters–that’s how I summarize this Beauty and the Beast retelling by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

WHAT I THOUGHT: This is my second read of this book. I read it the first time when it came out a year ago in May 2015, but with the release of the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury days ago, I needed to reread it to remind myself what had happened. I found the second reading even better than the first, filling in details I hadn’t noticed before.

So, lets first touch on the amazing and beautiful world that Maas built. Humans live in fear of the powerful fae living north of an invisible, but magically strong wall. Fae who live forever and must manage the politics by and between seven courts: Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Dawn, Day, and Night. And then there’s Hybern, a monstrous island that is set up as a threat to the fae for later, in another book in the series. When I first saw the names of the courts, I remember rolling my eyes thinking how unoriginal, but Maas does a good job giving us enough detail and flavor for differences between that the lack of originality actually worked, although I’m looking for even more rich differences as the series progresses. I’m particularly looking to understand the different powers each of the High Lord’s of these courts wield.

And then there’s the characters…

Feyre is a nineteen year old who has been the provider for a family, formerly of means and status, who has fallen on very hard times as a result of her father getting greedy with his business dealings and losing everything. She’s the only one who is mobilized to hunt and do anything pragmatic to help her, her two sisters and father survive.  From the get go we see a character who is strong and who cares for others at her own expense, but whose heart is fragile after everything she’s been through. Such a great foundation.

When she kills a fae in disguise on the human side of the wall, we meet Tamlin who claims Feyre and drags her north to the Spring court. Tamlin is set up as a mysterious character who only after conversation with his second in command do we come to learn his name, and only after conversation with a creature who Feyre ensnares and must tell the truth, that he is High Lord of the Spring court. This unveiling does a good job at building the secrecy that is prevalent among the fae. And based upon how Tamlin treats Feyre, protecting, caring for, and more, when she deeply understands she is nothing in Fae society as a human, I found myself rooting for the pair.

And then there’s Lucien, Tamlin’s second in command who has a gold fake eye, replacing the one someone or something dug from his head. The detail sets up the mystery of his background. We observe his indifference of Feyre and only later come to understand and appreciate  all the trauma he has endured as a member of the Autumn court now living in Spring court.

The details of these main characters and their flaws make them relatable and endearing.

And then there’s the plot. I feel like there should be ominous music playing LOL. Wow, Maas’s amazing imagination is fully on display and satisfies the need for gripping suspense, rooting for the underdog, and hoping the best for lovers pining but separated by a powerful, evil villainness, Amarantha. As you might imagine, Feyre is the target as the weak human, used as a tool to get at Tamlin who has fallen madly in love with her.  Oh goodness… what a series of conflicts that has you cheering the whole way.

I won’t spoil the ending but will just say that Maas sets up book two in a satisfying, but not in-your-face announcement kind of way, giving Feyre more powers than she started with.

This is a must read! I give it 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Thorns and Roses on Amazon

NOTE: I would call this New Adult, not YA based on the mature situations detailing torture and some explicit sexual content.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!