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Evermore by Sara Holland

Evermore by Sara HollandEvermore by Sara Holland
Series: Everless #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 31st December 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

Evermore was more than a little dull, really. I really enjoyed the first book, Everless, when I read it back in 2018, because I thought it was very unique with its world building. The plot itself was unoriginal, but since I enjoyed the world building so much, I didn’t really mind. Evermore, on the other hand, was entirely lacklustre and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

I thought that Evermore was lacking any originality. The time/currency thing wasn’t shiny or unique any more – in fact it was barely used. The plot was boring and it took forever to actually get going. The author threw us straight back into the world, and for no reason at all because nothing interesting was happening at that point in time. I feel like there should have been a time jump or something between books because the beginning (and middle) of this book just dragged.

The relationship, which I felt had potential in the first book, lacked any chemistry, which is a shame because I was ready for it to go somewhere by the end of the first book. All of a sudden the two characters were in love and all over each other and it was boring.

I wouldn’t recommend this one, but at least I finished a series? Yay!

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko JeanEmpress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th November 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

Oh, this was a juicy fantasy book! I went into this expecting it to focus on the action during the competition where the future empress has to beat four challenging rooms, but it was so much more than that. The world building in Empress of All Seasons was excellent and was truly the most gripping part of the book. I loved it.

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One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne by Kendare BlakeOne Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 21st September 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

So I didn’t like One Dark Throne as much as Three Dark Crowns, but it was a really fun read. I think compared to the first book there is more action and less world building, which is a shame because I want to know more about this world. I’m crossing my fingers in the hope that we’ll get more of that in the third book.

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 22nd September 2016
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or lose . . . it's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I don’t know what I was expecting from Three Dark Crowns, but I didn’t like Blake’s debut novel, and so my hopes weren’t set too high for this fantasy series. I think having low expectations really helped me enjoy the book, because it’s by no means the best fantasy story I have ever read, but it was certainly entertaining.

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The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Series: The Queen's Rising #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Full disclosure, I went into this book thinking it was a standalone, and I spent the majority of my reading time still thinking that, so that affected my view of the book. I later learnt that The Queen’s Rising is the first in a series, so now my feelings are a bit off. Continue reading