Friday 2 July 2021

Review: Tokyo Ever After

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates’. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity . . . and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan.

Soon she’s traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s "Japanese" enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Hello everyone, I'm here to introduce you to one of my favourite books of the year! I can't begin to describe to you all how much I loved this book. I loved the sound of the synopsis and I was expecting it to be a fun read, which it was by the way, I just wasn't expecting to become quite so obsessed with this book! I grew up reading The Princess Diaries and I got such big Princess Diaries vibes from this book, but more than was just so entertaining and really took me out of my own head for the entire time I was reading it. Every time I reluctantly had to put it down I couldn't wait to settle down and get back to it because yes, it had emotional moments, but it also just really made me happy when I was reading! Tokyo Ever After is a feel-good, mood lifting kind of read and ugh, it was brilliant! I'd also like to take a moment to thank this book for introducing me to the word 'mantrum'! 

I was smiling from the start of this book, I absolutely loved Izumi's narrative voice with the tone and the snark. Izumi was just a brilliant MC, like she had the snark, she was funny, she was easy to relate to, root for and empathise with. I really felt everything right there with her, both good and bad. I genuinely got so upset on her behalf whenever things would go wrong and it wasn't entirely her fault because that's the thing. Izumi finds out she's a Princess which is awesome, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. She's been raised in the US and as such, she's not familiar with the culture and customs in Japan or what the protocol and expectations are for a Royal. So she has to navigate and learn an entirely new culture and of course she makes mistakes and doesn't always get it right, especially with her twin cousins trying to sabotage her and I really felt for her more than once. I was angry and upset on her behalf, and as Izumi's learning all about this amazing new culture, you're learning it right there with her. It also makes for some emotional moments as she feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere but she's trying so hard to, and I loved her journey to discovering just where it is she belongs and who she is with this new identity she has. I'm going to be honest, Izumi has more balls than me because she sticks out for a lot longer than I would have and it takes a lot of courage for her return at the end! 
Another thing that made this book for me was the cast of supporting characters. I LOVED Izumi's friendship group and the dynamic between them all. It was a solid friendship, they all had each other's backs and they were fully there for Izumi, plus I loved the banter! There's so many great lines in this book from Izumi and her friends that had me snorting with laughter. I really liked Yoshi, I thought he was funny and it warmed my heart that he was the first to accept her and provided some much needed chill time for her to kind of let loose and relax. Reina...I'd love to see more of Reina because I loved what we did see and she made me giggle with some of her lines! I also really loved Mariko and watching the friendship slowly grow between the two of them with Mariko opening up a little and having her back when Izumi needed it! 

Then we have Akio. I loved Akio, I loved the dynamic between them from the start when Izumi was drawing little devil horns on his  picture and fully hating him to the way that slowly shifted and changed as she started to catch feelings. There was just so much angst because of his position, but he was actually really very sweet and I loved the romance. They wrote love poems to each other, what more can I say!? 

I just really loved reading this book, it brought a never-ending smile to my face and is the kind of feel-good read that's perfect for summer! There's angst, there's drama, there's heartwarming moments and more emotional moments. Izumi's just...she always remains generous and warm no matter what people do or say to her, she's courageous because I'd have run away if I was her and watching her slowly become closer to her father as they get to know each other was beautiful too. 

I spent so much of this book either laughing out loud, gasping out loud, yelling at the book and just generally being riveted to it because as I said...the drama. There was one particular twist at the end that I didn't see coming, maybe I should have but I was having too much fun to be honest! Or maybe I was just wilfully ignoring it because of how much I loved the character and I knew it was going to hurt not only Izumi, but also me! Either way, I thought I'd figured out where this was going and if there's another book I figured this character would get more of a focus...but this twist threw that completely out of the window! The ending though...that was utterly perfect, and I'm really hoping it's not over! 

Tokyo Ever After is a brilliant, wonderful book that will have you smiling throughout! It's impossible not to cheer for Izumi, commiserate with her, gasp out loud at the twists and the drama and get a little bit emotional at the angst. It's angst with a happy ending, mind you but still...there is angst! I was fully invested in this book, I never wanted it to end and I'm so stoked to find out that it seems to be a series! Izumi's narrative voice and the brilliant cast of entertaining support characters made this book for me, along with Izumi's slow growing relationship with her father, friendship with Mariko and the sweet romance blossoming with Akio! It's funny, but also kind of packed with feels and heart, not to mention the abundance of Japanese culture to discover right alongside her! 

I need for this series to be like ten books long or never end, basically! This is definitely a favourite of mine that will be revisited many a time when I'm in need of some sunshine and smiles! 

Thursday 17 June 2021

Review: From Little Tokyo With Love

From Little Tokyo With Love 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in this intensely personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart.

If Rika's life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale--being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts' business--she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn't quite fit the princess mold. 

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America's reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness--searching for clues that Grace is her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo's hidden treasures with cute actor Hank Chen, and maybe...finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn't so kind. Rika knows she's setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don't happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

Okaaay I went through it reading this book! Yes it was fun, yes it had romance and a quest of sorts but wow did I see my younger self in Rika and her anger and how it felt to her, as well as how she felt that she didn't deserve a happy ending. Not to be brutally personal there, but Rika had me feeling quite emotional a time or two! 

As such, I immediately loved Rika, like I read the first chapter and fell in love with her narrative voice, then I got punched in the heart by how the chapter ended. I just really connected with her character, I was rooting for her, empathised with her and was just generally Team Rika throughout! I really loved her sisters Rory and Belle and the relationship between the three of them. Their interactions had me chuckling a time or two! There's so many great characters in this book, and I truly felt like Henry was the perfect match for Rika. Everyone else saw Rika as angry and problematic, always causing disruptions but Henry just see's her as passionate. They both encourage each other in their own individual missions and I actually thought it was really refreshing to have a movie star character like Henry struggling with panic attacks rather than painting him to be perfect. 

I easily binged through this, Rika and Henry go on a treasure hunt of sorts in the quest to find Rika's mother, following all the clues they come across. But while this has humour and some sweet, swoony romance moments, there's also these very emotional moments that tug at the heart. Rika struggles with fitting in and feeling like she belongs because of not only her anger and the trouble she thinks she causes, but because of her identity as biracial and when I tell you I want to climb inside the book and punch Craig repeatedly for making her life a misery and spewing hatred at her...I'm not kidding. If I could have done it I would have. Gladly. 

There's a lot of heart to this story, it's a quest to find Rika's mother, but it's also a journey of Rika's own self discovery. She learns that while she might struggle with her anger, which is an issue I haven't seen in a YA book before, she learns to stop equating that with her being difficult or disruptive. Rika also goes on a journey to realise that she does deserve a happy ending and it just has so much heart to it alongside a strong theme of not belonging. 

I should mention a quick content/trigger warning because there is distinct racism in this book and slurs are used by one character to another. There's also homophobia and panic attacks. In terms of rep, we've got some wlw side characters in the form of Rika's two mums and one of her sisters is pansexual! Rika is biracial as is Henry though Rika is Japanese American and Henry is Filipino Chinese and as a result different issues and struggles are touched upon by each of them relating to being biracial. 

All in all, this is a book full of heart, with some important issues addressed as well as some interesting ones such as Rika's anger issues. The romance is sweet and Rika's journey of self discovery is one that resonates!

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Review: Amari and the Night Brothers

Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

It's brutal honesty time when it comes to this book, I'm not going to hold back and I'm going to tell you straight up that this is not only one of my favourite books of the year...but one of my ultimate favourite books! I completely fell in love with this book and I didn't want it to end at all. I'm so, ridiculously excited for this series and to see what it's going to throw at us next because it blew away all my expectations and didn't even end how I thought it would and changed my assumption of how this series was going to go! 

I know I say this a lot, about books grabbing me from the start but this one truly does pull you in, grab you and keep a tight hold. I whizzed through the first few chapters because I couldn't put it down and that was a running theme throughout the book! I found it almost impossible to put down, I kept wanting to read just one more chapter and then one chapter turned into two. I had to know what was going on and I was so intrigued by the plot and the world being built. I was just as amazed by everything being shown to us as Amari was! I also think this is the fastest that I've ever been hit with the feeling of wanting to crawl into a book, both to experience the world and deliver a smackdown to a character that really deserved it! I was seriously only a few pages in! 

Honestly, this book is completely brilliant, I giggled so much, gasped in wonder and had so much fun reading this book. It's a little bit like Men in Black but for Supernaturals instead of aliens and there were so many awesome departments and imaginative elements to it. 

Amari I rooted for from the beginning, I can't speak as to accurate representation but I really loved having a black main character and I personally think the oppression she encountered because of her skin colour were wonderfully portrayed and will certainly make readers think about their own actions and prejudices.  I just wanted Amari to get a cool badge and be a hero and see that she is just as good and amazing as her brother. I loved her so much, she's already claimed a place in my heart as one of my favourite characters, she's got the snark and the courage that I love and find inspiring. I got a little emotional when she started to accept herself and discover for herself that she's holding herself to an impossible standard and that she's good enough just as she is. It's a whole journey that really hit me in the heart and made me do some thinking! I just feel like Amari is a really fun, fresh voice throughout the book. 

Speaking of her brother, I have to say I loved the relationship between Amari and Quinton. I've read so many books with the characters hating their siblings, or falling out with them constantly that I really enjoyed reading about a strong sibling bond. I just wish we could see more of him! I'd also love to see more of Elsie the weredragon and Amari's best friend! I felt like she was a really great support to Amari, willing to help her unquestioningly and Amari encouraged her to be courageous in her own way as a result of that. Dylan...I was fifty fifty on him for most of the book and there's a couple of great surprises with him that I wasn't expecting because Alston lured me into a false sense of security even though I had a little voice niggling at me. When it comes to his twin Lara...she's a nasty piece of work but after the end of the book I'm quite hoping she might be redeemable. My point is, the cast of characters are brilliant and each really stood out and made me feel various different things. 

Amari and the Night Brothers is so imaginative, there's all different kinds of magician including technology! We've got all kinds of creatures with intriguing history to them and I'm going to hold out some hope for a companion book about them all. It's wonderfully plotted, with a great pace to it and incredibly well thought out and entertaining. 

I read this book so easily, I never wanted to put it down and I had a burning desire to get back to it and read until stupidly late at night. If University and assignments weren't a thing, I 100% would have done an all nighter for the first time in years to read this all in one go. I'm going to be brutally honest once again and say that I found this book to be a great comfort to me. I'm sure I'm not alone with finding this new lockdown a little tougher than the others and combined with University I've been pretty miserable lately. But luckily, I picked this book to read at the right time and took so much comfort in being able to vanish into this world of magic and the supernatural. This wonderful world that exists alongside ours and hidden within it. 

Amari and the Night Brothers has some great humour, action, mystery and a whole lot of imagination and heart to it. It's a really, genuinely fun read and Amari's journey to accept herself really touched my heart. I could tell within 20 pages that this was going to be a new favourite of mine and I can't wait to go back to work and start pushing this into people's hands and recommending it because I need everyone to read this book now!

Thursday 21 January 2021

Review: The Dark Archive


The Dark Archive

Rating: 5/5

Buy or Borrow: Buy! 

Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Danger is part of the day job for a Librarian spy. So Irene's hoping for a relaxing weekend at last. However, her jaunt to Guernsey proves no such thing. Instead of retrieving a rare book, she's almost assassinated, Kai's poisoned and Vale barely escapes with his life. Then the attacks continue in London - targeting those connected with the Fae-dragon peace treaty. 

Irene knows she must stop the plot before the treaty fails...or someone dies. But when Irene and friends are trapped underground, in a secret archive, things don't look so good. Then an old enemy demands vengeance, and a shocking secret is revealed. Can Irene really seize victory from chaos?

I say this every single time I review this series, but it genuinely is one of my absolute favourite series and I always look forward to each new book in the series! They've never let me down yet and The Dark Archive is another brilliant trip into the world of The Library. 

The prologue certainly sets us up for a wild ride, reminding us of Irene's new Fae apprentice and informing us that there's been several kidnap attempts already so already we're feeling the intrigue! Then it's straight in with the action and the introduction of a criminal mastermind for Vale to contend with. That's the thing about Cogman's books, we dive straight in and there's plenty to hook you and keep your attention and you know it's going to be good. I really do love how quick they are to pull me into the world and the plot, and this one has a particularly nice balance of action and sleuthing. 

Irene continues to be one of my ultimate favourite characters, and Kai...well, I'd love to be as unbothered as Kai about being poisoned. It was almost hilarious how chilled he was about the whole thing! I love that even though he's been with us for the entire series, there's still more to learn about he and his family and this book delivers with that. We briefly meet Kai's cousin, and then his older brother Shan Yuan who quite frankly, I really wanted to smack more than once. I find Kai's family so interesting and I spent the whole book side-eyeing Shan Yuan because I couldn't figure out if he's really that bad or if there's some room for redemption for him. I still haven't quite decided even after finishing the book! Of course, while meeting more of Kai's family we get to delve a bit deeper into the dragon world again and meet the technological side of it with a tech whiz elder dragon! 

I can't speak about Kai without speaking about he and Irene's relationship, which I continue to love with every fibre of my being! They work so well together and they're strong for each other and ugh...I love them. 

I'm going to be honest, when it comes to Irene's new apprentice Catherine...I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about her at first. She bugged me a bit in the beginning because she didn't listen but at the same time, perhaps I just settled into a groove with Kai and Irene and her changing things up irritated me as a result! I did come to understand Catherine more as the book went on and she definitely proved herself capable of being Irene's apprentice despite some minor hiccups as we went along. I will say that I'm looking forward to seeing more of her and see what happens after the events of the end of the book! 

There's lots of tension as Irene and co are all targets of a mysterious figure called The Professor, and an old face comes back to wreak havoc. The screeches I let out at some of the reveals in this book! While there's plenty of tension, there's also a good amount of action to go along with it, which makes it quite a hard book to put down! 

I love the multi POV's, the switches are always nicely timed and each POV brings us something different. We don't rehash the same scene over and over from a different perspective instead they're used to push the story forward and add to it. We've got Irene following one path, Kai going down another route with the dragons and then Vale doing some good old traditional detective work/Sherlocking. I'm also always here for getting a look into the minds of other characters, particularly one's like Vale that we don't always see a lot of! 

Essentially, everyone's stuck in London while an evil genius tries to kill them in many different ways, and they try to figure out who it is with a building sense of foreboding towards the end. I did get a chuckle out of how blasé they were about the attempts on their life at this point! I feel like the storyline for this book helps to keep the series fresh, it's less about retrieving a book and returning it to the Library and it's a change of pace so the series doesn't get repetitive. Not that I don't love the book hunting and all the different worlds, but I loved exploring more of the world that Irene has chosen as her home and we even get to visit an invention exhibition where things get a little...wild. 

The plot builds up wonderfully and the pieces click together one by one. I really love that old villain's aren't just brought back for the sake of it, or the shock factor, there's a very good reason for it and it usually indicates that something bigger is going on. I have to say, the last few chapters were nail biting for me and for a minute there I truly thought that we'd lost Irene. I was sitting there, staring at the page trying to figure out what was going on, what was going to happen and how the series could continue without her! Then there's the I said, there was a lot of screeching. Particularly over one, and lets just say I've had my suspicions about Irene and her background! I'm still curious about it, the mystery isn't entirely solved but we're given a tidbit of it to tide us over! 

But as if that all wasn't enough...there's the epilogue. As if the wait for the next book isn't going to be hard enough as it is! I was reading it trying to figure out who was who and what exactly's going on at this point!  It's ramped up my anticipation for the next book to a ridiculous degree, I'm already impatient for it! 

Honestly, these books are one of the highlight's of my year ever since I read an advanced copy of the very first book! I wait with baited breath for the new one, plan specifically when to read it because I know I'm going to procrastinate a little from reading it because even though I've had an entire year to prepare myself...I'm still not quite ready, and then I binge read the whole thing in a couple of days and don't know what to do with myself after! I'm being genuine when I say these books never let me down, ever. 

The Dark Archive is another strong instalment in the series, I whizzed my way through it and found it impossible to put it down as I enjoyed every single page! There's action, tension, intrigue and more depth continuously being added to the characters and their backgrounds with more new tidbits and reveals to ramp up the intrigue for the next book! 

Monday 19 October 2020

Review: Spoiler Alert


Spoiler Alert 

Rating: 4/5 

Buy or Borrow: Buy! 

Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, he's known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster. Through his stories, Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character, especially the ones that feature the internet's favourite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he'd be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she's hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her 'real life' for years - but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realises life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realises that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she's actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus's career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?

Ah, that opening scene had me flashing back to the days I spent filming a certain movie and all of the blood, sweat and tears that I poured into it. Vividly. It was certainly an opening that hooked my attention and pulled me in and I genuinely think I'd probably watch that show if it existed! Or at least read the books! 

I knew I was going to love this book based on the opening alone. The narrative caught my attention and had me giggling within a couple of pages, and it made my geeky self happy because I was 100% sure that Dade was having a little bit of a GoT reference. All I'm saying reeked of GoT and a certain pair of showrunners that we all love to hate for a certain season finale. I couldn't help but wonder if the actors in real life felt the same way as the actors in the book. 

I lived for all the mentions of the other movies and shows that Marcus has starred in, along with their descriptions AND the script extracts. I was howling at some of them, they were so brilliantly cringey I can't believe Dade came up with them! I can't begin to imagine how much fun Dade had coming up with all of these and then writing little extracts for them, I was snickering to myself so much while I was reading them! I also loved the fan fiction extracts, complete with AO3 tags! My nerdy self was so, incredibly happy reading this and I could more than relate to the fan fiction and fix it fics and so on. It kind of reminded me why I love fan fiction so much and how much fix it fic I read for a certain show at one point when it took an annoying turn! 

Spoiler Alert is a fluffy romance, it was cute and sweet and funny...but it also had a depth to it and the characters that I hadn't entirely been expecting. April and Marcus both had things to overcome and work through, and while the romance was brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the emotional depth to the story really made it for me! Marcus puts up this false image to hide himself away so everyone thinks he's stupid but he actually has Dyslexia and his parents weren't too kind to him about it. They're super smart and they got very frustrated and lately they've been belittling his choice of roles and don't seem to realise what they're doing or that it's wrong. April has a mother that loves her dearly, and truly is just trying to look out for her...but is hurting April in the process because of her unhealthy views on weight and food that have been drilled into her. In short, they're both dealing with emotional abuse from their parents and I thought it was tackled really well. 

The way April went to  her mother and the conversation they had about it really hit me, and I thought it was a fantastically written scene. Not to mention the fact that there was no insistence that parents have to be forgiven and you have to remain in contact with family members that hurt you. I really loved how the entire situation was handled, and I loved watching April and Marcus have real conversations about this. I also liked that any misunderstanding was talked out pretty quickly and there's lots of admission of fault that I really respected from the characters. 

April I utterly loved! She's so confident and such a strong character throughout and she never doubts her self worth and never loses her self respect throughout the book. I rooted for her 100% and I completely got where Marcus was coming from too. I really enjoyed watching them come together and overcome things together, but I also loved the way they loved themselves and Marcus especially came to have and believe in his own self-worth. 

And finally...our support characters. I LOVED all the fights amongst the cast members in the group chat that they had! I had a note written to myself that I'd love a spin off book about Alex because I think he might be my favourite but then when I got to the end of the book and the note that was wish was granted and I already can't wait for that! 

I had a really good time reading Spoiler Alert, I laughed, I got emotional and I looked forward to picking the book up every single time I had to put it down. I love a good dose of the nerdy and the inclusion of the fan fiction element had me feeling right at home and nodding along with certain aspects to it that were described! I also pretty much equated the show to GoT and it brought back a rush of feels along the lines of...'I dedicated how many hours of my life for THAT ending?! You've got to be kidding me'. But the thing that stays with me the most about this book are the characters and the struggles that they overcome throughout the book. 

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Review: Set Fire To The Gods


Set Fire to the Gods

Rating: 3/5

Buy or Borrow: Buy

Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

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. 

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I LOVE Sara Raasch's books. There's not been a book of hers that I haven't 100% loved and completely fallen into! As such, I was incredibly excited for this book. Brand New Raasch, plus Gods, plus a Gladiator aspect!? I NEEDED it, more than I needed anything else. However, my excitement dimmed a little as I started to read and this book ended up being a little bit of a mix for me and kind of hard for me to give a rating. 

I was immediately intrigued by the world of the book, how it worked and the magic aspect as well as the Gods and their history. The main characters were intriguing as they're both on opposite sides of this war and seemingly heading towards a big, final showdown despite their developing feelings for each other and I couldn't wait to see it play out! 

Ash is such a badass and I always love to see a female character that's more than capable of holding her own and is no damsel in distress. Ash ticked every box for me in that regard. Madoc I liked well enough, perhaps slightly less than Ash...sorry. The most interesting aspect to him was his magic and what exactly it was and how it worked. The two of them share a mutual hatred towards the Gods...or well, Madoc hates Ash's God but loves his own while Ash hates her God completely. The thing I found most interesting was Madoc's journey with his God and how he felt about him, he'd always prayed to him for everything and then he discovers he might not be as fantastic as he thought. For Ash, hers was kind of the opposite journey, she's come to hate her God but slowly discovers that maybe Ignitus isn't all bad and I actually kind of felt for him and would have liked to see more of him! 

The setting was created well enough although I'd have loved to delve into a bit more. I think we're getting to see more of Ash's land and the rest of the world in the next book which I'm excited for! There are a lot of twists and turns throughout, but I will admit that I did find myself not entirely riveted to the story and that makes me so incredibly sad. I'd been so excited for this book, but I didn't feel that burning need to pick it up and keep reading. I'd put it down, wake up the next day and I wouldn't be thinking about it and rushing to get back to reading it. In all honesty, I did briefly contemplate DNF-ing but because I love Raasch's books so much and her writing, I pushed on. 

Things do pick up towards the latter half of the book and I did find myself once again curious about what would happen next, and I am curious to see how things are going to play out in the next book! But I'm also on the fence about actually picking it up as I found it kind of hard to connect to Madoc and Ash and the plot was a little bland for a good chunk of this book. 

I think I might give the sequel a try to see if starts off stronger and is more consistent with the plot but I might be stricter at DNF-ing this time around. 

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