Review: Daughter of the Drowned Empire by Frankie Diane Mallis

Alexis:

Daughter of the Drowned Empire is a NA fantasy that follows Lyriana, who is third in line to the Seat of Power in Bamaria. She hopes to be a mage after her ceremony, when her magic will be announced and unleashed, but she has a secret—her two older sisters both have illegal magic.⁣

⁣It took me a little while to get into the beginning of this, so I highly recommend checking out the glossary in the back first to get a handle on the worldbuilding. There’s also a love triangle that I was feeling iffy about. But once the plot got rolling, I was hooked!

This was a fun book that ended up being fairly complex. I liked the themes of love, sisterhood, and staying true to yourself. I enjoyed Lyriana’s character arc, and I can’t wait to see where Mallis takes her next.

⁣Overall, the character development was well done and this was a fun read. I can’t wait for the sequel!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 ⁣

Review: Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli

Alexis holds a copy of Edgewood- green with a girl wearing a purple dress and holding a dagger- in front of a bookshelf.

Alexis:

Another 5 ⭐ review!

Edgewood is a new adult fantasy that has everything I love in a book: atmospheric writing, creepy woods, and a dynamic love interest. 

There were two really great themes woven throughout this book. The first is music. Emeline, the main character, is a nineteen-year-old singer, trying to tour and get her foot in the door of the music world. I loved how music played a magical role in this book.

The second is memory. Emeline’s grandfather, who she calls Pa, is suffering from dementia. Ciccarelli bases his character on her own grandfather who suffered from dementia, and so she writes Pa with care, and her grief comes through in her writing. The themes of forgetting and remembering play a critical role in the story.

There’s also a Wood King, a city deep in the woods, a curse, and interesting creatures that appear in the story. And I found Hawthorne, the love interest, to be a well-rounded and mysterious yet warmhearted character. 

My only critique is that there were a couple of minor storylines that I think could’ve been explored further. However, I enjoyed this story immensely and definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something atmospheric and full of forest imagery and magical music.

(And it doesn’t hurt that the whole book is beautiful!)

Review: Furyborn and Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

The spines of Furyborn and Kingsbane rest on a windowsill next to a white curtain and a candle.

Alexis:

Furyborn, and the rest of The Empirium Trilogy, has been on my tbr list for a while now, and when I found Furyborn in a used bookstore, I grabbed it!

To be honest, it took me a while to get into the worldbuilding. I had to read the first half of this book carefully in order to understand the world and the characters.

Furyborn has two timelines—1000 years apart. Two queens, the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen, are prophesied to either break or save the world. Rielle can perform all seven kinds of elemental magic, and enters a series of trials to prove that she is the Sun Queen. 1000 years later, Eliana is an assassin just trying to keep her family alive in the Undying Empire when she runs into a rebel named Simon who needs her help.

Like I said, once I got to the halfway point, I loved this book. It’s both action packed yet slow paced. The first chapter/prologue offers a glimpse of what happens in the end, and I found that it upped the tension and anticipation for me while I read. 

While I wasn’t a huge fan of Rielle’s character, I found Eliana to be interesting and flawed. And Simon was by far my favorite character; I can’t wait to learn more about him in the next book.

My one main critique is that this book was originally marketed as YA and—it’s not. It’s definitely adult, with adult themes and sex scenes. I would categorize it as New Adult, which I desperately hope will eventually be a more solidified genre. 

If you’re looking to dive into a new trilogy full of action, powerful and flawed women, angels and elemental magic, and dual timelines, then you might like this.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

As for Kingsbane, where to begin!

The plot thickens. Legrand throws her characters into everything imaginable; anything bad that can happen does.

It’s hard to say anything else about this book without giving major spoilers, but I both hated and loved reading it, and the ending almost had me throwing it against the wall.

Despite feeling terrible for all of the characters, this book was just so intense and dark, and I loved it. That being said, I’m not a fan of how Legrand writes her sex scenes, and I think there were several in here that were unnecessary. 

But Kingsbane stuck with me, and I’m still waiting to read the third and final book in the trilogy to see what happens!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5