Title: Greythorne (Bloodleaf #2)
Author: Crystal Smith
Pub. Date: June 2, 2020
Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d’état on the night of her brother’s coronation.
With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?
This will be a spoiler free review.
It’s taken me days to write this review.
Mainly because I’m still not over how it ended and the fact that I have to wait for book 3.
Also, because I haven’t been able to form any kind of cohesive thought that wasn’t a scream or just ‘so good’ on repeat.
So, yeah, it’s taken me a few days, and I can’t promise that I won’t just scream at you to read this book when it comes out, because you definitely should, it’s fantastic. But I’m going to try and be calm and rational and not just a crazed reader shoving this book in your face.
I read Bloodleaf last year, and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a favorite…or at least that’s what I thought. It was one of those books, that once it sat with me for a bit after reading, I realized just how much I loved it and how much of a good book it was. It was like my reaction was massively delayed and once I came to that conclusion, I needed book 2. ASAP.
I also think part of my problem was that when I was reading it, I had zero idea there was going to be a second book, let alone a third. So, I think my feelings were skewed, and once I found out that there was going to be more books, that’s when my feelings towards Bloodleaf changed and I really needed book 2. Anytime Crystal posted about it, I got so damn excited. Then when the post pre-order campaigned happened, and my swag arrived in the mail, I freaked. Bloodleaf had quickly gone from a good, enjoyable read, to an absolute favorite, and my excitement and need for Greythorne was probably a bit out of control.
I’m a fan, what else can I say.
But I digress, and this is a book review for Greythorne.
It took me a moment to familiarize myself with the world and the characters, and to remember what happened at the end of Bloodleaf. It had probably been over a year, maybe? I’d have to go back a look at exactly when I read my ARC of it. It didn’t take long and then I was completely hooked. I flew through this book, despite trying to savor it. I was too damn excited to wait to read it.
I remember not being the biggest Aurelia fan in book 1, but that’s since changed. I actually really liked her character in this. She’s been through so much and really doesn’t have the time to deal or even remotely process anything. It’s one thing after another, and while that’s terrible for her, I kind of enjoyed the constant emotional swings she had to endure.
Does that sound bad? I don’t know. It found I was able to sympathize and root for her, knowing that everything she was doing, every choice she made was for the best interest of others. Like, despite everything she’d suffered and gone through, she was able to see past it to the bigger picture. I can’t even call her self-sacrificing, because of the knowledge she has. I just really loved her in this book. So much.
You’ll have to wait until the book comes out to understand what I’m talking about because spoilers.
Which leads me to the end of the book, because while the whole thing was fantastic, what Crystal pulled off in the end is one of my favorite things – when done correctly. Crystal knocked it out of the damn park, and suddenly things that happened throughout the book made so much sense and I was so giddy. She so cleverly pulled it off, and it makes me so damn excited for book 3.
Y’all, let me break this down for you. The last couple chapters were blood pressure raising, heart stopping, oh my god, I can’t believe this amazing, and then there was the Epilogue and that was tense and sad because of certain events that happen in the last chapters. But then there’s this final page, only a couple of paragraphs and I inhaled so hard with excitement I went a tad lightheaded, because omfg I really cannot wait for book 3.
Those last couple paragraphs, on that last page were just * chef’s kiss* so good, and it really gets you ready for book 3.
I’m finding it really hard to explain exactly why I loved the ending so much but telling you what about it that’s my “favorite thing when done correctly” is a massive spoiler. I can think of only one other author who’s done it this well (I’m sure there are others, but none come to mind) and I’ve reviewed her stuff on this blog. Like, I’m back to the point where I just want to scream READ THIS BOOK, IT’S SO GOOD because I’m now thinking about the ending and I can’t. Ugh, so good.
I feel like this thing can be so hard to get right, to plant the right seeds, the right threads, and Crystal – in my opinion – did it phenomenally. I read it, and it was like little lightbulbs went off when I realized how it all tied back into other moments in the story.
Okay, I could drone on and on about the ending of this book and how good it is, and how you should read this book solely to read the phenomenal ending and be blown away like I was, but I’ll stop. Mainly because I want to talk briefly about Isobel Arceneaux and I might start talking spoilers if I don’t cut myself off.
Now, Isobel Arceneaux. I couldn’t stand her. I know we’re not supposed to like her, but damn. I definitely didn’t guess her backstory/reveal, and I don’t think I would’ve, if it hadn’t been told/Aurelia kind of figuring it out. There’s no denying she had it really rough, and that her past definitely shaped her actions, as shitty as they were. Sorry, they were, there’s no denying it. I think she’s my least favorite part of the whole book but facing off against Aurelia…it was pretty interesting and entertaining to watch it. I can appreciate the parallels between them and how Crystal created their dynamic the way she did.
So, even though I didn’t really like her as a character, I do understand her role in things and I’m really curious to see what happens next for her. What Aurelia does at the end…there are definitely going to be some consequences and I cannot wait to find out what they are. Maybe my opinion will change about her, the same way it did about Aurelia – only time and book 3 will tell.
I’m just going to sit here, slowly and quietly dying inside until I can read book 3, because omfg this book was A++, so good. Knowing that there’s like over a year wait might kill me, so Crystal if you need or want someone to read it early, I volunteer! But seriously, not knowing what happens next, is going to be the end of me…unless the TV show just happens to come out before then – wishful thinking, I’m aware – I might be okay. I’ll also add that I did a bit of Live Tweeting while I read the book, and if you’re interested, you can check out the thread here – make sure you click through to the actual thread – still spoiler free!
Make sure you check out Greythorne when it comes out in June, and if you haven’t yet, make sure you read Bloodleaf before June to be ready for Greythorne. You are not going to want to miss this book, I promise you.