Title: By Dark Deeds
Author: Miranda Honfleur
Pub. Date: November 2, 2017
Her hands shackled. An assassin hunting the man she loves. Will she save him in time?
Elementalist Rielle needs to get to the man she loves before the assassin pursuing him finds her mark. There’s only one problem: she’s chained aboard a ship bound for a foreign land.
And her new life is harsh, with her movements watched, food scarce, and safety even scarcer. Immortals ravage Emaurria, and a distant relation sparks the fires of rebellion against the new king while shrewd royals angle for an advantageous marriage. Powerful foreign nobles whisper promises in Rielle’s ear—and lies with fatal consequences—but with more than her life at stake, whom can she trust? And while Jon faces wars, widespread hunger, unrest, and politics, the assassin lurks in his periphery, a knife in the dark.
With her death looming at every turn and an unforgiving barren desert between her and Jon, can Rielle save him before it’s too late, or will the brutal sands claim her life… and everything she loves?
This will be a spoiler free review.
It has been a long time since I read Blade & Rose and I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to remember much of what happened. Other than a little confusion at first, most everything came back to me and once again I was immersed in this world. Despite its size, I inhaled this book, and never wanted to put it down. I went through the range of emotions, and thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the character’s incredibly hard journeys. A lot happens in this book, and what, Rielle, Jon and even Brennan endure, irrevocably changes them. For the better, or for worse – you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
I can’t believe what went down between Jon and Rielle, actually went down the way it did. Stomping on my heart might’ve hurt less. Book 3 is going to be really interesting and I’m so glad it’s on my TBR to read, because I need to know what happens next.
Rielle and Jon aren’t together and their desperate desires to be with each other again urges this story along. But they’re both faced with some really hard choices. For Rielle, it’s a matter of survival, to do whatever she can to make it out of her capture alive. For Jon, it’s a matter of being a King – or the pressures of being a King. Their constant worry about whether or not their choices are too much or won’t be understood by the other weighs on them both, filling them with fear and regret.
This book is hefty – a beast at 742 pages. But unlike some big books, this didn’t feel like it was unnecessarily long. I thought it flowed at a pretty nice pace, kept you interested, turning the pages to find out what happens next. There was never a moment where I felt like there were scenes that weren’t needed. There is so much going on across Emaurria, so many characters at play that are crucial to the story. This book is very much character driven and it covers trauma, hard choices and survival. Characters have to overcome obstacles and things that block their way, by forming new paths and relations and steel themselves against betrayal. This book is all about what lengths you’re willing to go through, even at the lowest moments of your life and if can you live with the consequences.
Emuarria is expanding, and Miranda lets us explore more of the world she’s created. From shores across an ocean and desert, to mystical forests filled with Immortal beings and the return of older magics and powers, the world is growing. There’s so much more to explore and I can only imagine what’s coming next. It comes to life in your mind, so vivid and as if you were there.
Rielle goes through a lot, and much of it isn’t very good and she loses so much, but she never really stops fighting. She might not be physically kicking people’s ass in this book, but after every horrible, traumatic, painful thing she goes through in this book – and again, it’s a lot – she gets up each day and faces it. She fights to return to Jon, she fights to protect Brennan when he can’t protect himself, and she fights against everything that happened to her. Rielle is strong, and even when all seems lost, she moves on, taking another step.
Jon on the other hand has to give up a lot and it chips away at his knight in shining armor persona from the first book. He has to be the King his land deserves, but at what cost? He is very much conflicted with who he grew up to be, and this new role he has to fill. He kind of snowballs as the mantle of King weighs on him and he devolves into a wreck and a mess of a person after being deceived and given bad news. Let’s just say, I was not thrilled with his choices.
He makes some incredibly bad ones that are like repeating punches to the heart. Like, you just want to groan and shake him because you know how this is going to play out. Because while Rielle is suffering and having to give up so much just to survive, and fearing his potential reaction to her choices, his loss of self seems to stem from the stressors of a new job.
I never expected to like Brennan, but here I am. I mean, he’s still a bit of a manipulative asshole, but I get the sense that he’s actually trying. It’s just hard to teach an old dog new tricks…lol.
Despite his incredibly rocky history with Rielle, the actions he takes in this book makes it really hard not to root for him. I mean, he would literally die to protect her, will go to any lengths to be there for her, knows she’s fully able to kick ass and take names, but also knows that some things can break you. He was there to help hold the pieces together until she was ready to start gluing them back together.
I don’t know who I want Rielle with. Part of me still loves Jon, but the dude made some really bad, asshat decisions and hurt his relationship with Rielle. So much so, I don’t know if they can move past it. But Brennan is still kind of a possessive asshole, but I don’t doubt he truly cares for Rielle in what appears to be a pretty selfless way. Like, of course he wants to be with her, but more so, he just wants her to be happy. So, I’m not throwing in my towel for either one of them just yet. There are 4 more books to this series, and I’m sure Rielle will flip flop between the two of them, and honestly, I’m not mad about it. I do think that Jon will be endgame, just because of something that was revealed in this book. But again, we’ll see!
I really enjoyed this book and the various plot elements it had. Along with perfect emotional weights that draw you in and keep you turning the pages, it was fun being back in this world. This series is vastly underrated, and more people should be reading anything Miranda writes. She knows how to tell a story and she does it well. With By Dark Deeds you’re left anticipating and anxiously waiting for Rielle and Jon to meet again. Their journey back to one another leaves you breathless and hoping for the best.
I honestly can’t recommend these books enough, and if they’re not on your radar they should be. If you like Sarah J. Maas, From Blood and Ash, There Will Come a Darkness, the Witchland series Audrey Grey or Elise Kova, then you’re not going to be disappointed. So, make sure you check out the Blade and Rose series – books 1-4 are out now!