Author: Kelly Coon
Pub. Date: December 15, 2020
Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.
Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.
Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m super excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Warmaidens! I really enjoyed is, as I enjoyed Gravemaidens when I read it last year. If you’re curious, you can check out my review for book 1 – here. And before I dive into my review for this solid conclusion to Kammani’s story, I’m going to give you a quick, spoiler free recap of what happened in Gravemaidens.
So, let’s dive in!
In Aly, when the ruler dies, three maidens are chosen to be buried with him to accompany him to the Underworld. It’s a tradition that is deemed to be a great honor, despite being a death sentence for the young women chosen.
Gravemaidens starts with the ruler being on the brink of death, and Kammani’s Father – a great healer is called upon to try and heal the ruler, but his mysteriously disappears having never arrived to his destination. Determined to find out what happened to her father, and desperate to keep her sister from becoming one of the maidens chosen to die, she makes it her mission to keep the Ruler alive. Having studied under her father and having a dream of becoming the best healer ever, she prays that it’s within her power to do such a thing.
Then things start happening. Something seems off, seems sinister and when an attempt on her life is made, Kammani knows for certain something is up and she must be nearing the truth.
You’ll have to read the book to find out how it ends and what Kammani goes through. Kelly throws us right into this fantastical world and you get sucked in by the vibrancy of it. It’s cruel and wonderful. It’s accusatory and forgiving. The characters exist in a world where status and traditions are highly honored and praised, and to be outspoken against them is tantamount to treason. It’s about realizing that the thing we might want most in the world, aren’t actually what we want at all. Sometimes facing reality is the hardest thing we can do. That accepting help, instead of shouldering everything yourself is the best thing, because when there are people in your corner, your chances of succeeding are much higher.
But now I’m starting to ramble, so let’s jump into the review for Warmaidens.
Dagan is a whole ass snack. He’s pure husband material and I think I have a new book boyfriend. I mean, I was totally sold in Gravemaidens, but damn did this book seal the deal. He was honestly my favorite character in this book, and dare I say my favorite part. I love emotionally vulnerable male characters, and Kelly did him justice.
I’m now thinking that I need to go find myself a Farm Boy, because phew. Absolutely sunk.
But, like the first book, I was easily and immediately transported back into this world. Even though it’s been a little over a year (I think) since I read Gravemaidens, it took virtually no effort to remember what had happened. The world is still as vivid as I remembered it being. Still a little infuriating with the rules, laws and traditions Kelly wove into it, but also still just wholly enjoyable. It was nice seeing more of the world and seeing more of the characters. With this book picking up nine months after the end of Gravemaidens, a lot has changed and the main core group of characters have as well.
We’ve already covered how I feel about Dagan. I’d marry him in a heartbeat.
Iltani is still fantastic and quite bloodthirsty – rightly so. I’m so glad that she had a much bigger role in this book – and she goes through a lot.
Nanaea does a lot of growing up as well and she feels less like your typical teenager and I liked her so much more. She has this quiet strength that is really admirable.
As for Awria, her transformation was quite wonderful. It felt natural and I loved it. That scene at the end where she [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS] …that whole scene played out like a movie in my head.
Then there’s Kammani. I just…wasn’t a fan. I get why she makes the choices, the decisions she does. I get why she feels the need to burden herself with everything, but omfg it gets a little tiresome after a while. I also get why she can’t say “yes” to Dagan, but the way she treats that man in this book. I just wanted to usher him away and hug him. But to be fair, she does care, and they have some really tender moments that I loved. I’d hoped to like her more in this book, and while I can rationalize the why behind her actions, I just don’t connect with her.
Overall this was a fast paced, enjoyable fantasy read and I loved how it ended. Actually, the very end was really satisfying. You’ll have to read it when it comes out to find out what happens. So, make sure you do that! Warmaidens is out in December so make sure you pre-order, buy when it comes out and request it at your local library!