Author: Mara Rutherford
Pub. Date: October 5, 2021
Pub: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.
To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos–and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I paired the audiobook with the eARC as I had the time and ability to read while at work. You can check out my spoiler free reviews of Crown of Coral and Pearl and Kingdom of Sea and Stone – I’ll link them above.
I loved her first book – Crown of Coral and Pearl. I went in with no expectations and ended up falling in love with it. I enjoyed the sequel, just not as much as the first book. But regardless, I was excited for this new Rutherford book. Based on the synopsis and the cover, it looked like it was going to really good, and that I was going to love it.
Unfortunately, this book was a miss for me. This book was a bit of a mess – and I couldn’t wait for it to end. That sounds terrible, I know, and I do feel bad for saying it, but I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It felt like so many different plots tied together, and they didn’t mesh well. I kept feeling like the end of the book was coming up, only for the plot to shit directions and continue on. There were so many points where I was like “this book could end right here, and it would be a complete story. The various plots just didn’t mesh well together and it left me feeling like I was reading a handful of different stories that just happened to feature the same core set of characters.
The more I read, the angrier I grew that I was still reading and listening to it. Felt like Rutherford was trying to go for a Light vs Dark story (kind of reminded me of The Darkling and Alina), but realized that the Bad Guy was irredeemable, so she gave someone else in her life, dark powers. Only then to completely flip it all on its head.
I’m for redemption stories, but this wasn’t good in my opinion. I wasn’t invested at all, and really only finished it because I was listening to it at work and what else would I do? I also listened to it at like 2x speed to get through it.
And don’t even get me started about the reveal at the ending – it was bullshit and I hated it. Actually, the whole ending felt anticlimactic compared to everything that happens in the whole book. Which was somehow everything, but also, nothing felt like it happened.
I’m glad this is a standalone, because I couldn’t suffer through another installment. That sounds really harsh, but I was really disappointed in this book. Like, woefully disappointed. I don’t think my expectations were abnormally high or anything.
I really didn’t care about the characters, and I had no idea that the MCs name was “Liora” – the curse of audiobooks. I’m going to blame the fact that I hear “Lira” on the fact that I was listening to it sped up. But now her nickname makes sense.
Overall, I wish this had lived up to my excitement and expectations, but it didn’t. I’ll probably still pick up Rutherford’s book in the future.
As a final little note – I’m also going to link my friend Sammy’s spoiler free review of Luminous – so make sure you check out her post, linked above, and check out her blog We Write At Dawn for more bookish content!