*ARC Review* Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Title: Kingsbane (Empirium #2)Kingsbane

Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Page Count: 608 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

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Beware! If you have not read Furyborn, please do not read this review, as it contains spoilers. If you would like to read my review of Furyborn, click here.Thank you to the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Holy cow, what a ride! I thought Furborn was amazing, but Kingsbane was outstanding and emotional and beautiful. Kingsbane left me emotionally drained for days; even now just reflecting on how much happened in that book brings back all the emotions.

Sometimes sequels don’t live up to expectations or the hype of the first book. Kingsbane outshines Furyborn and brings to the table a continuation of the epic fantasy world Claire has created. The writing, the characters, the world…everything is so well done and breathtaking. Kingsbane is easily one of the best sequels I have read in the YA fantasy genre.

Claire Legrand has proven to be a phenomenal fantasy writer. She weaves words together to create a captivating and poetic world that any reader can get lost in. Two worlds fitted across time make for a magical story and epic world building, which Claire succeeds at creating. The world in Furyborn and Kingsbane is vast, but Claire’s writing and descriptions bring the world to life and help to not make the world feel so big. She’s truly a talented fantasy writer and I cannot wait to see what she does with the third book.

“She had felt in that moment, that she was a mere vessel. A conduit between the power in her blood and the flames overhead, licking for a taste. Would there ever come a time when she could use her power and not feel as if it was using her?”

Rielle continues to be the butt-kicking hero we all want, but as we learned in Furyborn, she’s not destined to be the hero, but the villain. But even throughout this book, as her mind and her journey start to take a darker turn, she still remains the powerful girl we all loved in Furyborn. However, like all great heroes, temptation can easily sway a hero to do things one normally would not do. And that starts to be the case for Rielle, even as she fights Corien and even as she tries to prevent the world (and her closest friends) from seeing what she is truly becoming. She doesn’t want Audric to see her differently, but how can Rielle prevent that when darkness starts to tempt her?

Eliana, on the other hand, does not want to become what she is destined to be: the Sun Queen. She would rather neglect her powers and her future, fearing the possibility of her becoming just like her mother, Rielle. She struggles coming to terms with her new life and what she represents to the people. She struggles with how her life has drastically changed and how there is no going back. The only path is forward and watching Eliana’s character development throughout Kingsbane reminds me how we all have journeys and how, eventually, we all have to find out who we are meant to be. So, overall, both of these girls’ characterizations in Kingsbane is phenomenal and well written.

Don’t go into this book underestimating these two girls: they are powerful and inspiring and fierce. Though they struggle with defeat and living up to their purpose, they both prove that they have what it takes to handle any battle, any hardship that is thrown their way. And just seeing these two characters go through so much (good and bad and evil) reminds me just how fragile, yet strong they really are and that both are still human.

Kingsbane is an outstanding sequel to Furyborn and, in my opinion, some of Claire’s best work. I honestly cannot wait for book 3. I am so invested in these characters and this world that I need to know what happens and if there’s a happy ending for a few of the characters (one can hope).

Kingsbane is out in the world today, so go grab your copy! And if you have not read Furyborn yet, I highly recommend!

nikole

 

*ARC Review* Finale by Stephanie Garber

FinaleTitle: Finale (Caraval #3)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Page Count: 496 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary:

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

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♠ Halt, Caraval players! I must warn you that the review below will contain spoilers from the previous two games. If you wish to see my thoughts on Caraval and Legendary, please click the links above. Without further ado…Welcome, Welcome, to my review of Finale, where all games will come to an end! ♥

Caraval fans all over the world are in for a treat! Finale is absolutely magical and gripping, you will not be able to put this book down. Stephanie wraps up everything with a bow and it is glorious. I have never felt more serene and content with any series ending before Finale. 

461FDE62-13A9-4E9C-AA0F-6EAF794E69D9Finale picks up a few weeks after the events in Legendary, where Legend is waiting to become the new Emperor. Things did not end well between Tella and Legend, but both are determined to rectify that, but in very different ways. And Scarlett is still struggling with who she wants to end up with: Julian or the Count. When Scarlett stumbles upon shocking information, she must decide what is truly worth fighting for if she wants a happy ending. Both sisters must make multiple life-altering decisions in order to face off against some of the Fates and secure their happy endings.

Tella continues to be my favorite sister (after her story continuation in Legendary). I want her to have a happy ending, but she does not believe she deserves one, even thought she deserves to be happy. But the question remains: who will she end up with: Jacks or Legend? Both men vying for her are wonderfully described and irrevocably handsome. She never expected to capture the attention of a Fate, or even the Caraval master. But I’ve noticed that most lives are filled with unexpected surprises, and both sisters receive plenty of surprises in this book.

It’s no spoiler that Caraval and Legendary were both stories filled with magic and romance. Finale is the same way, but this story is more romantic and filled with magic on every singly page. The magic in this series is so unique and beautiful and it leaps off the pages. New and old magic is discovered in Finale, and let me tell you, it’s absolutely breathtaking. I did not think this series could get any more magical. but it does. Every page, every chapter, is filled with magic and it is captivating.

This book, though fantastic and magical, was also heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking because it meant this would be the last time I would ever return to this world and the characters (unless Stephanie writes novellas; PLEASE!!). This would be the last time I’d discover new places with these characters; sure, I can always return to the world by re-reading, but there is nothing quite like reading a book for the first time. And Stephanie has created a world and intriguing characters that will always have a place in my heart.

I don’t know how Stephanie does it. She’s an outstanding storyteller, and I hope to someday have the skill she has in writing. This series has been a journey filled with magic and romance and heartache, and it was beautiful to watch everything unfold. I’m telling you now, if you have not read this series, you need to. You will not be disappointed!

nikole