Author: Emily A. Duncan
Plot and Themes: 3/5
Cheers Factor: 3.5/5
I like this drink firstly because it has a kicker that you don’t expect and that’t the dark rum hence why I names it redrum. I also thought it was cheeky as it’s quite literally a red drink with rum. Also I think Nadya is woefully unprepared and naive for the world she steps into and doesn’t realize the danger she’s in until itr’s too late almost as though she’s looking at everything backwards in a mirror.
-1 ½ oz dark rum
-1 handful of blackberries
-¼ lime wedge
"A boy made king of monsters for a kingdom of the damned."
-Combine blackberries and lime wedge and mint in a glass and muddle
-Add rum and dry shake to combine (without ice)
-Double strain into glass
-Top with ginger beer and add ice
-Garnish with optional lime wheels
"A future that could not - would not - be stopped. A future that had already been set into motion."
Take a Shot: Nadezhda is a cleric. Or better said a person who is touched by the gods. She has a direct line to them and their powers when they grant them to her. The clerics have been hunted for their abilities by the Tranavians because of the war as well as their hatred of the gods. The Kalyazi need Nadya to fight their war against the heretical Tranavians. However, everything changes when the monastery Nadya is living at is raided by Tranavian soldiers and one among them is different. He is the Crown Prince Serefin Meleski. In fleeing she ends up teaming up with a ragtag band of young people with drastically different motivations and goals. With friendship, love and the safety of two countries at war on the line they will all soon feel the pressure of their individual missions.
"I would not want to be the cause of your pain, even if it may be inevitable."
I really like the whole Eastern Europe/Slavic region kind of setting. I think buy and large it’s a very underused setting in fantasy novels to really have something emulate the real world. I get Shadow and Bone vibes from the setting which I really appreciated.
"If something happens tomorrow...I want you to know you are the only good thing that has ever happened to me."
This is by far a book about the characters. I feel it’s the biggest strength of the book aside from the writing and the writing is really good when the characters are speaking and naturally the characters benefit from this. I think despite other factors I’m severely invested in the characters in a way that I would not have expected given my thoughts around the other factors of this novel. I love the multiple perspectives and I think it’s a unique way to tell the story of the characters meant to be more elusive to tell them more minimally. A very distinct writing choice that works very well for the characters.
"The understanding I had in mind was one that kept you safer than this, towy dzimyka."
Plots and Themes
This for me is the weakest part of the novel. I have to admit that half the time I’m a little lost. I understand broad strokes what is happening and that’s about it. It feels at times a little disjointed and important things are skipped over when the perspectives change. I think this is reminiscent oddly in parts to the Selection, but reduced in a way that feels like The Red Queen series. I love the Selection and actually do quite enjoy The Red Queen, but the stark difference between the two is the lack of continuity and disjointed overall feel of a relationship and complicated royal setting which is why I am throwing this one in line more so with the latter. For the most part the plot is bearable and at times understandable. I'm just not sure the execution is done well enough to do the characters justice.
"Some gods require blood."
I said it in my characters section, but truly I believe this is one of the few series where I’m Immensely invested in the characters without really knowing what is happening. It’s a true strength of the book and again the writing is impeccable. I would recommend this book strictly because of those things.
Reasons to raise a glass- a true dark love interest (like actually irredeemable but not in the way that you actually wouldn’t want the characters to be together IRL), the writing *chefs kiss*
Too Strong- The plot is confusing and hard to follow, no urgency, lack of consequences that drive the story
Warning! Spoilers ahead if you click read more. Proceed at your own risk.
I really mean it that I love these characters. I want to talk more about it because I simply cannot let it go. I think this book/series thus far is one of my favorite reads of the year. I think if it wasn’t for the plot this would be one of my 5 star reads for the year. It’s really sad to me that I can’t figure out what the characters are doing because I honestly think they are so compelling that I would almost forget if the plot had even a semblance of order. I’m hoping that by the end this will feel like the Caraval series did where the first two felt like a mess but were worth it in the end. I’m actively reading the second one right now at time of writing and have to admit that I enjoy it more than I have the first, but have similar complaints which you can find in my post about Ruthless Gods. For the most part I’m happy I picked up the series. I had heard some controversial things about it in commentary a while ago and have found I personally can’t see how the books are problematic. As someone who lives in a very religious place and is not a part of that religion I think it’s an interesting and hard dichotomy to do well and with enough tact to be respected on both ends being pro vs. anti religion in general. I appreciate the growth the characters have within their “religious” constraints (like it or not the Vultures have a sort of religion just as the broad Tranavians do, they just don’t necessarily worship gods). All in all really like the overarching concepts, but in terms of plot points I really couldn't even recall many to explain the series of events to someone who hadn’t read the book.
"What if I don't want to be enemies when all this is over?"
Each book here at Cheers&Chapters is rated based off of certain categories that are genre specific, however every book will get a Cheers Factor. The Cheers Factor is how much we wanted to raise our glass while reading it. So get your glasses ready and cheers!