July has become a catch up month of sorts as I try to get to as many books on my TBR shelf before the fall release frenzy ensues. So I’ve got two mini sequel reviews to share today.
The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 16, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Pages: 415 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
Image and Description Credit: Goodreads
Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.
Last year I fell in love with Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game since I’m a sucker for anything historical Russia as well as magical competitions. Reading the sequel and finale to this duology was certainly a wild ride but I found myself not as connected in this installment. The splendor was definitely still there with Skye’s descriptions being so vivid and realistic and I still love these characters.
I liked the darker turn this one took and it caused my heart to be in serious shambles by the end. Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha all tugged on my emotions as they tried to deal with their own feelings as well as forces beyond their control. Skye does a great job of weaving in history here and yet making it entirely her own. Overall I enjoyed The Crown’s Fate quite a lot. If you’ve read the first definitely pick up this title.
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill on August 30, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 452 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
Image and Description Credit: Goodreads
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
Wow! Sabaa Tahir does it again with A Torch Against the Night! I feel like the stakes were higher than ever and my precious characters were put through so much more suffering. All of this made the story even better despite it being spread out and slower paced. The politics, the conflicting allegiances, the plot twists! You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, but rest assured it will ruin you emotionally.
The three POV characters, Elias, Laia, and Helene, all face more struggles and obstacles as well as dealing with some serious inner turmoil. Angst, angst everywhere people. Tahir does a masterful job of portraying the emotional ups and downs as well as expanding on a world that contains such vast lands and cultures. Overall I’m head over heels in love with this series and highly recommend this especially to fantasy lovers!
Have you read either of these books?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!