3.5 star, YA

Review: Red Tigress by Amelie Wen Zhao

Series: Blood Heir Trilogy #2

Fans of Children of Blood and Bone will love the sequel to Blood Heir. The second book in an epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to liberate her empire from a dark reign.

Ana Mikhailov is the only surviving member of the royal family of Cyrilia. She has no army, no title, and no allies, and now she must find a way to take back the throne or risk the brutal retribution of the empress. Morganya is determined to establish a new world order on the spilled blood of non-Affinites. Ana is certain that Morganya won’t stop until she kills them all.

Ana’s only chance at navigating the dangerous world of her homeland means partnering with Ramson Quicktongue again. But the cunning crime lord has schemes of his own. For Ana to find an army, they must cross the Whitewaves to the impenetrable stone forts of Bregon. Only, no one can be certain what they will find there.

A dark power has risen. Will revolution bring peace–or will it only paint the streets in more blood.


Sometimes, bravery was not loud, or grand, or brilliant as the blaze of a thousand fires. Sometimes it was quiet. Unremarkable. Unknown. The resilient wend of water through rocks, year after year.

That, my daughter, is when you can choose to be brave.

Red Tigress, the sequel to Blood Heir, definitely does not suffer from middle book syndrome. While initially dealing with the crazy and somewhat tragic aftermath of book 1, our protagonists Ramson and Ana are both dealing with the 180 shift in power to Affinites, those with gifted abilities. However, now it seems this power change has gone too far with non-Affinites being hunted down and treated poorly for even looking at an Affinite wrong. Or if they had done nothing to save Affinites during the previous rule.

However, this book doesn’t focus super heavily on this. I kind of like that it’s setting up for something big – that being fighting Morganya and figuring out how to deal with the kingdom that’s long been divided into Affinites and non-Affinites – but not in a direct way yet. Morganya is up to something, planning something behind people’s backs that has yet to make sense. And hence, Ana and Ramson reunite to track down this mysterious plan before it can come to fruition.

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4 star, YA

Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Series: Deathless #1

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.



This one has been floating around the YA sphere even before it published recently and I can see where all the hype is coming from for it is very well deserved. The Gilded Ones is a female-empowering story that show girls are not only worth more than a subservient role in a patriarchal society, but they are strong and will fight until another day to survive.

Deka was raised in the Northern area of the kingdom although her appearance resembles that of her mother, a Southerner. Already deemed different in this way alone, she’d always wanted to fit in. The Ritual of Purity for every girl come of age would determine if they were pure or impure based on the colour of their blood. Deka was determined to fit in and finally be approved by her village. Of course, nothing goes as planned right?

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1.5 star, YA

Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly

Series: Cursebreakers #3

Face your fears, fight the battle.

Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.

Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As the two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and a dangerous enemy returns, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.



I’m supremely conflicted about this one. A Vow So Bold and Deadly concludes the trilogy that has shot Brigid Kemmerer to amazing heights. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her prior works (particularly the contemporaries) but I’m not sure her fantasies have done it for me.

Here is why it just left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction and confusion.

Rhen (as a whole)

Prince Rhen, the OG character from book 1 and fan favourite prince. Unpopular opinion, but I never loved him. Not even from book 1. He’s just meh to be honest. Just another spoiled prince who had to learn that he isn’t the centre of the universe and a girl helped save him from his demise. Great. But his personality needs some working on, especially as we went into book 2 where everything goes to hell with him. Like literally. I have no words for how angry I was at the choices he made, even in the name for his country and people. He chose wrong, gave into fear instead of mercy, the latter which I consider a strength. He was a spoiled prince who had no understanding of what he grew up with, the luxury at the expense of others, and while I do not fault him for being sheltered, I do fault him for the choices he continues to make from a standpoint like he is owed something from the world after all the suffering he endured with the evil enchantress who cursed him. That people must listen and love him, it’s practically expected because he is PRINCE.

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