“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Black Dawn #2
Author: Mallory McCartney
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Page Count: 301
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: ★★★1/2
1) Black Dawn: ★★★★1/2
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
BEWARE, this review may contain SPOILERS.
The sequel to Black Dawn only gets darker. After a rather fast and furious introduction to this series, Queen to Ashes certainly never stalls. There is nothing but action, action, action! If you get bored reading this book, then we aren’t reading the same thing. I almost feel bad (but not really) for these characters because they are literally running across the pages in order to tell their stories. With definite twists, complicated character relations, “nods” to highly-loved fantasy series (I smelled out a few correlations to Lord of the Rings, the Night Court from A Court of Thorns and Roses and perhaps even the Wheel of Time series,) there is little left to desire from this read. There is a touch of everything here. War. Promise. Desire. Quarrel. Friendship. Loss. Redemption.
The overarching theme, while dark, is mottled with light. The war surrounding King Adair himself is one that will wrench your heart from terribly cold to terrible feels.
“This world isn’t broken into a war of dark and light. Of weakness and power. It’s broken into obscurities, into perspectives of what must be demanded, and what is craved.”
Adair embodies all that is true in life. While his passion ultimately led him down a path of destruction, he internally fights, desperate to hold onto the sanity and goodness that was once fully his. His path is proof that one is not fully bad or fully good. Everyone sits on a spectrum of monochromatic grays that have greater or lesser toning. Emory sees glimpses of Adair’s former self fighting through after aligning herself with him in order to further the cause of Black Dawn. During her time with him, she sees that the boy she used to know may still exist beneath the corrupt surface.
It is not only Adair that experiences some grace.
Nyx asked, “Why are you being so nice to me?”
She had always been horrible at navigating her feelings, expressing them even more so.
Lana closed the space between the, gripping her forearm.
“Because, Nyx Astire, I see the potential in you, even if you refuse to see it in yourself. The moment we step outside that door, everything will change, and we both will be prepared. We are strong, even though we both hold wounds close to our heart that can never be healed. But the fact that we are still willing to fight for ourselves and our loved ones makes us unbreakable.”
After Nyx’s tryst in Black Dawn I wasn’t sure where her character arc would fall. She continues to share the position of telling the story from her perspective with Brokk, Emory, and Memphis. Being the redemptive force comparable to that of Adair, she holds a rather vital place in the plot. She is the force that is comparable most to him, and will either outshine, or flounder in comparison. To be honest, I didn’t expect to like her. The thing that this book makes me appreciate most is that choices, decisions, intentions, and actions are never black or white. There will always be good and bad repercussions from choices that are made.
While I enjoyed this installment in the series, there were a few aspects that I had issues with. First, was some repetitiveness that peppered the text. This may also be more personal preference, but I don’t particularly like the same descriptive terms used in sentences back-to-back. Secondly, the story wasn’t told as smoothly as it was in Black Dawn. This may be due to the fact that there was so much going on, and that it’s told from varying point-of-views. Lastly, I would have liked a little more delineations between the cities/locations. I am a description-up-the-wazoo fan, so, it may just be me.
With believable and complex characters, partnered with original lore, and exceptionally villainous villains (the Oilean), Queen to Ashes is overall an enjoyable read! I am looking forward to more from this author and this series!
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Some, but nothing excessively gory.
My Rating: ★★★1/2