Warmaidens (Gravemaidens #2) by Kelly Coon
Publication Date : December 15th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA / Fantasy
Pages : 384
Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.
Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.
Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.
Previous book in Series-
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Warmaidens was interesting dark fantasy that revolved around Kammani and her friends working together in saving their own life and lives of Alu citizen. It was about good vs evil, consequences of oppressive usurper and war, following gut feeling, inequality, patriarchy, traditions and practice that oppress women, courage, kindness, family, and friendship.
Writing was thrilling, immersive, and engaging. It was first person narrative from Kammani’s perspective. Her voice and view gave more depth to her character. Middle eastern based fantasy setting of kingdom, beliefs, and traditions made the story atmospheric. Plot was great, better than first book and my only complain of predictability in first book was dealt with in this one. It was twisty and action packed from the beginning.
It started with wedding in Manzazu city where gravemaidens, who escaped their death, found protection under Sarratum Tabni, an old friend of Arwai’s mother. Kammani earned respect, honour and protection of Sarratum Tabni and her Koru warriors by healing their warriors and citizens back to health. But while everyone was enjoying and relaxing wedding, Assassins attacked Arwai and killed a healer he believed was Kammani. Sarratum Tabni planned to wage war against usurper of Alu throne to avenge death of healer and her warrior in her city. Kammani and Arwai had to remove threat from Alu’s throne and reinstate Arwai to save their own lives and save Alu citizen from war. And then there were visions from boatman Kammani kept seeing. I was curious to find out what boatman was indicating, how they were going to face Uruku again, how a healer would act as killer and if they would succeed in their plan before war.
Characters were realistic and interesting. Kammani made many mistakes this time, had self-doubts and had problem in believing in her gut feeling. It made me role my eyes when she kept questioning Degan’s proposal for marriage but at the same time I could understand her. I wouldn’t want to be shackled to a husband in this world and loose freedom and give absolute control to any man who can ruin life. Well, everyone and even she could see Dagan was different and it took her whole book to understand it which was annoying. I’m glad she developed more in second half and I liked seeing changes in her. She was more confident and courageous. I admired her kind and determined nature. She stood strong even though many were against her, was unshakable from her belief and what she thought was right. She showed kindness to those who didn’t deserve it. What made her most likable was her fight for women’s right and voice against traditions demeaning women.
Kammani’s siblings Nanaea and Kasha were more developed and responsible than first one. What they went through brought out best in them and I loved how much they supported and helped Kammani at every step. Iltani was my favorite. She was fiery and strong in first book but in this we see vulnerability behind her nonchalant brave face. I didn’t understand her reason to alcohol addiction at first but it was great Kammani could understand it as story progressed and tried to help her in every possible way. I admired Koru warriors. They were fierce and deadly and loved their determination and dedication.
Dagan was great. I loved him for his love for Kammani and his family. When he returned to Alu and found out what happened to his family never once he regrated his decision of leaving or pointed anyone about it. I didn’t like it when he couldn’t understand Kammani’s voice against forceful marriage and I sided with Kammani at that moment but even with this minute flaw I loved him for staying with Kammani even when her visions clouded her mind and reacted badly.
There was little romance and I loved reading Dagan and Kammani’s growing relationship. Both Kammani and Dagan were emotional mess in this, both struggling with their own thoughts and feeling and yet they both supported each other and stayed together. I was really happy when Kammani got some sense at the end.
There were many twists and turns. There were schemes, poison, fight, mistakes, consequences, destruction, war, struggle, emotions, and a little bit of traditions and myth. What drew me in the story was healer trying to be killer and Kammani’s constant inner battle to use her skills for death than saving life and sticking to her principle of ‘do no harm’. What I loved most was dark vibe boatman gave. I enjoyed reading his story and what he was trying to say through Kammani’s dream. I loved to explore other kingdoms, their traditions tradition of bridal gifting and characters’ thoughts on it, and a little more about Gods and Goddesses.
Climax was surprising and exciting. I couldn’t predict what would happen next. The final battle was great. I liked how Kammani’s vision helped her and the end was amazing with another vision. I would have enjoyed this book even more if I hadn’t have to take breaks.
Overall, Warmaidens was epic fantasy, even better than Gravemaidens, with thrilling plot, well written theme and characters, dark setting, perfect ending of this duology.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or previous book in series? Your favourite YA heroine who is isn’t warrior but is talented?
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