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#BookReview : Shadowed By Despair (Laith #3) by Candace Robinson #ShadowedByDespair #Fantasy #releaseday @literarydust

Shadowed By Despair (Laith #3) by Candace Robinson
Publication Date : May 19th 2020
Publisher : The Parliament House 
Genre : Dark Fantasy
Pages : 240
Stars : ★★★★★

Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives in to temptation, there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire was always to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Alone, she fights through each day, forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite his unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the solution before Perin’s hunger overtakes him.

*** Note : I received e-ARC of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Previous books I read in this series-

Shadowed By Despair was amazing dark fantasy, final book in Laith trilogy. It revolved around adventurous journey of Perin and Tavarra to break curse but this time not Tavarra’s but Perin’s curse. It was about not judging whole species based on bad experience, two sides of the world that has both evil and good in it, love, new friendship, and for a change let others help and care for you.

Writing was great- like previous books of this series- addictive, compelling, and vivid. Setting of Laith was fantastic. This time more of the land was explored and new creatures, dangers and stories were told. It was written in third person narrative from Tavarra and Perin’s POV, alternatively.

Shadowed by Despair started weeks after the second book ended and Perin coming back to life in grave. His love for his sister and Tavarra gave him strength to dig out of grave and started looking for them and first place he looked was at stone of desire. He suspected something was wrong with him but when stone answered him his suspicion was confirmed, he was cursed to crave for blood and meat not just any but human’ or humanlike creatures. To break the curse he needed to travel to the land from where nobody returned to tell the tale. On his way to this adventure he met Tavarra.

Tavarra was curse-free but what she did as a beast wasn’t forgotten and lead to new kind of danger. Luckily she formed unlikely friendship with Jovkin and together they went to the sea where they met Perin. When she discovered what happened to him she joined him on his adventure like he helped her in previous book.

I was curious to find out what they will discover on this new land, what danger lurks there, how they will find what stone has asked or if they will return before it’s too late.

This was amazing book part romance and full of dangerous adventure. I loved how author converted zombie concept into this twisted tale. World was best part of the book. I enjoyed seeing new side of Laith that was filled with Mer people, ugly goblins, weird trees and birds, cobwebbed forest and mud creatures. They all made me crinkle my nose in disgust and pop out my eyes more than once. What I loved most was goddess Zada’s story, mystery of Kova Island, and Vaden’s story and his secret.

My most favorite character was, of course, Tavarra. She was as strong as she was as beast but little less. Her stubbornness, fierceness, and intimidating look didn’t go away with her curse. I loved her for understanding supporting Perin’s situation and helping him to bear it, convincing him to let her care for him, sticking with him till the end.

Now there was competition for my second favorite character because both Vaden and Perin were amazing. While Perin kept things serious and gloomy, Vaden made me smile and melt my heart.

Perin was still haunted by his father’s cruelty. Even if he died he couldn’t shake off his poisonous memories and words. I was still annoyed at him for keeping all this secret from Rhona in second book but when I dived into his memories, I could see why he feared his father and couldn’t say anything to Rhona. His love for Rhona was amazing. I could see why it was hard for him to let other choose and take care of him, not making decisions for them. When Tavarra met him again slowly it changed. She helped him develop come out of his misery and nightmare.

I loved Perin and Tavrra’s relationship. They were perfect for each other. They understood each other’s feelings best and knew what they needed to do to help and grow throughout the book.

When author emailed me with the book I was praying to “Authors’ God” (if they exist!) to send my message to author, let nobody die in this book please. If you see track record somebody died in all previous book. I wouldn’t say if my prayer was answered or not but author sure kept me on the edge, biting my nails, repeating mantra of my prayer throughout the book.

Climax was filled with anxious feeling. When I thought phew no more danger now, out of nowhere came new kind of danger. I was holding my breath when end was near and there came another shock. I admit I couldn’t have guessed it. End was wonderful and I loved that last chapter.

Overall, Shadowed by Despair was gripping, adventurous, page-turner, and twisted fantasy with amazing world and characters. I recommend it to all dark fantasy lovers, but note it should be read it order.

Book Links:

Goodreads

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What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite Zombie story or movie?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview: Veiled By Desire (Laith #2) by Candace Robinson @literarydust

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Veiled By Desire (Laith #2) by Candace Robinson
Publication Date: November 19th 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Genre: Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Pages: 254
Stars: ★★★★★

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In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain…

*** Note: I received e-copy this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Previous Book in the series I read:

Other Books i read by the same author:

Veiled By Desire was another bittersweet tale in Laith series. It’s a story of two fierce and strong female protagonists, Tavarra and Rhona. It was about heart’s desire, desire and love gone wrong because of betrayal, a dream turned to nightmare by selfishness, magical abilities, love and family taken away by sinister leader, curse and legends, fighting fears, unlikely friendship and strength of love. It packs so many things in 250 pages.

[Characters]

Tavarra was my most favorite character in the book. She was both beauty and the beast. She was fierce, strong and deadly. I could feel her emotions from the very beginning. She had to go through a lot in the book. Her friendship with Eza was like rose among thorns. I loved the way she developed in the book. How she got over betrayal and let the sunshine enter in the darkness of her soul and heart. Even after all that happened she learned to trust humans.

Rhona was great in this book. I loved her fierce and stubborn nature, her friendship with Perin and her love for her mother and Quilan. Her emotions were raw and touching. I could feel her anger at Perin for hiding many things, her frustration for not fighting Belen before it was too late, for Quilan’s cold treatment. She was developed character and loved the way she supported Tavarra.

I loved side characters too. Eza was second best character. This bat gave light and refreshing touch to this dark fantasy. She was stubborn creature, a best friend and cutest little thing. Perin was amazing. I loved his relationship with Rhona and Tavarra. I didn’t know if I liked him or not at first but he grew on me eventually. Quilan and his cousin were also amazing.

[What I liked]

It doesn’t follow the first book. This took place ages after story of siblings ended. It was more like a spinoff, we hear a brief tale of first book and you can read it as standalone.

Writing was brilliant. I said last time, Clouded by Envy was best book by Candace but she proved me wrong. This was even better than that. This has raised my expectation for third book even more. Candace is wonderful storyteller. The world, cast and characters, plot, emotions, adventure- everything was brilliant and perfectly balanced.

The story was third person narrative told alternatively from Tavarra and Rhona’s perspective. It started with Tavarra roaming the land of Laith after ill-fated curse with a terrible guilt and self-loath. She was turned into beast for not returning to sea after a day. The only thing that kept her going and maybe living was her best friend, Eza (a bat who looked like fairy with fangs and black wings), and a hope to find stone of desire that could remove the curse.

At the same time in another village of Laith, Rhona was living under control of sinister leader who took away her childhood, her love (Quilan whom she met 10 years ago), her magical abilities, and now threatened to take her mother and destroy whole village unless she set on journey with her best friend, Perin, and retrieve dark prism.

I was curious to see how Rhona and Tavarra’s path will cross and how they were going to help each other. The story was about, how Rhona will find the dark prism, if she can save her mother and if Tavarra can find the stone of desire and remove the curse and what they both will encounter in this journey, will they get what they thought was lost.

The setting and the world was the best part. Tavarra’s curse was interesting.  How she turned from mermaid to human and then beast was best part of the story. The way she turned into werewolf like beast but not just at full moon or every night but most nights. It was mesmerizing to see her change and strength. Rhona and Quilan’s abilities were unique too. Magic of prisms, crimson forest and dangers lurking in the forest, legend of Stone of Desire and humans’ arrival in Laith, bat, fairies and other creatures of Laith was wonderfully narrated.

Climax was tragic, sad and at the same time action packed. It brought tears to my eyes. End was good but tragedy made it so sad, I could feel Tavarra’s emotions. It was great and the same time I so want to change the ending and the tragic part.

Overall, it was engaging, thrilling and atmospheric dark fantasy with amazing world and characters.

Book Links: Goodreads
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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Which your most favorite dark fantasy?

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#BookBlitz : Veiled By Desire by Candace Robinson #Laith #VeiledByDesire @LiteraryDust @parliamentbooks @RRBookTours1 #BookBirthday #BookBlitz #Fantasy #BookRelease #RRBookTours

Congratulations to Candace Robinson on the release of this beauty! Veiled by Desire is the second installment of the Laith series and will be available on November 19th! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, AND a digital copy of book #1, Clouded by Envy!

Veiled by Desire: A Laith Novel
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: The Parliament House Press

Synopsis:

In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain..,

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41085174-veiled-by-desire?from_search=true

Excerpt:

As Tavarra tried to leave the gravitational pull of the powerful ocean waves, each one crashed and pounded against her strong body. She swished through the murky sea, her tail flicking at the rough current as the liquid attempted to haul her back into its clutches.

            Tonight was a chance for her to escape the haunting depths she so desperately dreamed of leaving behind. Tavarra pushed her head out of the sea’s liquid claws, finally finding herself near the sandy shore. She took a deep breath through her mouth, no longer needing the gills etched on each side of her neck.

            Holding steady, she stared through the last rays of the waning day, searching for him. But the young man wasn’t anywhere in her line of sight yet. Keeping on top of the liquid swells, her gaze fixed on the caramel-colored sand. As her arms repeatedly cut through the vigorous surge, a hint of desperation filled her—she couldn’t get swallowed back up. At last, her body struck the grainy granules, swept in blackness.

She sighed in relief.

            With no time to spare, Tavarra dragged her exhausted body by her forearms across the sand. Each tiny grain rubbed against the delicate skin between her fingers and nails. She came to a halt and rolled herself to a sitting position, letting the edge of a cool wave caress the end of her tangerine tail. Bony plates fused together with a fleshy covering lined the tail’s body, and the tip came to a curled point.

A heavy breath forced its way out and tugged harshly at her lungs. “Goodbye,” she whispered, half to herself and half to the ocean cage that, for seventeen years, had never been a true home. “Please let this happen.” Tavarra’s heart pounded rapidly, and had it beaten any harder, her sternum would have cracked.

            Bringing her sandy hands to her waist, she glided them down her moistened tawny skin until they met the vivid exoskeleton. The silver of the twin moons shone down in answer, as if telling her it would work. It must work.

            Tavarra had recently heard a tale of when the twin moons would rise, there would be a way for her sea dweller kind to truly walk the land of Laith. She desired it with everything in her. If this worked, she would never return to the watery home—her underwater grave.

            Slowly, she slid her thumb beneath the soft plates of her tail. To her surprise, the tail pushed away from her skin, as if it were never a part of her at all. She thought there would be pain, but there wasn’t, only a filmy residue left behind.

            Tavarra’s lips pulled up on each side, and she let out a rumbling, giddy laugh to the moons, to the ocean, and to herself. Tugging the tail a little more, she shimmied out from the exoskeleton and found smooth bare legs underneath—as she had hoped. The story had been right. If only she knew sooner that legs rested beneath the tail—then she could have been doing this every time the moons were at their fullest. A continuation of delighted laughter echoed from her as it bounced off the waves and into the darkened forest.

            She kicked these new-found creations, releasing the legs in their entirety from the confined appendage. To her it felt natural, more than surreal.

Purchase Links:

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Clouded by Envy (Laith #1)

Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37654382-clouded-by-envy

About the Author:

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Author Links:

Website: https://authorcandacerobinson.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://literarydust.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/literarydust
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/literarydust/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/literarydust
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16541001.Candace_Robinson

Giveaway:

$10 Amazon Gift Card & Digital copy of Clouded by Envy (Book #1) North America Only

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#Review #ReleaseDay : Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight

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Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: October 1st 2019 by Emilie Lassaline
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 450
Stars: ★★★★★

Dagger and Scythe spent good decade’s together, stalking human prey at night, and taking out the targets the god Maniodes deems worthy. With one hundred years under her belt, Scythe is comfortable in her ways, and takes incredible enjoyment of her skills. Dagger may be new to the undead order, but he’s relishing in the work. The two of them together set beautiful bonfires, with the occasional corpse inside that fire.

When they enjoy each other’s time a little too much, and an entire village burns down because of it, Maniodes becomes sick of their rogue behavior. Regular punishments haven’t worked on either of them, so he tries something new: marrying them to each other. To keep each other in line or they’ll both end up properly dead.

Both have grown tired of the god’s odd punishments and lazy control, taking over his throne and the land of the dead should fix things.

Her scythe is perfectly curved for slicing.

His dagger, made of folded steel, is ready to strike.

But are they strong enough to take on gods?

Previous book I read in the series-

Era of Undying

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for the copy. ***

Dagger and Scythe was dark fantasy that had a bit of romance, mythology and lots of gore. It revolved around Dagger and Scythe, main characters of the book married off with each other as punishment by God of Underworld and their uncomfortable married life filled with bloodlust and rebellion against God. It was about respecting humans, treating and leading those under your power with respect, loved, and friendship.

First the writing was good, fast paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

Though it is second in series, it can be read standalone. The writing was good, steady paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

World building was best. Whatever complain I had for the first book was settled in this. First books explored the land of livings while this explored land of dead in detail. Landscape of Skiachora, its inhabitants, palace of Maniodes, Nyx and her children, Incruetus Ferrum and their odd jobs and powers all were described flawlessly. I especially liked the legends around Nyx and her children, how she created them, their mistake and punishments that they still have to abide. Oh and Maniodes’ library was most marvelous. It would be among most fascinating libraries in fantasy world.

Dagger and Scythe were not really likable, not at least in the first half of the book. Both were dangerous, rebellious, violent and disrespectful of both their Gods and humans. Dagger was calm, little restrained, sensible and diplomatic while Scythe was reckless, extremely volatile and chaotic. Together they made deadly combination, so deadly that they burned whole village just for fun. That was what started the series of punishments, jobs testing their restrains and what they were learning from it.

It started with their first punishment by Maniodes– God of Underworld and Son of Nyx, Goddess of Death- who forced them to marry each other. That made them even more spiteful and rebellious against Maniodes. Maniodes was not that bad but treated all Incruentus Ferrum (other dead minions of Maniodes, like Scythe and Dagger, who did his bidding by killing people to restore order) lowly, never considered their wishes and feelings and disbanded some for their smallest mistake. Scythe and Dagger couldn’t take it anymore and decide to go against him, main plan was to overthrow him but this was God they were talking about. How would they go against Maniodes whose touch can kill their very essence and soul, they could lose their second lives and put all other ferrum in danger? And then Nyx had some plans for them too, were they in their favor or against them? Would she let them take over her son’s throne?

It was interesting to read their story. I had no idea how they were going to do it, what clue they will find or how they will execute the plan. Most fascinating was characters’ stories and their development, their growing relation with sentries and other Ferrums. No matter how unlikable and scary Dagger and Scythe were, once they started feeling the change in them, I ended up liking them both.

I was wondering why they were so cruel, violent and heartless, because they were all nice in the previous life and after what they have gone through they should have compassion, maybe not for all, but for someone who had similar life as theirs. I’m glad author covered that part in the book as well which was important, was in the center of character development.

Romance was also great. Both characters knew each other for long time, flirted even but marriage came with complex and confusing emotions in their friendship. They both felt emotions that they never experienced in ages- jealousy, lust, worry, love, protectiveness, fear of losing other. The relation that was forced on to them actually brought out best in them. They made perfect pair like yin and yang.

I liked how all events took place. Snooping and sneaking was exciting, it brought surprising twist. Climax was action packed, bitter, edgy, and uncertain. It was most interesting to read the next events. Lot of things happened and end was fair and as I expected. I knew in whose favor it would be as I have read first book. I wouldn’t want it in other way.

Overall, it was gripping, creepy, twisted and dark fantasy with elements of mythology, paranormal romance, and a good character development.

Book Details: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or previous one in series? Are you going to add it to TBR? Are you fan of Dark Fantasy? Tell me you favorite in this genre.

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have read any fantasy that has blood warrior or has undying theme? Tell me about your favorite dark fantasy.

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