Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand

Kingsbane ARC Book Review

“With the Fall of the Blood Queen, the magic that had once illuminated humanity’s path to the empirium had vanished. And, somehow, Eliana had to find it again. Find it, and control it.”

Friends, this was a wild ride of a sequel and if I am being honest took me days to formulate my thoughts on this book (I still don’t think I did this book justice). One thing I can say for certain: my heart hurts and need the next book NOW. The Empirium Trilogy is set in an intricate and complex fantasy world, and just when you think you have it all figured out you find out you were wrong. And I am just putting this out there now: your heart will break and there is an evil cliffhanger in this book.

I am conflicted. Reading Kingsbane was at times arduous for me, but then again I’ve thought about nothing but this book and the mindf*ck of a cliffhanger for over 24 hours. When I sat down to write my initial thoughts for this review (my first drafts are usually bullet point lists of word vomit), it sat at over 1,000 words. The best of books challenge you and stay with you, and this one has invaded my mind.

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Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Finale book review

“Occasionally, there are minutes that get extra seconds. Moments so precious the universe stretches to make additional room for them, and this was one of them.”

Reading this book was very much like the universe stretched out time and space for me… and all I can say is: Holy book hangover, batman! I was fully immersed into the world of Caraval for three days in a row, reading all 1,336 pages of this trilogy in three days. And I am a little conflicted here because while I really enjoyed Finale, there were some things that never got explained that kind of bother me(spoiler at the end of the review). But I am primarily here for these characters and was swept into this heartbreaking, beautiful, and magical end; a satisfying conclusion to a stellar trilogy.

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Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

Legendary book review

The magical game of Caraval is about bravery and sacrifice, and friends let me tell you that the magic isn’t yet over as there are some debts to be paid. This world is so magical and ethereal that it is easy to get swept up into the narrative, and while I slightly prefer Caraval, this installment of the trilogy lives up to its predecessor and shatters all notions of Middle Book Syndrome!

“Legend has chosen you to play a game that may change your destiny.
In honor of Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday,
Caraval will visit the streets of Valenda for six magical nights.”

The magical performance typically only happens once per year, but within a week the troupe is heading to the Meridian capitol Valenda for a special game. But is this one just a game? Or is it something more?

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Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Book Review for Caraval

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

I’ve owned a copy of this book for almost two years now (and I even pre-ordered Legendary last year!), yet it has taken me until the eve of Finale‘s release to finally read this book. And what a fool I am for waiting so long! This book is magical and perfect and I loved every minute of reading it.

I was immediately swept away by Garber’s effortlessly captivating prose. Her words had almost a magical power over me and it was as if I was transported into the magical game myself. Lush and descriptive, she manages to describe the world, people, and settings so well that I can see them in my head.

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Shutter by Courtney Alameda

“Nothing monstrous was conquered with a kiss, nor by love. Evil went down by the trigger, overcome with bullets, shutters, blood, and courage.”

After reading and loving Pitch Dark last year, I was excited to check out Alameda’s debut for some more spooky goodness. Friends, while I expected to enjoy Shutter a lot more than I did, it was a creepy and enjoyable read for me. It’s fast-paced and hauntingly atmospheric; Alameda has a way with words that is impossible to ignore. If you are a fan of spooky stories that deliver on the horror with imaginative detail, then keep reading because this book might be for you!

Shutter is told in the third person perspective of Micheline Helsing, the one of the last descendants in the lineage of the Van Helsings, and I honestly was sucked into the book with its opening lines: “Call it a reaper’s insomnia, but the dead wouldn’t let me sleep at night. Everytime the sun went down, I swore I sensed them stirring, starving.” There is something about the writing style that sets an almost noir mood with the words and painting the scene of my mind in black and white.

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