A demon has started terrorizing the kingdom of Axaria, so Princess Asterin and her companions are sent on a quest to defeat the demon, but everything may not be as it seems.
Spoiler Free Review:
Content Warnings: abuse, depictions of corpses, violence, mild swearing, self-mutilation/self-harm
I have a bit of a story behind this book! I received it in last October’s FaeCrate box, and immediately started listening to the audiobook version that was included. I got about 25% into the book before realizing that I was spacing out the entire time and had no idea what was going on. I swore I would get back to it, and it took me 10 months before I finally just had to get it done. Part of my issue was that I really don’t like the audiobook narrator, but I still really was interested in this book.
After finishing it, I know now that the beginning of the book was just not for me. I almost gave up again, but by a third of the way into the book, it shifted into something I was really enjoying! I ended up really enjoying the later part of the book, but the vibe of the beginning and end were so different that it felt a little jarring, so my feelings for this book overall are complicated.
In the beginning, there is a fair amount of time spent just getting to know the characters. One thing I did like was that there was a pretty big cast of characters, especially for YA. Asterin is the princess and the main protagonist, but there is also Luna the lady-in-waiting, Orion the Guardian, and Eadric, Rose, and Quilan, who are members of the Royal Guard. At first, I really felt no emotional connections to these characters, but after they started their quest, I definitely became more invested in them as a group.
There are some interesting dynamics in the group. The three girls quickly form a little friendship, which I enjoyed. There are also multiple romances that formed, which I enjoyed. One thing that bothered me is that there is some unnecessary jealousy involved in that got very old very fast.
At one point in their journey, the group is in an old, creepy, magical forest, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Speaking of magic, I didn’t love how the magic was explained in this book. I don’t really understand it, and there are also Immortals, which I don’t think was explained enough.
I saw some people compare this to Throne of Glass and I think that it is a fairly reasonable comparison. I normally hate comparing books like this, but it also kind of reminded me of Furyborn by Claire Legrand. These are all on the older end of YA, so I feel like they all kind of get a little dark. They all kind of have similar vibes, even though the plots are not the same at all.
Even just writing this review, I’m seeing that there were so many things I didn’t like, but at the same time, there are also so many things I enjoyed. This is definitely one of the books I have the most complicated feelings for. I haven’t decided yet if I want to read the sequel. I am interested to see where it goes, but since I really only enjoyed half the book, I don’t know if it’s worth it.