Fall of the Dragon Prince eARC Review

dragonprincepic.jpgFall of the Dragon Prince (Forgotten Heirs, Book 1) by Dan Allen

Synopsis: The crystal compass predicts a turning point when Reann, a seventeen-year-old servant, will take control of her fate, and Terith, a fearless dragon rider, will determine the fate of his people.

Using the Crystal Compass to track and alter fate, King Toran joined the five realms and tied their destinies to the survival of his secret heirs. But the king is dead and his enemies gather. The hope of all lies with the heirs of Toran. But nobody knows who they are.

When a handsome noble from the south arrives at Toran’s castle in Erdal with clues to the secret heirs, Reann, a servant girl and self-appointed librarian of Toran’s estate, finds herself unravelling the greatest mystery in the realm. She discovers the late king’s true intentions for his heirs, and finds her own life and heart in danger.

On the other side of the kingdom, an invading force threatens the Montas barrier. Only Terith, a prince of the Montas and the other dragon riders can save the rest of the realm. Before Terith and the awakened riders can stop the invasion that may very well be the fall of the empire, he must ride in the challenge. In this cross-country dragon race, Terith faces a black-hearted traitor with even darker purposes, to win the kingdom and the heart of the woman he loves.

One rider will fall; one fate will rise.

About the Author: Dan Allen is a newly discovered fantasy and sci-fi author. He is chief technology officer at a tech startup, a father and husband to his drummer-artist wife. Fall of the Dragon Prince is the first novel in Dan’s epic fantasy trilogy The Forgotten Heirs. He has designed lasers for the government and sensors for cell phones, lit a three-story electron accelerator on fire, chased a flying stool across a high magnetic field zone, and created nanoparticles in a radioactive lab. He lives in the mountain west, where the desert touches the mountains and the sky.

Genre: fantasy, YA, epic

More Info: eARC, 378 pages, published by Jolly Fish Press on February 14, 2017

{I received a copy of this book from Jolly Fish Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not impact the content of my review and my opinions are my own.}

4.5

This book follows the lives of Terith (a fighting, dragon riding champion) and Reann (a palace servant with a pursuit). There are some other POVs included in a few spots through the novel, but the main focus is on them.

Terith is a perfect leader. He’s kind and passionate for his people, but he’s not chief just yet. To be the man he is meant to be he must compete in a traditional race. If he wins he can marry an eligible suitor and, if chosen, become the head of the Montas. He must contend with other champions, and his biggest challenger is Pert – a dark man with a dark secret. In the meantime, he must also protect the villages from Outlanders attempting to overrun their home.

Reann has a secret…project. Able to access the library (between her chores) and search for clues, she is on the hunt to discover Toran’s heirs. To unite the realms it is believed that Toran, the previous king, sired at least 5 heirs from every main section of the region. All of these half-brothers and half-sisters are being searched for, so that they may take their rightful positions and bring peace.

Both face challenges and must outsmart their opponents. Filled with mystery and potential discovery, readers can join the hunt and become involved in an enormous political and social adventure.

 

Do not judge this book by its cover! To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from this book when I first picked it up. But I pleasantly surprised!

The world-building is spectacular. Some areas, like Toran’s fortress, seemed familiar: castle, lords, ladies, servants, library, politics, etc.. Others, like the Montzai Realm, are extremely unique. There are mountains, the deep, bridges, cliff islands, tree pods, and more. It’s like a souped up elf village or something. I wish the map in the book took a closer look at some of the land; I would love to see the layout and intricacies of some of these places.

Some scenes lacked in explanation where I would have to double back to figure out what had just happened. But, for the most part, the detail, explanation, and description was evenly balanced, creating a perfect blend to keep my attention.

Another factor that led to my 2 day reading binge of Fall of the Dragon Prince was Allen’s use of anticipation. It wasn’t overt, like heart wrenching cliffhangers at the end of some books. His style was subtle, enough to keep me wondering and continuing to find out what happens next. The domino of events are all put in motion because of one man, Toran.

One strange thing about the nature of this book is that the audience is following the legacy of Toran. He was a great king and uniter. It feels weird to learn about his character only through memories and flashbacks. You do meet him…but never really get to know him. His character is only built upon actions and adventures. Really, he’s only a legend; you’re not as connected to him as you first believe, once you think about it. For someone so important, and dead :/, it’s just awkward to meet him in this way.

The main reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars was the lack of emotion. The writing felt somewhat detached like a disinterested onlooker. I wasn’t truly invested in the character with a sense of feeling. In sections where I felt like my heart should have been in my throat, it just…wasn’t. I was still interested in the main characters and their lives, but it didn’t fully evoke emotion.

That being said, there was some romance but it wasn’t overpowering. The focus of the book was on the characters and the unraveling drama/mystery. I loved the flirting and scandal of the girls in Ferrin-tat. Reann’s love life is far from her mind with other pressing matters to attend to, but readers can certainly see some crushes developing. And despite her lack of attention, Reann is quite good at persuading men to bow to her wishes.

Reann is awesome! She is everything a girl looks for in a female protagonist. She is smart and conniving. She knows how to use her knowledge to spy, gain information, fix problems, and worm out of intelligent situations. She can be forgetful and clumsy, and when it comes to the strength and fighting department she is at a disadvantage. Yet, her brain and alliances allow for a different type of power. She’s a servant at the keep until she turns of age, allowing for a semblance of humility. But she is not demure…if anything, her job makes her more bold. She isn’t self-conscious or worried about her looks, on most occasions. Overall, she is an overlooked, amazing character.

The other main personage is Terith. His sense of honor and duty is absolute, passed along from his bloodline. He is a dragon rider and a champion, set to compete in a traditional race and fight against the invading horde. Terith listens to others, plays with children, is a capable rider/fighter and only wants the best for his people; all of which makes him a great leader. His main downfall is his temptation and too kind heart.

The ending was stopped in an interesting spot. There was a dramatic moment and partial cliffhanger, that left me intrigued but not furious for more. With all of the missing information and discovered information, book two can go is so many directions. I wonder if we’ll hear from new main POV characters or if Reann and Terith will remain the top dogs. The adventures could be numerous and the drama endless. There are so many outcomes that I can’t even imagine what is to come. I guess I’ll simply have to wait and see.

There’s a giveaway on Goodreads right now, until February 8, 2017! Click here.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

Twisted Palace Review

twistedpalace.jpgTwisted Palace (The Royals, Book 3) by Erin Watt

Synopsis: These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

About the Author: Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up. You can contact them at their shared inbox: authorerinwatt@gmail.com

Genre: new adult, romance, contemporary, young adult (recommended 17+).

More Info: Kindle edition,  pages, published on October 17, 2016

 

Mini Review

{Warning: spoilers from book 2.}

See my reviews for: Paper Princess and Broken Prince

 

I want more! This is the final installment in the Royals series. 😦 I can’t say I’m happy that it’s over, but I’m glad I got to finish the series so fast and with minimal wait time.

After finishing book two, I was desperate for book three. The cliffhanger was agonizing. Needless to say, I finished Twisted Palace within, maybe 9 hours. Then, I let myself get behind on reviewing; so, here we are a few months later.

I was glad to see Ella grow as a person throughout this series. I’m also glad to get to know more about Reed; there is more to him than meets the eye in the first book. I like him but his over-exaggerated portrayal occasionally rubs me wrong. I enjoyed the continuation from more than just Ella’s POV. His input soothed my mind against Ella’s onslaught of doubt and emotion. They seemed a little too sex-crazed; however I can see this as a result of their heightened emotions and panicked state of mind for the future.

I sympathized with Ella over her dad. He was kinda annoying and way to overbearing. I understand that he wants to get to know his daughter, but he was so entitled! He obviously knows nothing about women, except for his witch of a wife who isn’t the best generalization for the female sex. It was frustrating. Just…ugh! That just goes to show how well this book elicits emotion from its readers.

Then, I did not see the plot twist coming towards the end of the book. I can see it better now as I look back, but I was quite thrown off. What a betrayal!

I generally liked the ending. There was some ambiguity; the end was left open but still resolved. And so, Ella’s and Reed’s story has ended. There is an opportunity for Erin Watt to write a spin-off series which  leaves me hopeful. Cross your fingers!

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

 

Top Ten Tuesday

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TTT: Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog. They give weekly prompts for a bookish list of 10 items (more or less). The topic for this week:

Freebie

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Great YA Retellings

  1. Entwined by Heather Dixon (The Twelve Dancing Princesses)
  2. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Alice in Wonderland)
  4. Hunted by Meagan Spooner (Beauty and the Beast)
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella)
  6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Beauty and the Beast)
  7. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (Rapunzel)
  8. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (A Thousand and One Nights)
  9. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (The Frog Prince)
  10. The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter (Hades & Persephone)

 

Here is an extreme list from Epic Reads: YA Retellings

 

{From: The Broke and Bookish}

The Stationery Book Tag

NewDesk

The Stationery Book Tag

I haven’t done a tag in a long while and I haven’t been tagged recently either. So I found The Stationery Book Tag on Cátia’s blog: The Girl Who Read Too Much. I’m going to keep this simple, so, here we go!

Rules

 

Pencils: Favorite Middle Grade or Children’s Book

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Pens: A basic staple for any reader

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Notebooks: What books do you own multiple copies of

None.

 

Markers: A book with a beautiful cover

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Glue: Two characters that work well together even if they aren’t together

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Scissors: What book would you like to destroy

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Art kit: What completed series do you own

  • Mortal Instruments Series
  • Seven Realms Series
  • Divergent Series
  • Hunger Games Series
  • Harry Potter Series
  • Infernal Devices Series
  • Uglies Series
  • Iron Fey Series
  • Artemis Fowl Series
  • Twilight Series
  • Lux Series
  • Shadow Falls Series

I’m sure I have a lot more, but these are the completed series I own off of the top of my head.

 

Bonus: Show us your desk/stationery that you own for each question

My desk isn’t organized enough for this…

 

I Tag:

If you want to take part in this tag, consider yourself tagged. Have fun!

Waiting On Wednesday

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can feature anticipated upcoming book releases.

I need to get my hands on Hunted by Meagan Spooner.


huntedspooner.jpgBeauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


I haven’t heard too much about this Russian-influenced fairytale retelling but with the upcoming live-action movie remake with Emma Watson, I thought to honor Beauty and the Beast. As a lover of YA fantasy, this book is right up my alley: woods, castles, love, etc. I think the twist, of Yeva being a huntress will make for a fierce female protagonist. From some reviews, I’ve discovered that the writing is eloquent and beautiful to read. And so, another book is added to my TBR. *sighs* I will never be able to read all of my pile at this point. But it’s a wonderful feeling to have.

A Shadow Bright and Burning Review

a-shadow-bright-burningA Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book 1) by Jessica Cluess

Synopsis: Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

About the Author: Jessica Cluess was born in Los Angeles, moved to Chicago, and then moved back when the weather became too weather-y. She wrote her first book, A Shadow Bright and Burning, while working at a coffee shop and selling lattes to the rich and famous. A graduate of Northwestern University, she uses her education to study the vast intricacies of the Victorian era before slapping sorcerers and monsters into the whole mess. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Genre: YA, fantasy, historical fiction

More Info: hardcover, 416 pages, published by Random House Books for Young Readers on September 20, 2016

4

When Nettie’s power with fire is discovered, she is taken to London to be trained as a sorcerer. She escapes the mistreatment and dull environment of the school she works for and get to live in luxury. She insists on taking her best friend, Rook, with her. Rook has had a run-in with an Ancient and familiars. He is chosen by the demons and favored with their dark power.

As it turns out, Nettie may not actually be the chosen one. Her sorcerer training is falling behind, because she is really a magician. She secretly trains with Jenkins Hargrove, a magician who happened to know her father.

As Nettie progresses, she faces the wrath of the other boys, the destruction of Ancients and familiars, and the betrayal of society. She must overcome her status and her heritage to join the continuous fight of Victorian England.

 

I liked the beginning the most. It was well developed and well paced. The world is built upon our existent society. Magic is placed on top of religion and hierarchy. There is a perfect medium of exposition. Henrietta is powerful, not just in her magic but in her presence. She is intelligent and curious. She is struggling to find her place is a man’s world, and takes feminism to another level.

There are certainly a lot of twists and turns heading towards and into the end of the novel. However, a lot of these surprises appear out of the blue. Yes, that is what makes a surprise…surprising, but some of the revelations seemed forced. Something new will develop, catching a reader off guard. Then, the shock will be explained through character dialogue and thought. Then you realize that there was no build-up that lead to the twist or turn. If there had been tension or hints, there would be no need to completely spell out the eye-opener. Don’t take me wrong, I enjoyed the surprises because they brought speed and excitement to the book. Yet, I feel as if there were too many ideas. Before one ideas was written and explained, the next was already in motion.

These twists and turns revolve around the characters. That being said, I feel this book was more character driven than plot driven. Specifically, there is more action at the end of the book than throughout the beginning and middle. Back on track.

  1. Our main character and protagonist, Henrietta (Nettie) Howel, is compassionate to a fault. I love her conviction and determination to stand up for the marginalized (including herself, since women aren’t privileged in this time setting). She fights for what she believes in and stays true to her morals.
  2. Julian Magnus is a complete, charismatic flirt. He is the definition of a player. Despite this projection, he can be sweet, real, or menacing when the situation calls for it.
  3. George Blackwood has more ties to Nettie than he first realizes. Among them being that he was the benefactor for her school and the Earl of Sorrow-Fell, her hometown. He is cross with her, but her conviction may soften and change him over time.
  4. Jenkins Hargrove is a magician. Nettie’s meetings with him would be severely frowned upon, punished, if the Order ever found out. Nettie connects with the “trickster” and his children. Be warned, he is much more than he seems.
  5. Master Cornelius Agrippa appears as Nettie’s savior and father-figure. He takes her into his home to teach her sorcery. Having lost his own daughter, Nettie comes to act as her replacement. He is kind and patient, even letting her bring her best friend, Rook.
  6. Finally, Rook is Nettie’s main companion. She sees past his horrible scar and pays attention to the man underneath (a man that cares for her more than she understands. Poor Rook, being in the friendzone is hard.). Living new lives, in new places, they both begin to transform. They both drift apart and reconnect in their new world, together.
  7. Other characters interact and alter the course of these main focus personalities. (There is little diversity.)

Coming back to Rooks scars, I want to talk about the Ancients and Familiars. Set in Victorian England, Cluess interchanges the real world with her fantasy one. It’s almost a post-apocalyptic version of London. Here, religion and politics mix with magic. I mean this in the sense that the Order and the Queen are fighting a war against “demons” or Ancients. I also mean in the fashion that Cluess’ characters talk about the Ancients by using words such as campaign. She paints them are dangerous and vile, but also weakens their frightening nature by making them sound like human politicians. I wish there had been more about the Familiars: humans and magic/element wielder alike fallen to the darkness. Promised order and freedom by becoming the lackeys for the Ancients.

The magic wasn’t as pronounced or spectacular as I’d hoped it’d be. It’s not like Harry Potter where there are spell and enchantments. The sorcerer and magicians just…do magic. The skills presented aren’t very fabulous, and the way they are described makes them seem like ordinary/usual performances; this makes the magic less magical/special. Although, I must concede that the idea of staves is very cool, even though they are limiting. Every sorcerer has a staff that is connected and bonded to their magic. If the staff breaks, the sorcerer dies. Howel, being a magician, shouldn’t be able to handle a staff. But she can. No, Nettie isn’t the chosen one, but she sure is an emotional conundrum.

Lastly, the romance. I was quite confused where love was going in the book. Magnus is flirty, but doesn’t commit himself to Nettie. Rooks is friendzoned. Blackwood doesn’t like Nettie in the beginning, but develops a healthy respect for her. There is no pronounced love interest(s). There is semi-pronounced friendships, especially with Blackwood’s sister, but there isn’t enough to rule out romance or create an explicit bond of any kind.

Overall, the book was decent. The banter and wit was fabulous. The pacing could have been better spread out. In general, it all seemed too packed together, with new ideas being shoved into the pages. I personally love the cover. And sure, I guess I would recommend this book.

For some reason, this book reminds me of Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie (review). So if you like one, maybe try the other.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble