Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Letter From Camp


Dear lovely blog friends,

Hello from Camp NaNoWriMo! You may have noticed I haven't been around much this month but I've been at camp, writing. The lovely Jameson (Lovely Whatsoevers) had the idea to write letters from Camp so here we are.

At the moment I'm staring out the window by my top bunk, watching birds fly through the perfectly clear blue sky and feeling a little homesick but also a little sad to be at the end of the month.

How's the month been? HECTIC. But fun. Actually, the hectic-ness hasn't even come from NaNo things and writing, just general things. LIFE getting in the way when all my life is supposed to be is READING and WRITING.

Camp is practically over, I'm sending this on the last day and like always it's bittersweet. I've spent the month writing lots but also it feels like, with all the other stuff going on, I haven't had much time at all for writing even while meeting my word count and everything. Which, I met my goal of 75k earlier this month!

It's been strange this month, because I haven't been writing something new. I took something I wrote forever ago, my very first novel, scrapped it and rewrote the whole thing. And while so much changed between versions it's still a story I know down to its core, to its bones. It's been fun rebuilding it though, even while it hasn't felt...I don't know. The same? It's deferent to rewrite something even if 90% of it is changing than to write something completely new and that's not a bad thing it's just been weird. Rewriting the first thing I ever wrote...maybe like surreal and scary cause I'm supposed to know more of what to do and how to write these days than I did when I was 16!

So I went the big bonfire this year (the forums before camp started) and did some mingling (it was scary) to find cabin mates and my cabin has been so much fun. We got one of the big cabins over by the purple lake and no one got eaten by bears this year (that happened once last year, tragic really). And we told ghost stories and I took up my mantle of NaNo Cheer Coach (I'm really good at this job! Just ask Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)). There were dragons and mermaids and ghosts (seriously, ghosts everywhere). Snacks! So many snacks...

My novel is Dragon Heir: It's MG and it's fantasy and DRAGONS.

So the main characters of this book are a pair of baddass 14 year old girls. They're the POV characters anyway, really it's based around a group of eight characters. The baddass girls, though, one's the leader of their group; the other wants to be the leader. One cares way too much for people; the other is not a team player at all. Among the rest of the characters is an awesome boy who can shapeshift and often shifts into the form of a duck when he's nervous.

There are dragons and centaurs, fae and magic and I had so much fun writing this book.

I started out writing this book, this genre MG fantasy, and since then I've gone all over the place genre-wise, most notable getting really into YA contemporary for a while and basically I've been thinking a little about what I want to write. What I want to be known for. And I've been kind of realizing as much as I love everything I've written, as much as I've poured my heart and soul into it and editing things...MG fantasy is kind of my soul. It's what I always imagined writing. What I always imagined being and it's been really fun to kind of surround myself with that again.

Word Count At The Moment UPDATED because I finished my novel with over an hour to spare of the last day of camp!

Goal For The Month: 75,000
Current Total: 112,714
Most Written In One Day: 13,503

This feels crazy to me cause I fnished my first draft of the third completely rewritten version of my first book idea. I wrote the oringinal first draft of this novel in 2012. Is it just me or is that crazy?


Next Camp is in July! And it's my goal to convince some of you to join me! (I'm looking at you Val and Shannon and Jillian and anyone else that I might have a hope of convincing).

Wow, this letter is like two pages. I have to go pack and there's the final bonfire tonight and I'm supposed to meet people at one of the lakes...I don't remember which. Plus, I do actually have a few chapters to finish! Gah! Bye!

XOXOXOXO,
Shay

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Waiting For A New Book Like: (or Waiting For The Raven King Like:)

So you know there's always those few books, every year, those ones that you just can. not. wait for? More than the normal I-need-this-now feeling, it's the one where you literally worry you might die before you get it. It's the ones where you know you could die from feels from and the ones you're almost a little afraid to read because then the waiting (as painful as it's been) will be OVER...


...

We all have those, right?


Here are the stages of waiting for those books and then finally, FINALLY, getting them.


First, you wait weeks, months, years sometimes. Some days it's okay. Some, it slips your mind. But then you remember and you are dying for it.
Then, suddenly, it's less than a month away... You have to start preparing yourself. Maybe you read a bunch of early reviews. Maybe you make sure to avoid all that. Maybe you reread the other books in the series and slowly....soooo slowly, you're obsession grows once more.

All month you're like:


THEN, then. It's just a week away and how did we get here? And we're dying.


You can practically see it in your hands, imagine all the feelings you're going to have while reading it...

Part of you is still dying for the book...


But part of you is thinking...



This is the last book in the series or you're going to have to wait another year for the next...


And...feels...

And...what if it breaks your heart...

And...what if it's not all you want it to be, what if it doesn't break your heart...


What if it's the most amazing thing ever...


But what will life be like after it's over...


Even if it's amazing...


Even if it's bad...


What will life be when you aren't waiting for it...


Also, feeeeeeels:


Basically, I was talking to my friend on Tumblr yesterday about how I was so excited but also afraid of reading The Raven King because I love this series so much and there's so much we've all been waiting for from this book and it's been such a long wait and I'm scared... Not really that I won't like it or it won't end well because I trust the author, but I've spent all month obsessively rereading the Raven Cycle and being so excited for it to finally come out, And I WANT IT SO  BAD but I also don't? Because then it will be OVER and we all feel this way about our favorite books don't we?

Basically, she summed it up perfectly:


And that's all for today because I'm going to spend the day in bed with blankets, cats, coffee, and The Raven King. *heart eyes*

Who else is looking forward to The Raven King today? What's the last book that had you feeling all these feelings????


Sunday, April 24, 2016

SST: The Island Excerpt

27236789
The Island
by S. Usher Evans

Goodreads Link

Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.
    Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.
    When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.
    Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?



Excerpt:



"It matters if one rabbit happened to appear on this island, or a whole population. Do you want to eat tomorrow?" She nodded to the open box of supplies, and I tried not to think about how low it was. "That'll be a lot easier if there's ample meat roaming around here."

Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day—Theo's concern was for a much longer term than I'd considered. She seemed to think that we would be there for a while, and for whatever reason, the implications of that finally sank in.

The remains of my ship were visible on the beach, and anyone truly looking for me would have seen it. If they'd noticed it, they would have already sent soldiers to come get me. They had no idea Theo was there, with her knowledge of how to construct a double boiler to capture drinking water or else we'd be dead from dehydration before we could starve. God forbid she suffer from infection from her wound and die. Then I'd really be in trouble. I had no idea how to hunt or to catch food. I didn't know which plants were poisonous and which were safe. I'd gotten lucky with that wolf earlier, what would happen when the entire pack showed up?

All of which served to point out, very clearly, what my father had been trying to tell me for years: I was completely and totally useless.

What use were all the skills learned at the Royal Kylaen Academy on this island? I couldn't even take care of myself. Sure I could wrap a tourniquet and administer antibiotics. I could even assist in surgery should the situation call for it. I could get a plane in the air and get it back on the ground.

But, as His Highness said, that was worthless when it came to battle. I was there to kill people, not save them.

I would never forget him after Digory's death. My mother had been inconsolable for days. Although she hadn't had as close a bond with him as with me, he was still her son. But my father was nearly over the moon with pride that his son had died in his war. Digory wasn't even cold in the ground before he began suggesting I do the same.

Now there I was, marooned on an island in the northern Madion Sea, and he probably figured if I wasn't dead already, I would be soon. That meant he could plaster my face on the screens in every home in Kylae. He could re-galvanize our troops to take revenge against Rave. He'd use my death as reason to continue the bloodshed.

Which meant no one was coming for me. 

And I suddenly became scared.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

20s

I haven't been posting much, I know, and I'm SORRY but I've been slumping and writing and it's camp and seriously, the slumps are getting me down. BUT... Today is my 20th birthday!

*cue confetti*

Honestly, I'm not old enough to hate my birthday yet, I know but I do. I've always hated getting old okay? Ever since I was like 13, I've just hated it. I want to be Peter Pan basically. Having said that, I actually thought I would feel worse about this birthday. When I was younger, I thought turning 20 would be a giant deal cause....20 you're like a person now. A real person, with responsibilities. You aren't just a teenager anymore. But, I mean, just like any birthday, now that it's here...it's not really a big deal? I'm excited. I'm happy to be 20 and scared because what is life and what am I doing with it?



Everyone does cool posts for their birthdays so let's see...

So every year since I was...16? Definitely 16 but maybe even 15. I've made myself a birthday playlist. Most of them I still have somewhere (hopefully all of them but I'm not really positive) and I basically never listen to them actually but it's just become something I do. A week or so before my birthday I sit down and make a playlist for it. Last year, I shared my playlist and I put on it songs that reminded me of that year. I picked songs I'd listened to a ton when I was 18, ones from concerts I went to, ones I listened to on repeat when road tripping with my brothers. This year I kind of just did all the songs I currently love listening to and all the songs I hope will represent this year. It's something kinda stupid and cheesy but one day I might actually go back and listen to the songs I picked to put on the playlist for my 20th year and here it will be.



Also, since I'm turning 20 (how the hell did that happen?), I'm going to share things...facts and goals?
Let's do 10 facts, 3 goals to meet before I turn 23 (because 23 is a big deal to me for no reason honestly except it will be my golden birthday turning 23 on the 23rd), 3 life goals, and 1 goal to met before I turn 21

10 Facts About Me, Who Is An Offical 20 Year-Old:

1. I LOVE coffee.

2. I used to hate coffee, especially the taste but now like...it's not just the caffeine, I will eat and drink and swim in anything that tastes like coffee.

3. I've always had a giant fear of growing up. I am not over it yet.

4. I fully plan on being a crazy cat lady when I grow up (when do you stop saying "when I grow up?"). I'm not being dramatic. I'm not going to change my mind. I want to grow up not to have a husband and kids but lots of cats and books.

5. I recently fell down the fandom rabbit hole and joined Tumblr for fandom reasons and this was a horrible life decision that I do not regret.

6. I literally haven't had my natural hair color in over four years. Since I was around 16. I started dying my hair before then but I still had mostly my natural color, which is brown. Right now it's blond with bright (if faded) streaks.

7. I like wearing glasses. I don't want contacts or surgery or anything. I think I look good with glasses and they make me feel smart.

8. I HATE getting dressed so when I have to go to the store or something I usually just put on a clean shirt and leave in my pajama pants and slippers.

9. But I really like doing my makeup so I'm usually wearing makeup at the same time.

10. I'm 20 now and I don't have my drivers license. Though I am finally learning how to drive, I've always planned on being like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. I am not a good driver, okay?

3 Goals to meet before I turn 23:

3. Have my own personal library. This is a good, reasonable goal, right?

2. Go to BEA. Everyone is preparing for it again and by the time I am 23, I will have gone, damn it!

1. Grow as a writer. Obviously, as a general goal, I would like to have an agent by then and hopefully a book deal but I can't control that. So, I want to still write just as much as I do now, not give up, and have continued to grow and learn as a writer.

3 Life Goals:

3. Become a crazy cat lady.

2. Travel. Of course, I went through the phase where I wanted to be anywhere but where I was born, and I want to see lots of the world, but I will settle for mine and my mom's newest plan which involves an RV and just living in it and driving around all over whenever we want.

1. To get an agent. To get published and never ever stop writing.

1 GOAL TO MEET BEFORE I TURN 21:

Honestly, I went over this a lot, trying to figure out what to set my goal as. I'm not huge on like resolution type things, I don't believe in setting ones you have no control over. My first thought was to say writing and not stop writing and all this, but I put that everywhere else and that's kind of my life's goal, not give up on my writing, get published and all that. Instead of coming up with some BIG THING and making a list of things I want to do before I turn 21 or whatever, I'm picking something simple. Get a new tattoo. Since I was seventeen, I've always gotten a new tattoo right around/after my birthday so this is something fun and that I can do and that I want to do so there you have it.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reviewing A TV Show: Shadowhunters Season 1




I'm going to attempt to review a TV show today, which basically means I'm going to try to convince you all to watch Shadowhunters and then fangirl/rant with me all about it!


Shadowhunters
based on: Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare
Network: Freeform
How I watched it: Obsessively
Genre: ???
My synopsis:
Based on Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Shadowhunters follows Clary Fray who is way more badass here, and Jace (who really knows what his last name is anyway?) who isn't as funny as the book version but still a total tool. Clary didn't know the shadow world existed until she bumped into Jace while her mundane friend Simon watched her have a conversation with an invisible person... And then her mom was kidnapped by demons or circle members or something like that.
Also included: Magnus Bane the best warlock to ever warlock played perfectly by Harry Shum Jr. Isabelle the baddest badass to ever badass. And the perfect Alec Lightwood. Oh, and Simon is pretty awesome too. Luke is also a badass.
Clary finds out she's half angel, Jace does things. Valentine wants the cup, Clary wants to save her mom. Magnus wants Alec. Alec has his own whole storyline that will give you feels and I am really bad a writing synopsises...
     

My Rating:

Bruh, I don't know how to rate a TV show... Adaption wise I rank it with... Hunger Games? Meaning it is awesome. They deviated from the books, of course, but the actors play their characters so well and, while I mean, parts can just be considered bad TV, I still really loved it.

Review:

So Shadowhunters ended it's first season like two weeks ago now because I was lazy and wrote this post but didn't finish it and actually post it when I meant to... I'm sure you've all heard things about it and most those things are probably along the lines of how bad the first couple episodes are.... And they are bad. But at some point, I ended up loving this show so much, and now I will tell you why.


Okay, so there's no denying it, the first 3 or so episodes of this show were horrible. There were too many cheesy lines, there was bad acting, there was so much going on that, even as someone who had read the first 4 books, I was confused and didn't know what exactly was happening. It was just BAD.

BUT I stuck it out. For two reasons: Malec, who's been an OTP for me since before I knew what an OTP was. And Matthew Daddario. Because he makes the perfect Alec.

Look at his face:

And a few more episodes in (I want to say around 4 but 5 is the first I actually really enjoyed) it started getting BETTER. And after it started getting better, it pretty much to continued to improve with every episode.


(source)
*cue excited screaming*

After Magnus came into the show, after it started to hit its stride and stop the constant confusing info dumping, I REALLY REALLY started to like it. First of all, I was invested by then and mildly (read: completely) obsessed with Alec and Magnus and like I'd watch a million seasons of a horrible show just to get to see Malec on screen, so take this with a grain of salt. BUT I really started loving the show.


There were things they changed, things I know pissed off a lot of people but I mean, with a few exceptions, a lot of the changes weren't that big of a deal. Yes, they added stuff but it pretty much still followed the ARC of City Of Bones, it just took a few different roads to get there. There were even things that pissed me off (no spoilers but if you've watched it's the big thing with Alec) but I got over it quickly because they actually did such a good job with everything. There were also things they moved up, (ie: Simon becoming a vampire) but again I was fine with that! And it made things more interesting.


About halfway through the season I started (slowly) rereading the books. I've reread the first three now and I have to give the show props. The biggest thing they did with changing things was to give all these amazing side characters, that are kind of pushed to the background and ignored in the books, actual lives and stories. Alec and Magnus and Izzy and Simon (and even a few others) are just as important in the show as Jace and Clary, whereas the books should literally be called the Clary and Jace show. That's not to say the show's better than the books just that I found I could get into the characters and the story a lot more with the show actually than the books.


(source)

*shocked silence*

Let's talk acting and characters: Okay, there's no denying again that some of the acting wasn't great. I'd say that continues for a good five or six episodes depending on which character/actor you're talking about. My biggest concern was Clary. First of all, I LOVED Lily Collins in the City Of Bones movie, secondly...in the promos and everything...well it didn't look like Kat McNamara was...the best choice? I don't want to be rude... BUT anyway, by the sixth episode or so I was sold on her. First of all, once she'd settled into the character and everything, her acting greatly improved. She still had some really crappy lines that came off so badly in the later episodes and it was a little too dramatic sometimes, but I could finally see her as Clary and (here's the big thing) she actually made me LIKE Clary. I don't like Clary in the books, okay? She's whiny. She doesn't do a whole lot. She's too...Bella Swan-like for me. But show Clary? She's a badass and I love her. Kat still wasn't the ~best~ actress but I loved Clary so I have to give props for that.

Izzy and Simon. There's no denying that Emeraude Toubia is the best Izzy to ever Izzy. She was pretty much perfect from the start and, just in general, I loved how they did Izzy in the show. One big thing I think is that they aged all the characters, normally I'm not okay with this but here it made them all so much more mature and was done perfectly. Izzy and Clary didn't hate each other, Izzy was still badass and owned her amazing clothes and her attitude but was more mature at the same time. Alberto Rosende as Simon...I feel like I'm going to say I have a lot of favorites but he's one of them. At first, I liked Simon, I liked Alberto as him but the thing is, I've never super loved Simon. I've mostly only ever felt sorry for him. But again, once the show hit its stride and Alberto got to show how amazing he is I started loving Simon so much.

I'm glossing over Jace because I don't have much to say. Again, I think the acting got better and I actually found I wanted to kill Jace in the show less and less as it progressed but I'm not a Jace fan in general... I will say, I loved how Dominic played the scenes with Alec. They were some of the most emotional and I had all the feels.

Luke and Raphael were amazing! I want more of them! Especially Raphael because Luke was in nearly every episode and Raphael wasn't.  I was a little confused at the decision to make Luke a cop but it worked so I'm not gonna complain. I loved the way the relationship between Luke and Clary was done. I loved the moments of Simon and Luke. And Simon and Raphael and I was sucked into the fandom because of this show and made to ship Simon and Raphael even though it will literally never be a thing...

And now, most importantly. You have Harry Shum Jr and Matthew Daddario. *sigh* I was sold on Alec literally right away. During the previews, and even during the first episode where I was literally bad mouthing every single thing happening, I still loved Alec. Alec and Magnus, and Malec in general, were all handled so well. There was so much more of all of it in the show than pretty much all three books combined? Alec wasn't just a side character, he had his own storyline. And Magnus had quite a few scenes. And Malec is already a thing in the show but it's built upon fairly slowly and perfectly. It was lovely and painful. And Harry is literally the perfect Magnus and Matthew is literally the perfect Alec and yes. That's really the only reason you need to watch this show. Okay?

....

Okay????

Downsides:

Again, there's no denying that sometimes the show was just downright bad. There were less bad moments by the end of the season but there were always bits of duologue that were just so bad. With a few exceptions, I never felt much for Jace. Somethings were never really explained, like you were just supposed to figure it out for yourself. Clary...I liked her better after the first few episodes but sometimes she was just SO DRAMATIC. Do not even get me started on the demons and forsaken....they looked sooo bad.

My biggest "downside" was that sometimes the plot and arc of the show in general didn't flow very well... It was nearly impossible to figure out how much time had passed, cause you assume not much, like a couple weeks maybe by the end of the season, but then there'd be something, someone would say something or whatever, that would make you feel like more time had passed? I don't know. Some of the episodes didn't really flow together very well is all.

BUT it was the first season and it really got better after the first few episodes and most the acting was on point (especially when it came to Matt and Harry) and I really think it's worth watching, especially for fans of the books but go in knowing things happen differently, okay? And again, the only reason you need to watch it really, is Malec. Just trust me. MALEC.


Have you watched Shadowhunters? Are you interested in watching it? Anyone want to fangirl over Malec for a bit with me???? What have you all been watching recently?

SST Unicorn Tracks GIVEAWAY!


25231892UNICORN TRACKS
by Julia Ember
Release date: April 21st 2016

Goodreads Link

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.
Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study Unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

Amazon / B&N


GIVEAWAY



 


About the author:
Originally from the Windy City, Julia Ember now resides in Sunny Scotland where she learned to enjoy both haggis and black pudding. She spends her days working as a professional Book Nerd for a large book wholesaler, and her nights writing YA Romantic Fantasy novels.  She also spends an inordinate amount of time managing her growing city-based menagerie of pets with Harry Potter themed names. Presently, she is the haggard slave Sirius Black and Luna Lovegood the cats and Bellatrix Le Snake. She also owns a freakishly adorable cob pony called Africa.

A world traveller since childhood, Julia has now visited over 60 countries. Her travels inspire the fictional worlds she writes about and she populates those worlds with magic and monsters.





Monday, April 4, 2016

#Review: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima



23253083Flamecaster
by Cinda Williams Chima
Release date:  April 19th 2016
Format: eARC
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Goodreads Link

The first in a thrilling new four-book fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima, set in the same world as her beloved Seven Realms series, a generation later
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it? 
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.
Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.
*I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss to review honestly

My Rating:


Review:

So, confession: I am like the biggest fan of this author. She is in my top three all time favorite authors and I've read everything she's written. I have literally never been so excited to get an ARC and as soon as I was approved, I read it. And.... I LOVED it.

Flamecaster is the first in the Shattered Realms series, which is sequel series/continuation/companion series to the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. It takes place a generation after Seven Realms with a new cast of characters that are slightly reminiscent to the first series, and a whole new world of trouble. First, let me say that I highly recommend this book whether you've read Seven Realms or not, I think any lover of fantasy would love it. However if you've read Seven Realms you'll love it even more. It's not a requirement, the book takes place a generation after Seven Realms and it easily stands on its own, but I mean, Seven Realms is awesome so why wouldn't you read it?

Ash, a wizard that specializes in healing, runs away to Oden's Ford (the giant school for warriors/wizards/and others) after his father is killed right in front of him and he can do nothing. Ash's family is slowly being killed by the King Of Arden and Ash wants nothing more than revenge.
Jenna is a slave, essentially. Living in Delphi, Jenna's worked in the mines since she was young. With a magemark on the back of her neck, she's sure she's destined for great things. The King or Arden won't rest until he takes over the Fells, and kills the whole Gray Wolf line but Ash and Jenna both intend to kill him before he gets that chance.

Basically, this is young adult high fantasy at it's best. Lots of character development, lots of world building and action. And if you haven't read Seven Realms yet go, read it now. 

I loved this book! There's the action and character development and the writing I've loved since I first read this author's work. And why aren't these books more popular? Seriously, if you like YA fantasy read all the books!

A few of my favorite things:

Characters: I loved all the characters so much. And there was quite a bit of mystery surrounding some of them. Ash is awesome, he's a healer meaning he stands on the thin line between life and death (good and evil) and I loved how the author showed that. For Seven Realms fans, he's not quite Cuffs level of awesome yet but close.

Jenna was also awesome! She's not your typical badass female character but she's still badass. Lia is very mysterious, saving Ash from assassination at Oden's Ford she pops in and out and you don't really know what's with her until the end and then it's...GAH! Destin - who works for the King of Arden -is another great but confusing/mysterious character, I still don't know what is going on with him but I love it!

Basically all the characters are multi-faceted and awesome.

The writing: I've mentioned that I think this author is amazing, yes? The book is like 550 pages but it doesn't feel like it's that long. It's fast paced and gripping and the writing is amazing and, can I fangirl for a bit please?

The plot/world: There is so much going on in this book. I do recommend you read Seven Realms first but it's not completely necessary. However, you might understand things a bit better if you do. Most of this book takes place in Arden, where mages are considered demons, priests drain them of their blood (which they drink) to save them before killing them. But the King of Arden also, collars mages to use in his war. Basically, he doesn't believe in magic, he believes in one god and wants to concur the rest of the Seven Realms and force them to believe the same thing. Which I loved. It's such an interesting part of the plot and world. You get to see a different side of the Seven Realms that you didn't really see a ton of in the first series which is really cool even if I miss the Fells. Again, the plot was very fast paced and there's so much going on that I just want to find what it all is? Like, things happen, and since it's the first book they aren't resolved and you don't really understand some of it and I WANT TO so badly.

A few of my not so favorite things:

- There's one thing and I have to mention it because it makes me so sad... This book... *Sob* has INSTA LOVE! Nooooo! It's true. It's not the worst case I've seen but it's there.  *Sobbing* I thought I saw a nice slow romance building and then it struck. It's not enough to change my feelings on the rest of the book and, if I know this author, it will be worth it in the following books, but I was sad. Mainly because I barely had time to start shipping the ship when it struck. =(

- This isn't really a negative but some parts were a bit slow but not once was I bored or did I lose interest because the writing was so gripping.


Overall: I highly recommend this book whether you've read Seven Realms or not. There's FEELS, shipping, lots of character development, some mystery, and phenomenal writing. It's very much the first in a series, meaning at parts it's a little slow and it's a lot of set up but it pays off in the end and, if I know this author's writing, it will pay off even more so in future books.

So yes. Go read Seven Realms right this minute so you are prepared for this phenomenal book!

Would I Recommend This? YEEEESSSSS.
Who To? ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE FANTASY.
Will I read more from this author(or series)? I cannot take this seriously, OF COURSE! <3