The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden


“You are immortal, and perhaps I seem small to you,” she said at last fiercely. “But my life is not your game.”

Title: The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2)

Author: Katherine Arden

Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

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  1. The Bear and the Nightingale  ★★★★★

The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books so of course, I was beyond excited to reread The Girl in the Tower. If Bear and the Nightingale is a breathtaking fairy tale, than The Girl in the Tower is an epic adventure. 

The Girl in the Tower picks up right where The Bear and the Nightingale ended. Vasya needs to make a choice: go to the convent or marry. But for Vasya, she chooses a third option: travel the world with Solovey. But it’s hard to travel as an unmarried female, so Vasya travels disguised as a boy. Although Vasya enjoys the freedom, she is still grieving the loss of her father. It is hard to travel alone and soon Vasya runs into people who need her help. Unable to do anything but help others in need, Vasya is once again put back into society. 

Vasya then crosses paths with her older brother Sasha, who had become a monk and her sister Olga, who has married a prince and has a family of her own. Meeting her siblings unexpectedly forces Vasya to keep up the disguise of being a boy. This creates some tension for Vasya and her older siblings who have also not seen her in over 10 years.

Most of this story takes place in Moscow and it is very much different from the life Vasya is used to in the wilderness of Northern Russia. The kind creatures she has been so used to are powerless in the more modern world of Moscow. Vaysa has yet to find out what her disguise means for her siblings and their lives in Moscow. Betrayal is coming and Vasya will soon discover the city is not at all as it seems.

“I did not know I was lonely, she thought, until I was no longer alone.”

Once again I found myself really connected to the story because of three things: the characters arcs, the setting and the overall themes of the story.

This series has some of the best characters, I’ve ever read.  While Bear and the Nightingale had Vasya growing physically, Girl in the Tower has Vasya growing emotionally. I think her growth as a character really shined in this sequel. We see Vasya struggle with her loneliness, her family and a new city. She discovers her lies and half-truths have real consequences to her, her family and for Moscow.

But it’s not just Vasya, Katherine Arden is able to create a beautiful world filled with some of the most interesting characters. Not a single character is wasted in terms of development. We get more frost demon, Morozko!! With his much bigger role, Morozko was able to give us great balance to Vasya’s wildfire spirit. We learn more about him and his motives for always coming to Vasya’s aid. 

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen.”

It’s been two months since I read this last, and I already want to read it again. The setting for this sequel has changed a little, with us being in Moscow. But it’s still just as atmospheric. You feel how old and new Moscow is to Vasya. Rich and descriptive, you will think you are actually transported into the world Katherine Arden has created.

“Do you think that is all I want, in all my life— a royal dowry, and a man to force his children into me”

The Themes!!! Vasya is the biggest feminist, ahead of her time.  She has never tried to follow social norms and her clear want for freedom is so prevalent in Girl in the Tower. This whole series is about a girl who refuses to conform to gender roles and just wants to travel. I mean what an icon. She knew traveling would be hard for a women, so she disguises herself as a boy. She risked her life to save other girls who had been kidnapped. Vasilisa Petrovna’s entire character is wrapped around this theme of gender roles and social norms. It’s what makes her a great protagonist. She’s independent, strong-willed. She’s not afraid to fail and she does fail a lot in this book. She knows the risks of being unwed, but it’s worth it to her to find her own happiness.

“A woman married. Or she became a nun. Or she died. That was what being a women meant. What then, was she?”

Her step-mother acted as a foil for Vasya’s attitude towards magic and tradition. But in this sequel, it’s her sister who acts as the foil. The opposites of having a family vs wanting to be free. While Olga misses some of her freedoms, she does understand her sense of duty to her family and her role as a woman. Whereas, Vasya clearly wants to be free of the burdens of being married. I absolutely love the way Arden uniquely, creates tension between the sisters centered on this plot device. Honestly, I could talk about Vasya until I’m blue in the face.

This series, this book, these characters mean everything to me. If there’s one series I wish I could reread over again for the first time, it’s this one. Do yourself some self-care and pick up this book. Come fall in love with a frost demon, a talking horse, and a girl who just wants freedom.

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Anticipated reads of 2019: January- April

Hello! Just a few weeks left of December and 2018 so I thought it would be a good time to look ahead to 2019 and some of my most anticipated reads. I am so ready for my heart to be put through the wringer with some of these books. Click each title to find its Goodreads page and I’ll be listing my thoughts on each book as well 🙂

JANUARY

Title: The Gilded Wolves

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: January 15, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Thoughts: “It’s heist day” I think Roshani has some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to finally devour this book. This cover is stunning. 

Title: White Stag

Author: Kara Barbieri

Publication Date: January 8, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Thoughts:  “young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human” SIGN ME UP! This sounds like the perfect winter read.

Title: Dragon Pearl

Author: Yoon Ha Lee

Publication Date: January 15, 2018 by Rick Riordan Presents

Thoughts: I loved Aru, and Storm Runner. So I’m super pumped for Dragon Pearl. There’s Fox spirits and Korean Mythology. 

FEBRUARY

Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)

Author: Laura Sebastian

Publication Date: February 5, 2018 by Delacorte Press

Thoughts: Not going to lie. I read Ash Princess in like October 2017. So I don’t really remember all that happened, but I do remember how intense the ending was. So I guess I need to reread it before Lady Smoke comes out. 

Title: Courting Darkness 

Author: Robin Lafevers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019 by HMH books for Young Readers

Thoughts: I really liked Grave Mercy. Yes I know I need to read the second and third. But I can’t wait for this new Duology. Let me read all the books about assassin nuns. 

Title: Crown of Feathers

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Publication Date: February 12, 2019 by Simon Pulse

Thoughts: This cover, though. A girl disguised as a boy while riding a Phoenix. I’m so in. This book has been getting a lot of buzz. So I’m really hoping I enjoy it. 

MARCH

Title: The Fever King 

Author: Victoria Lee

Publication Date: March 1, 2019 by Skyscape

Thoughts: This cover is so pretty I could cry. This is one of my top anticiapated books. Is it gay? Political? I freaking hope so.

Title: Once and Future

Author: Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Publication Date: March 5, 2019 by Little, Brown and Company

Thoughts: A genderbent Arthurian tale. This cover. Amy Rose Capetta. Do I need to say more?

Title: The Waking Forest

Author: Alyssa Wees

Publication Date: March 12, 2019 by Delacorte Press

Thoughts: This book sounds so wonderfully creepy. It just sounds like Labyrinth and I’m ready. A creepy fairy tale is all I want to read in 2019.

APRIL

Title: The Raven’s Tale

Author: Cat Winters

Publication Date: April 16, 2019 by Amulet Books

Thoughts: I.Love.Edgar. Allen. Poe. So a retelling about Poe is always on my list of books I need to read. Poe and his muse. PLUS CAT FREAKING WINTERS!!! Sold.

Title: The Devouring Gray

Author: Christine Lynn Herman

Publication Date: April 2, 2019 by Disney- Hyperion

Thoughts: This cover is one of the spookiest things I’ve ever seen. Like the temporary cover did not mentally prepare me for this. Stranger Things meets the Raven Cycle. Is there anything else we need in this world?

Title: King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2)

Author: Amanda Foody

Publication Date: April 30, 2019 by Inkyard Press

Thoughts: Ace of Shades is a book that was iffy for me until the very end when all the stuff happened. So now I’m pumped for King of Fools because there’s so many questions I have.


Well there we have it! You notice some books missing but this was for books I have yet to read. My real anticipated list from Jan-Apr has quite a lot of books on them so I’m going to be very busy the first half of the year and I’m excited! What are some books you can’t wait to read in 2019? 

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Top 10 Albums of 2018

Happy Thursday friends! Quick update on life. Just got back from my mini vacation to NYC for Cassandra Clare’s signing of Queen of Air and Darkness. It was sooo much fun and super fun to get away to one of my favorite cities. 

Today’s list is my favorite albums of 2018. I live and breathe music and 2018 was the year of some of the best albums I’ve seen in a long time. I found new bands to fall in love with, old favorites come back and surprise me. Just a fantastic year of music! Now to the list……..


Image result for delta mumford and sons

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 10. Delta by Mumford and Sons

Honestly, it’s probably going to be way higher than this but the album came out a little later and I’m still listening to it. “Pictures of You” is my favorite currently. But damn, did I miss Mumford and Sons and their music.  

Image result for pray for the wicked

9. Pray for the Wicked by Panic! at the Disco

I’m still really torn on whether I like this album or not. On one hand, “Overpass” is my favorite song on the album and I think it’s fantastic. However, the tone of the album is strange to me. Like we get it, Brenden, you’re the last of the OG members still standing. We got it. I do really enjoy listening to some of these songs. Just sometimes I get the thoughts, and I don’t know if I love it or not. But it’s still on the list because I was dying for this album to be released. haha.

Image result for electric light james bay

8. Electric Light by James Bay

I really enjoyed Bay’s first album and thought it was a cute coffee shop soundtrack, but man is this album wonderful. What I love is this is clearly the James Bay we are supposed to see and I love it. Electric Light never fails to bring a smile to my face. The lead guitar in “Pink Lemonade” is everything the world needs right now. 

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7. Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer

Another album where the artists took the time to fully develop into what they truly want. I remember them touring with One Direction and look at them now. I love how they are finally a rock band. This is so dark and edgy, and my alternative rock heart really loves this album. “Babylon” is my fave, Callum’s voice is important to me. lol

Image result for a brief inquiry into online relationships album cover

6.  A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships by The 1975

You’re probably thinking “Mel, why are Mumford and Sons number 10 and The 1975 number 6 if that album came out like a week ago?” Well, my friends, I’ve been waiting for this album for a very long time now. Pretty much since the last album came out and I ADORE The 1975. This was everything I could have hoped it would be and more. “Mine” has been on repeat since it came out. One of the top artists I would like to see live (soon)

Image result for everything is love

5. Everything is Love The Carters

🙌🏾 We are not worthy! I freaking love Beyonce. A lot. Have since I was a child and this album is great. Beyonce’s range is one of the world’s hidden treasures. She’s only 37 years old!?!? “APESHIT” music video is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. 

Image result for my dear melancholy

4. My Dear Melancholy EP– The Weeknd

This album was so painful when it first came out. I was going through my own things, and I just felt what Abel was clearly trying to say with this EP. It’s raw and completely different in tone from Starboy and even Beauty Behind the Madness. This EP gave me some serious Kiss Land vibes. I’ll listen to anything Abel gives me. 

Image result for good thing leon bridges

3. Good Thing by Leon Bridges

*heart eyes* This album is a love song to the 70s and it’s perfect to me. I think Leon Bridges is one of the most underrated singers. Coming Home was great, but I really thought this sophomore album showcases Bridges’s range a little more clearly. From the deep soulful ballad of “Georgia to Texas” (my favorite song) to the upbeat dance of  “If It Feels Good (Then it Must Be), Leon Bridges shows that he’s ready to tackle it all. I could talk about him forever.  

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Image result for dirty computer

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

Image result for tranquility base hotel and casino

Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino by Arctic Monkeys


Image result for love yourself tear

2. Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer by BTS

There are probably a bunch of people who are hella surprised this isn’t my number 1. But as much as I love BTS, I had to think objectively.  But Because these both came out in 2018, I combined them. I don’t know what to say about them without gushing too much because I absolutely love the message the Love Yourself series is giving, so I’ll just tell you my 2 top songs from each album. From Tear, I love “So What” and “Outro: Tear” and from Answer, I love “Singularity” and “Serendipity” bonus is also “Trivia: Seesaw” I’m excited to see what these guys will do in 2019!

And finally, number 1 album of 2018 is…………..

Image result for black panther album

1. Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar and various others

THIS ALBUM IS A MASTERPIECE! I remember being in Arizona when it was first announced that this album was being produced by Kendrick Lamar. This album as a whole is simply unbelievable. It features names we’ve heard and many we’ve haven’t. An underground rap album meets mainstream truly emphasizes the whole point of Black Panther. There are songs that reflect T’Challa as well as Killmonger. This is easily one of my forever favorite albums. 


Well, there it is, friends! My Top 10 list for my favorite albums of 2018. As you can see I listen to a wide range of music. What are some of your favorite albums? Do we have any matches? Happy Thursday!💜 

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December TBR and updates!

Hello Friends! The end of 2018 is upon us. Did anyone feel like this year was ridiculously long? But welcome to December and it’s my Birthday month. Every year I say I’m going to get into the Christmas spirit and then I don’t. BUT…. This is going to be the year, finally! I already helped someone decorate a real Christmas tree which was cool because I’ve never had one a real one before. To celebrate my Birthmas I’m going to be posting my review of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. But before the 23rd I’ll doing cool, end of the year Top 10s along with all the books I’ve read recently and just never got around to posting a review. It’s going to be a busy month here but I’m really excited!


This month I can’t wait to read some of these books! Winter reads for the Win! These are the 7 books I plan on reading this month!

Echo North Fire and Heist White Stag (Permafrost, #1)

 Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3)  The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)  Circle of Shadows (Circle of Shadows, #1) The Priory of the Orange Tree

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst   Publication Date: December 4, 2018

White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare Publication Date: December 4, 2018

My most anticipated book of the month. Tomorrow, my friends and I are going up to NYC for her signing on Tuesday. I’m soooo excited.

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi Publication Date: January 15,2019

Circle of Shadows (Circle of Shadows #1) by Evelyn Skye  Publication Date: January 22, 2019

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon Publication Date: February 26, 2019

 

 

I hope everyone has a beautiful December and happy reading!💜💜

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T10T: Platonic Relationships

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Happy Tuesday!!! This top 10 post is so much fun because I am a HUGE fan of platonic relationships in entertainment. And if it’s done right, man, that is my jam. This list is a few books and TV and movies. This isn’t in order really except for number 1 hahaha.

1. Harry and Hermione (Harry Potter)

Are we surprised by my number 1? Seriously the biggest disappointment was when JKR said after the books were all done that she thought Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. NOOOOOOOO. Their friendship was the best thing in the books and in the movies.  Truly they were each other’s best friend and I adored them so much. Seriously, this scene is means the world to me because it really shows how much they truly care for each other even during some rough times.

2. Shawn and Gus (Psych)

Psych is one of my favorite shows ever! And the friendship between Shawn and Gus is fantastic. Friends since childhood they are there for each other through everything. Gus literally pushes his full-time job to the side to start a fake detective agency with his best friend. They have so many inside jokes its fantastic. My sister and I quote them all the time.

3. Clark and Chloe (Smallville)

Okay, this is based on let’s say season 3 until the end. You gotta wait until after Chloe’s crush on Clark fades and then they are literally the best of friends. Clark and Chloe are the only two people who stayed on the show for all 10 seasons and their friendship shows it. Chloe was my favorite character by the end and I think her faith in Clark really makes her character great.

4. Donna and the 10th Doctor (Doctor Who)

I’m a 10 girl. I loved Rose, felt bad for Martha since they messed her character up, but DONNA NOBLE IS EVERYTHING GOOD. Season 4 is really the first season of NEW WHO without a companion falling in love with the Doctor. Donna and 10 are just best mates and it made Season 4 fun and entertaining. No jealousy, no unrequited love, just two friends traveling through time and space. I wish we could go back to this era TBH.

5. Veronica and Wallace (Veronica Mars)

Veronica Mars is life. Veronica Mars was like the first show I religiously watched where the 2 main characters never even think about turning their friendship into a romance. From the very beginning, Veronica and Wallace were best friends and that’s it. Wallace knew the reputation of Veronica and still decided to befriend her even though he was the new kid. Ride or dies right here.

6. Jace and Alec (The Mortal Instruments)

I’ll even include the show Shadowhunters in this. Yeah, Alec sorta had a crush on Jace but he was confused and didn’t really know if he was or not. Jace never judged Alec for being gay and didn’t mind that he had a crush on him. Instead, they became close friends after it. Parabati through thick and thin.

7. Matt Murdock and Franklin “Foggy” Nelson (Daredevil)

Friends since college, Matt and Foggy are so cute in flashback episodes. They risk everything when they decide to open up their own law firm instead of working at a big firm with way more money. I think they become way closer friends after Foggy finds out Matt is Daredevil.

8. Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)

THIS SHOW! That episode when Ron goes over all the really thoughtful gifts Leslie gave him over the years. Even though Ron says he doesn’t like friends, Ron adores Leslie. They always had each other’s back and it was super cool how supportive Ron was of Leslie running for city council.

9.  Garcia and Morgan (Criminal Minds)

The ship that never sailed. Yeah, I wanted them to start dating, but then the show progressed even more and I realized they were much better as friends. And they really were the best of friends. Their banter made every episode so funny even though the show was about serial killers.

10.  The Blackthorn siblings (The Dark Artifices)

Listen, I’m almost done Lady Midnight. But I adore the Blackthorn children. They are so close and protective of each other. For a family that went through so much and have their older brother basically raise them, they are so strong. I really love Ty.


 

Okay, that’s the list! Do you have any favorite friendships? Let me know below. I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday. I’m off to hopefully finish Lady Midnight and start Lord of Shadows…. 7 days until Queen of Air and Darkness and I’m beyond excited.

 

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Movie Reviews: Robin Hood, Burn the Stage: the movie, Fantastic Beasts: TCOG

Hi Friends! I did a thing! I’m no longer allthebooksandpineapple. NOW I’m just BooksandPineapple. YAY 🙂 It’s not a big change. But I wanted it easier for people to find things. 

I hope everyone is having a fantastical Monday! This past week has been so busy, with Thanksgiving, my sister’s birthday and working all the days. One thing I did do in the past week is see 4 movies. Which might be a lot for some people, but I’m way behind on my movie list and it’s about to be Award season so I need to get it together. I thought it would be cool to give a quick review on all the movies I saw this week. Note: I saw Burn the Stage twice hahaha. So it’s really three different films, but 4 movies. These reviews will be pretty non-spoilerly, just my final thoughts.

 

Burn the Stage: the Movie

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I fell down the BTS hole and I’m perfectly fine living down here. I absolutely love BTS. I legit bought tickets for all three showings playing in my area. Alas, I couldn’t find coverage for my Saturday shift, so I only saw them twice. I cried,  I laughed, I sang along. I just really appreciate this group of guys. My friends think it’s hilarious how obsessed I am with them, but I’m living my best life honestly.

If you don’t know who they are, BTS is a KPop boy group that is taking over the world, and I’m not mad about it. Their music is so inspiring and wonderful. They promote self-care and love. Seriously, do yourself a favor a watch the speech they gave at the United Nations. Here.  *cries forever* I can’t believe these guys are in their 20s. Out here speaking like old men. So inspiring, I’m proud to be a fan of them. Seriously 10/10 would recommend listening to Love Yourself: Answer. 

100/10

PS if you love BTS we should be friends. 

 

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

 

I love Taron Egerton like a lot. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) is one of my favorite movies of 2014. Robin Hood is also one of my favorite stories. The Disney movie is cute, I adore Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the BBC show was great. I was always fascinated by Robin Hood and his story. Yeah, the history has been distorted throughout time, but oh well. I thought this movie was awesome. Yeah, it had some flaws, but I think Taron and Jamie were a great Robin and John.

A fresh new look on an old story that everyone knows. Darker, and an updated story made this very entertaining.  I thought the way they handled the corruption and greed was fantastic. I watched a lot of videos showcasing Taron’s archery training and it was so stunning to watch in the film. Yeah, some CGI made me laugh and I didn’t understand the costumes compared to the time period, but overall, I enjoyed the movie. I’d go see this again.

8/10 

 

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldImage result for fantastic beasts the crimes of grindelwald

I literally saved this one for last, because I’m still SALTY. Listen, I love Harry Potter. I have since I was a 8 years old. I’ve mentioned before that Harry Potter is my childhood. So yeah I was excited for these prequels when they were first announced. I thought Fantastic Beasts and where to find them was enjoyable.  Newt Scamander is an adorable dude who just wants to meet all the creatures. No, I didn’t like the ending. I don’t like Johnny Depp and I don’t understand for the life of me how you can go from Colin Farrell to Johnny Depp. Explain????

No, I don’t think Johnny Depp should have been Grindelwald. I didn’t like the justifications WB and JKR were trying to give us on why they kept him. But whatever, I was going to see it because it’s Harry Potter. So I saw it, with my best friend who also adores Harry Potter.  

TRASH! ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. What is Canon? Not this movie. I won’t spoiler this because some people actually really love this movie. But for me, it made me mad. There are already 7 books and 8 freaking movies. It is not hard to follow canon, it really isn’t. I’d excuse the prequels for wanting to try new stories if they didn’t try to do many surprises. The whole movie was trying so hard to make you go “Aha! I knew something was off” I didn’t, I was stressed. The movie didn’t even end and my friend and I already had our phones out trying to find the canon.

Yes, Crimes of Grindelwald had pretty cinematography, but I can’t ignore its blatant disregard for already established timelines. There was no wonder, not many fantastic beasts, too many people who I’m now supposed to know who they are and should care about. Crimes of Grindelwald was just a flashy 2-hour movie trying to justify JKR saying Dumbledore and Grindelwald were romantically involved. Seriously, get your shit together. I can’t believe there’s going to be like 5 movies. Sigh. Either give us the Mauraders or stop. This is ridiculous. 

My only hope is that Aquaman makes more money than this just so Amber Heard made more money than Johnny Depp. (I have low expectations for Aquaman, but I’m petty)

3/10

 

Do you see any of the movies above? What did you think of them? I’d love to know? I know there’s way more films I have to see, so this will probably be a new feature on here. AWARD SEASON IS ALMOST UPON US!!!! 

 

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Arc Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Something Dark and Holy, indeed. My friends, I hope you’re ready for April because Wicked Saints is ready to sweep you away. Are you ready to enter this dark, new world? Reminiscent of The Grisha Trilogy and Joan of Arc, Wicked Saints takes the reader on a journey where right and wrong aren’t always black and white. 

Happy Monday friends! I just got back from Yallfest last night and it was such a fantastic weekend! I’ll be sharing a recap of the weekend tomorrow.  But after this weekend I’m more excited to be sharing this review. This weekend I met a bunch a girls who all had Wicked Saints ARCs and I couldn’t help but fangirl over it with them. So this review is dedicated to my 5 new friends who let me  rave about this book while standing in line for an hour.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)

 

Title: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Ratings: ★★★★★

Release Date: April 2,2019

Preorder hereAmazon    Barnes and Noble      Book Depository

 

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Something Dark and Holy, indeed. My friends, I hope you’re ready for April because Wicked Saints is ready to sweep you away. Are you ready to enter this dark, new world? Reminiscent of The Grisha Trilogy and Joan of Arc, Wicked Saints takes the reader on a journey where right and wrong aren’t always black and white.

Trigger Warnings: Self Harm and Abuse are very much a part of the entire novel. The author has been very vocal about this but please stay safe everyone. You can read her review and explanation here.

“Intentions were not always kind nor just.”

Most clerics hear the voice of one god to grant them a particular power. Nadezhda Lapteva hears the whole pantheon of gods and they each give power as well as a divine calling. Nadya grew up understanding she was the last cleric and her will was the gods’ will. Her country is at war with the neighboring country, a country her religion calls “heretics”. People who have shunned the gods and practice their own form of magic, blood mages.
When Serefin, the high prince and a dangerous blood mage, attacks her monastery, Nadya is forced to flee her home to fulfill her divine calling. While on the run from the enemy, she finds a group of so-called rebels. These people have decided not to choose a side but would still like for the war to be over. Their leader, Malachiaz, convinces Nadya to go against the god’s wishes and infiltrate the enemy from within the palace. This begins Nadya’s journey into enemy territory while not know who she can trust.
The magic system was one of the best things I’ve ever read. This is a big part of the plot and it was so cool to see. Clerics vs. the Blood Mages; two sides of the same coin. Both sides of the war believed they were right and the other side were the heretics. I definitely questioned both sides multiple times. (I was raised Catholic and I know who Joan of Arc is as well as the idea of a holy war. So for me, I think it added a lot to the plot.)
This story is told in dual POV. While I enjoyed Serefin’s character development I am more excited to see where he will be in the next book. They left it so open-ended, I think he’s going to be a huge part of this overall story. Nadya is my girl. Her character development was amazingly on point. Who she was at the beginning is not how she ended up by the ending.

“We’re all monsters, Nadya.” Malachiasz said, his voice gaining a few tangled chords of chaos. “Some of us just hide it better than others.”

The ROMANCE!!!!! The perfect ship. The optimist vs. pragmatist. Light vs. Darkness. I can’t help but think of Alina/The Darkling from Grisha and Damon/Elena from TVD. Morozko from The Winterwitch Trilogy.

Duncan’s writing gives off the best medieval vibes. Nadya has strong characteristics to Joan of Arc and other medieval martyrs. The story was so intriguing to read. Betrayal and the blurred line between faith and heresy makes Wicked Saints a perfect story for fans of Grey areas. Raw imaginary make this an extremely easy and fast read. This is a one of a kind story that takes the reader on a journey through medieval cathedrals and ruins of a war-torn country.

I think I lot of people will fall in love with Wicked Saints come April. I quick-paced book sure to thrill any fan of dark fantasy YA. Be sure to keep Wicked Saints in your sights in April 2019!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

 

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