Caution: This review may be snarky, though it does not have language. It also may contain spoilers. If you have not read These Hollow Vows, please don’t read this. If you do still wish to read it, please read it at your own risk.
Release date: 19 July 2022
Rating: 2/5 scratch my eyeballs out, that was droll and boring
Book Boxes: None for the monthly pick; FairyLoot did a special edition
Synopsis: Brie finds herself caught between two princes and two destinies while the future of the fae realm hangs in the balance.
After Abriella's sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn't get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making - loving two princes and trusting neither - things are not quite as clear as she once thought.
As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn't even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don't lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm - whether she likes it or not.
Basically, this book is a Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses baby. The two series had two book babies and they are the two books in this duology. And for the love of books, it’s drier than a popcorn fart in a whirlwind. The sequel suffers terribly from filling plot holes retroactively and the pacing was incredibly inconsistent. Though I did not like the first book very well, I did find the last parts of it intriguing and entertaining, though that should have been the case with the whole book instead of the last parts. Sigh.
For starters, I will point out the things I did like. I liked the little girl who could pop in and out of dreams and talk to Brie. She was cute, and I wish she had been more utilized. She stole the scenes she was in and showed a considerable amount of courage and fortitude for a little one. Additionally, I loved the Wild Fae King and the lands and the glimpses of the fae history we get from Brie’s extended time in his court. What I liked just about ends there. On to the rest.
To begin the snark, the pacing in this book was inconsistent, and by that I mean the plot did not happen until the last 30% or so of the book. This same pacing issue occurred in the first book as well, though not to this extent. Then the magical bloodline came in to the plot, pulled out of thin air, and the rest was a blur. I had to rewind my audiobook several times because I missed the clipped transitions from one time and place to another. The initial setting mainly takes place in the Wild Fae lands and then there are a few scenes in the woods and water. The denouement takes about a chapter. The conflict resolution about a couple of pages. I feel like this whole duology could have been one book. It would have been fast-paced, exciting, engaging, and not full of bloated filler description and dialogue about Brie whining and Finn pining and Ronan making sad faces and throwing hurt feelings down a bond.
I also do not appreciate how entirely derivative the books are of other notable fae books. I think perhaps the difficulty I had in getting through the story was that it was essentially a rehash of stories I had already read. Several times. The love triangle among a light court fae “male” and a dark court fae “male” and a human girl (yes, girl—the main character is underaged) who is turned into an immortal fae. The human girl turned immortal fae is put in an iron box and held prisoner. Bonds. Tethers. Darkness and starlight. I could go on with the parallels, but it’ll just bore folks. I find it hard to believe that so many talented writers have a hard time getting agents and book deals when books so similar to other ones already published keep getting released. I digress.
I feel like I keep clanging symbols and beating drums with this one, but this is classified as YA, but it is not YA. To be very blunt, a very old fae male and an underage (or barely of age) girl have sex in this. Twice. This is not an old issue with me or many others, and I feel like it could be resolved simply by just publishing these books as new adult or adult.
I could end with a compromising “I really wanted to like this book” and “my hopes were so high for this one,” but I’ve been reading so long and reviewing so much that I feel like that’s a compromise. I read a book synopsis that promises one story and gives me another—remarkably similar to one I’ve already purchased and read—and I just won’t write that anymore. My expectations weren’t very high for this one; I didn’t have any expectations, really, but I feel like my time was wasted. I could have been reading another book that I hadn’t read before. And I didn’t get it with this one.
Overall, 2 stars, and only because I give one star ratings to books I have finished and have heinously offensive stuff in them that make me cringe. This was just boring. And inappropriate for the age level to which it’s marketed.