**I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.**
I stumbled upon Becky Allen’s first book in this duology, Bound by Blood and Sand, last year and fell madly in love with Jae and her quest. The underlying plot (oppressed people versus the upper class with power) is not original, but the reason for it certainly was. I was thrilled when the publisher asked me to review the second book and host a giveaway. So prepare yourselves, you lucky readers, for a glowing review and a giveaway for both books! WOO! Now first… the review. 😉
This book picks up right after the first book ends. Jae and Elan are on a quest to free the Closest. Jae has recently freed herself from the dreaded Closest curse and knows in her heart of hearts she can free everyone else. Their quest is dangerous but necessary. Along the way, new characters are introduced that will change the course of the this battle in ways nobody could see coming.
The one thing that stood out the most to me was Jae. Her character was complex, well developed, and real. She felt real, anyways. I was in constant awe of her strength, determination, and selflessness. Jae was always the first to run into battle or give up her meal so someone else would not go hungry. She was never sacrificed to show she was better because she was a mage, it was always for the good of someone else. She knew better than anyone what it was like to not have anything and she never wanted anyone else to go through that. That was so refreshing to read! It really made me admire her even more. In a way, it made me want to be more like her. I also really enjoyed how there was an attraction between Jae and Elan but it was not the focus of the story. Whatever was going on between those two was a side story and a slow burn. Elan had one of the best character arcs I’ve read in awhile. From where he started this series to where he ended was brilliant to see. I’m thrilled I was a part of his change. ‘
There are a host of new characters introduced in this story but all necessary. I won’t give away who they are and what position they hold as you’ll need to get the book to find out for yourself. 😉 What I can tell you is that you should not trust what every says and don’t always believe what you read. Everyone is trying to either save themselves or protect someone else.
The plot was a non-stop action packed ride! Allen started the action right out of the gate and never let up until the very end. She did a wonderful job of keeping the reader (me) in this world she created. The way Jae weaved her magic and how she was able to summon it was so well done. I’m not a big super huge high fantasy reader and I don’t feel this was a high fantasy read. It was just enough fantasy and just enough of everything else to be the perfect balance. It was not over complicated and I liked that. No love triangles (WOO!), no instalove, no confusing names for people/places/things that caused me to stumble every time it was mentioned. Like the last bowl of porridge for Goldilocks, it was just right.
I cannot and will not stop gushing about this book! It was the ending that I hoped for. It was so well done and nothing is left to question. Allen did a wonderful job of putting everything in its place and that made me happy.
I want everyone to read this duology so the publisher has offered a copy of both books to one lucky winner! Below is the Rafflecopter giveaway (US only, sorry!). Please enter and add this to your TBR!