Ravenspire #2. Author: C.J. Redwine.
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.
So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.
But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul. (Published Summary)
First, I should note that this is a stand-alone book, even though technically in a series; it’s just in the same world-ish. I’ve actually read the first book, The Shadow Queen, and I still didn’t realize this was related/by the same author until I saw that on Goodreads. (Also, I liked this rather better than The Shadow Queen. )
I liked it! It wasn’t, like, groundbreaking or stunning. Just a fun story. Ari’s action-taking is refreshing. She doesn’t sit around and bemoan her problems and complaining about being a princess; there’s a problem, someone out to get her brother, and she does something about it. The romance between her and Sebastian was too insta-love-y for my taste, especially since Sebastian gets only a cursory fleshing out – but unlike many romances, it wasn’t too obtrusive on the plot line.
And I really, really love proper fae appearances. Dangerous, gorgeous, completely untrustworthy. Rule-bound but chaotic. Real fae make wonderful villains, and the wish-granter was almost everything you could want. He wasn’t as three-d as some, but I’m willing to excuse that because part of the fae chaotic evil/neutral personality is that they don’t need half as much backstory or reasons as other characters.
Finally, the passing fairy-tale references were fun. Especially Hansel and Gretel (minor spoiler alert); the magical-beast-handlers played a very minor part but I wholly approved of them.
Sexual Content: Some kissing.
Language: 7 derogatory terms.
Violence: Royal family dies of illness caused by fae. Fairy steals a woman’s soul: magical incantation recited, a white-light-thing is drawn from the person and into his bottle, and the person’s body collapses. This process is repeated a couple of times through the book, and once en mass. One character punches another in the face. Ruffians try to tie up and drag off two girls, who fight back and escape. One character stabs another in the stomach. Character practicing her weapons accidentally wounds (minor) a man with a throwing stomach. Character kills a guard with a knife to the side. Fairy burns several people alive (at the same time) as well as the building they’re in. Savage beasts are set loose in crowd, cause havoc and some death. Character whips a girl bloody. Two men brutally fist-fight. One character strangles another.