I wasn't really in the mood to read a young adult book when I started this ARC, so it was nice to find this book read more like an adult historical fiI wasn't really in the mood to read a young adult book when I started this ARC, so it was nice to find this book read more like an adult historical fiction with a bit of romance in it. The main character, Ismae, though innocent at times, never really acts like a teenager in my opinion. I think the author meant for Ismae to be 17 years old for most of the book, per the description, but three years pass in the convent, so that would make her 20 years old for the majority of the book. Or maybe she was younger when married off? I don't know; Ismae never says how old she is in the book, so I was a bit confused. In any case, it's the 15th century, so no matter if she is 14, 17, or 20, she is considered an adult and, for the most part, acts like one.
Ismae has just been married off by her abusive father to another abusive man. She escapes with the help of the local herbwitch and priest to the convent of St. Mortain. Mortain is also worshiped as one of the old gods as the god of Death. The sisters of this convent are trained to be his assassins. Ismae has an affinity with poisons. She is immune to poisons and the preparation of them comes naturally to her. After three years of training, her first two assignments go well. The third one will be her true test. It involves her entering Brittany's high court by acting as mistress to Gavriel Duval, half-brother to Anne, who is to become sovereign Duchess of Brittany. Part of her assignment is trying to figure out if Duval is working for or against his sister.
I really enjoyed the political intrigue. Anne is a real historical figure, and LaFevers did a great job introducing us to that time period and court. LaFevers fits the made up characters in nicely. Ismae is a little over her head at times, though. She tended to skip the "womanly arts" lessons at the convent for poison making, so flounders at times acting the mistress. And she is very confused when she realizes she actually has feelings for Duval, but still is not sure if she can trust him. Though Duval and Ismae end up working together, neither is completely honest with each other. Ismae also ends up questioning her devotion to her convent when she gets conflicting orders from them. She is a great character to follow, though I do wish we could have had Duval's point of view also.
This is a great book if you are looking for a historical fiction with a dash of fantasy and romance.
This second book in the Broken Empire series was just as fun, dark, twisted, and delectable as the first book. It starts out four years after the endThis second book in the Broken Empire series was just as fun, dark, twisted, and delectable as the first book. It starts out four years after the end of the first book. It is King Jorg's wedding day and the Prince of Arrow is on his doorstep with his very large army. The book goes back and forth between this day and to four years earlier when he and his Brothers set out to find a fire-mage who can help Gog control his abilities with fire. They end up going on a longer and more complex quest. We also get snippets of Katherine's journal. I thought they were a nice little break from the otherwise constant viewpoint of Jorg and was a great way of letting us get to know the characters of the Prince of Arrow and his brother, Egan. It made one of the twists at the end all the more obvious to happen (obvious after the fact for me; I didn't see it coming, but it made sense after it was revealed).
Lawrence also reveals a lot more about the world and time period in this book. In the first book, the author hinted at when and where this series takes place, though many readers probably picked up on those clues. But there's no hinting in this book. Other reviewers probably have spoiled this information, but I'm going to leave it up to the readers to find out. I do think Lawrence did a really good job with this setting. It's familiar, but unique at the same time - a nice melding of the new and old.
What did I learn about Jorg in this book - he really does not like to be told what to do. Jorg is fascinating - he's cruel, brilliant, and sarcastic. I can see why his men are devoted to him.
"Red Jorg." Kent said in a whisper as I passed. "Red would be good, Kent. But I fear I am darker than that."
Princess Kimiri is sent off by her brother to the neighboring mountain kingdom of Helsmont to be married to the king in exchange for weapons he needsPrincess Kimiri is sent off by her brother to the neighboring mountain kingdom of Helsmont to be married to the king in exchange for weapons he needs to fight another neighboring kingdom he is at war with. She's not particularly happy about this. To her surprise, the king offers her a year courtship to decide if they are suitable for each other. During that time Kimiri is to get to know her new kingdom and the man she is to marry.
She spends most of her days wandering around the city getting to know the citizens. Everybody treats her respectfully and likes her. She also spends time with her future husband's hostage, a prince from the kingdom her brother is at war with. They become friends. She also has breakfast every morning with the king. At first he is very quiet, but slowly they get to know each other. I did feel like Lee told us about their developing feelings more than showing us. I was probably most disappointed with this part of the book. King Tathan seems like a great guy, but I felt like I never really got to know him. In fact, because of that and the actions Lee did show us, I found him very passive. He doesn't want to push Kimiri into marrying him, but it almost at times felt like he wasn't even trying to win her affections.
Her relationships all seemed very simple. We don't get any real conflict until the end of the book, and that ended up being my favorite part of the book. Probably also because the title promised dragons and they finally show up at this point.
If you are looking for something very uncomplicated and sweet, you may enjoy this story.
Ok, I'm not going to go into detail about the story because I don't want to spoil anything. I mean people die, some come back to life - you just don'tOk, I'm not going to go into detail about the story because I don't want to spoil anything. I mean people die, some come back to life - you just don't know who is going to stay dead. I'm really interested to see where all this death, magic, and resurrection leads. Snyder has only given us hints so far.
Avry and Kerrick are separated through most of the book, and unfortunately Kerrick's parts weren't as interesting as Avry's. I can, though, see how Kerrick's venture up north with the tribe will be important in the third book. I just wish it hadn't taken up so much of his time in this book.
But Avry's parts were really good. I like Avry. She's smart, and though she very much fears getting into Tohon's clutches again, she's not afraid to help those fighting against him. She's persistent and doesn't give up. She does much in this book - trains soldiers to walk through the forest silently, tries again to reacquaint with her sister who pretty much only has hatred for her at the moment, works in the infirmary, outsmarts the enemy, mourns the dead, and communicates with Death and Peace Lilys. She's really not allowed to rest at all in this book.
Because of Kerrick's parts, I didn't quite enjoy this one as much as the first book, but I like where the story is headed, and will definitely be reading the third book. Just a warning, the book ends on a cliffhanger, a dang frustrating one.