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Beneath the Citadel

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In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.

480 pages, Hardcover

First published October 9, 2018

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About the author

Destiny Soria

3 books361 followers
Destiny Soria is a Young Adult fantasy author and freelance writer. Her novels feature magic, mystery, and an excess of witty banter. She lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 477 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
August 18, 2022
if you’re:
⚪️ a man
⚪️ a woman
🔘 tired of occupying a human form

and you’re looking for:
⚪️ a man
⚪️ a woman
🔘 a fun & unputdownable heist book with a multi ethnic group of rebels consisting of plus-size ace girls and bi boys teaming up, despite nigh-impossible odds, to achieve the unachievable, featuring also the most wholesome friends-to-lovers gay romance and the most nerve-wracking ending

Then you better SMASH that “want-to-read” button because this was FUCKING GREAT.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
October 9, 2018

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

“Deep beneath the citadel, the executioner was waiting.”

Beneath the Citadel really impressed me throughout. Not only is this a really solid and satisfying standalone, and not only does it have some pretty amazing rep, but the story is also so unique. Every time I opened this book up, I never wanted to put it down.

The book starts out with four of our main characters being thrown into the dungeons, after being sentenced to death. Yet, this was completely their intention. From the opening scene, throughout the rest of the book, these group of five ragtag teens come together to try to pull off a quest that will completely change everything they’ve ever known.

Cassa - PoC, and the leader whose parents left behind a huge rebellion legacy for her to try to live up to. Cassa is brave, and strong, and willing to do anything to erase the pain she feels inside, while also attempting to make the world a better place.

Vesper - Cassa’s old best friend, who has betrayed them and who is put in a dangerous predicament because of her past with Cassa. I don’t want to say much else, but Vesper is a really cool character, who I loved learning more and more about.

Alys - Plus sized, PoC, ace spectrum, has severe anxiety, and the genius of the group! Alys also is a bit if a prophetess, even though it has lead her astray in the past. Also, her parents are apothecary rebels.

Evander - Bisexual, PoC, the charmer of the group, and is Alys’ brother! Also, he has a bit of magical power with manipulating silver that he received for a cost.

Newt - Gay, a contortionist, and the sneaky rogue-like one of the group! Also, living with past trauma of an abusive parent. (And probably my favorite of the entire group!)

“He learned how to hold a world of hatred inside of him without a single crack in his exterior calm. Sometimes he felt like that was his greatest accomplishment. And sometimes he wished the Valeras hadn’t done him the favor of letting his father live.”

But beneath the citadel, something else lurks deep below. Cassa and her friends are offered two bargains, both of which they are unsure of taking. But time is ticking, and they have to make a choice; to help what everyone thinks is a monster down below, or to help what Cassa knows is a true monster above. And this story is told in the span of five days, so decisions happen rather quickly.

Yet, I do think that this is a book about friendship, found family, and how important it is to surround yourself with people who will accept you and unconditionally love you. These five teens have all been dealt very different hands in life, but they’ve all come together and truly try to make this world a better place. I honestly loved this entire cast.

“I’ll tell you the story,” he said. “I can’t promise you’ll believe me, but I promise it’s all true.”

I’ll be honest, this book reminded me a bit of Six of Crows and Senlin Ascends, which I’m not sure there is a more desirable combination on this planet. The characters all won me over so quickly. The story had me constantly questioning, while unable to put the book down, because I had to find out what the truth was. And this book had some pretty amazing (and heartbreaking) twists and turns along the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and would completely recommend. Not only is it unique, but Destiny Soria really took the time to put in some amazing diversity and representation in this book. I personally loved the bisexual representation, and the m/m romance was so pure and completely stole my heart. And I’m so impressed with what this author was able to deliver, both character and world building wise, in a standalone.

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

Content and trigger warnings for loss of a loved one, torture, abuse, murder, death, captivity, medical experimentation, panic and anxiety attacks, depictions of blood, and heavy depictions of grief and trauma.

Buddy read with: Kaleena at Reader Voracious.com, May at Forever and Everly, Julianna at Paper Blots, & Jules at JA Ironside! ❤
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,095 reviews17.7k followers
June 13, 2019
No one wanted to believe their mistakes were preventable. If your future was foretold, then you weren’t accountable for it.

Enjoyable standalone fantasy is something to be thankful for!

So Beneath the Citadel is an enjoyable book about a fantasy heist: four criminals, and their maybe-ally on the inside, attempt to pull off a rebellion against the oppressive high priests ruling their city. But can they trust the allies they’ve picked? This is a supremely entertaining premise, and on the whole, I thought this book worked pretty well. It’s a fast-paced and entertaining romp, well-written. And Beneath the Citadel manages this fast pace without losing structure – the book keeps clear character motivation and thus a clearly established goal.

The world in which Beneath the Citadel takes place in is... functional. I genuinely think recent YA fantasy may have forgotten how important imagery is in drawing together a world - I just couldn't picture most of the locations or cities this took place in. They all felt just a tiny, tiny bit generic, as if the author had written them for functionality rather than placement. Which is fine! Seriously, it's fine. I do think the world as a whole needed to be cleared up with a map - is there a map in the physical final copy?

The characters, on the whole, work. I liked that there wasn’t much romance! One m/m romance is plenty of romance and was super fun. Cassa, the group’s leader, is driven to a fault, often stubborn and unable to admit her mistakes. Alys is the plus-sized and ace bisexual fortune teller of the group, quieter and occasionally insecure. Vesper was by far my favorite character: she is a girl in disguise, attempting to hide her memories and save her friends. And then there are the two final leads: Evander, Cassa’s ambitious and funny ex, and Newt, the group’s spy.

…okay, so I really really hesitate to call things overly derivative in terms of characters – that’s weird territory as a reviewer. And I actually don’t think this book, in and of itself, is a super derivative work; it distinguishes itself in both plot and characterization, for the most part. But …. when you’re comparing your book to Six of Crows, as this book's initial blurb did. You really cannot have a couple in the story in which one is a white gay guy who has a dead mother and a bad relationship with his father and a whole self-realization arc, and the other is a black bisexual guy who jokes to suppress his feelings, deals with nervous energy, has some past romantic tension with the lead character, and whose special talent is that he can – I shit you not – manipulate metal. I genuinely struggled to see these characters as something more than Jesper/Wylan fanfiction. This, to me, was deeply weird; I'm actually struggling to believe the author wasn't aware of this. I completely understand we all have character dynamics we like, which is totally fine; this is just way too much similarity.

Something else that I enjoyed about this book was the focus on the quality of memory, and on the power of memory as a weapon to control society. There’s something deeply terrifying about forgetting, about not being able to fight back because you cannot remember what someone has done to you. That’s fascinating and Destiny Soria leans into the horror of it well. I also enjoyed how much the book and narrative as a whole leans into change as a force of good: especially in our current world, the younger generation as a force for good is genuinely a compelling idea.

On the whole, this was a decent read but not a fantastic one. A solid three, just not more.

release date: 8 October 2018
Arc received from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.
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Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,063 followers
July 25, 2020
4.5 stars

Beneath the Citadel is about the city of Eldra, which is ruled by ancient prophecies made long ago by the Elders. The council governs this city, but it is oppressive and the council members only care for themselves, leaving the citizens poor, hungry, and angry. It has great representation, a unique premise, and a super engaging storyline!

The story follows four characters:

Cassa: orphaned daughter of rebels. clever. independent. strong. could probably kill you in your sleep. POC!
Alys: intelligent. soft yet fierce. prophet. wouldn’t hesitate to call you out if you hurt her loved ones. POC, fat, has anxiety and panic attacks, and is asexual!
Evander: MY FAVE. jokester. silver manipulator. determined. jokes so he can’t be afraid, which is a mood. POC and bisexual!
Newt: PURE. extremely soft. contortionist. broken, but healing (victim of abuse). couldn’t keep him tied up for anything. gay!

As you can probably tell by my descriptions of them, I loved all the characters. They’re an effortlessly diverse cast, and they’re truly fantastic characters that I easily grew attached to. Plus their arcs are so well-developed and I genuinely loved reading all of their POVs.

There was definitely a found family trope here, which is one of my favorites, and the way they’ve grown closer together and stuck by each other’s sides no matter what makes me SO SOFT. One of the biggest themes in this book, in my opinion, was that finding people who always support you is one of the most important things in life you can do for yourself.

(There was also a slowburn m/m romance that I had no idea would be in the book and it was so cute and amazing and I loved it!!!)

He was bent, but he wasn’t broken. That was enough, for now.

I think the biggest thing about this story is that: It was so unique. It had a compelling premise and I genuinely couldn’t put it down. The whole book was just a Ride, with so many different twists and turns, and I had a lot of fun reading it, especially since I had no idea what was coming next.

And one of my favorite parts was how SHOCKING the ending was. Probably the most shocking book ending I’ll read all year and I absolutely loved it. I mean, I even teared up over it (it was 1 in the morning okay). I feel like it’s usually risky to write this type of ending, but I think it was pulled off SUPER well and I’m satisfied with how it ended. Even though I’m still in mild shock.

I also loved the fantasy world! It has different types of magic, like prophecies and manipulation of metals, but it wasn’t like… too much?? And the worldbuilding was well-done, because it’s a standalone (which I also love) and I didn’t feel like there was more I needed to know about the world!

The ONE thing that kept me from rating this 5 stars was the pacing. It was… slow. There were some events that were so drawn out that it felt like it took the span of two whole days, when in reality it was just… one night. It wasn’t too big of a problem, but while I was reading I could just feel the book moving slowly.

“Every memory, every mistake, every perfect moment. It’s all mine. It’s all me.”

But overall? This book was such an enjoyable, engaging read. I absolutely adored the characters and the shocking twists and the unique storyline, and I’d recommend this book in a heartbeat!

(Also, if you read this book, I totally suggest you read the author’s note! It talked about how today’s teens are expected to fix the mistakes that people generations before made, but how teens DO have the power to fight injustice, and it was so relevant to today and the story and I love the book more for it.)

:: rep :: female MC of color, bi male MC of color, gay MC (abuse survivor), fat asexual female MC with anxiety & panic attacks

:: content warnings :: panic attacks, loss of loved ones, death, murder, torture, abuse, captivity, medical experimentation, grief/trauma (heavy)

// buddy read with my fav, my fav, and my not fav

Thank you to Amulet Books for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,221 reviews1,561 followers
September 12, 2018
Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria is a young adult fantasy read. This one has been compared a bit to Six of Crows and I can see that comparison in the somewhat rag tag group of teens coming together and going against their society.

The story takes place in the city of Eldra where a group of teens have come together as a last effort in a rebellion against the council. Told from their different points of view the book starts as each have been captured after an attempt to sneak into the citadel and are about to be sentenced to their deaths.

Obviously the story is not going to end in the opening chapters so there’s a plan of escape on the horizon for readers as the story gets going rather quickly. With this there is also the beginnings of the different types of magic brought in with each of the group having different abilities and personalities.

Now, for me I debated quite a while on my rating for this one as it jumps right in and took off at a fast pace which I loved. However then the world and character building seemed to start being dumped in after the bang of an opening and it slowed the story down somewhat. Once going again I did like the story until the end which I won’t go into but it just seemed a bit off the way some things were dealt with. So overall I’m going with 3 stars but it’s falling around 3-3.5 to me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,859 followers
December 1, 2018
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*Maybe It's Just Me*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

I struggled. So damn hard. It had way too much information! Way too many POVs. I felt no connection with any of the characters. The only thing this book got going is that it had a somewhat mystery in it. I felt no love between any of the characters; I just feel like they don't really know or care for each other, they are just there. Hell, I barely felt any brother-sister bond between the siblings! And that's when it's bad. Maybe it's because it's YA? It's been some time since I've read the genre, but I don't remember it being this bad. YA doesn't do it for me anymore, but that's no surprise, and the only reason I started reading this one was the promise of a M/M relationship.

If you know me, I'm obsessed with M/M since I started reading the genre. These days I can barely read anything else. Nothing interests me. But yeah, I hadn't expected it to be this bad. The story didn't work for me, the characters didn't work for me, the friendship didn't for me (they didn't seem real at all), the writing didn't work for me (too much information), and I can go on and on, but I'm gonna stop here. The whole thing just didn't do it for me and I struggled finishing it. Though others seems to love this book. *The spoiler tags are real spoilers; do not open them if you haven't read the book or if you plan to read it*

The Characters:
Cassandra ‘Cassa’ Valera (16), orphaned daughter of rebels (firebrands) and PoC. The leader. - The most annoying character in the book. Thinks she's the best and all that. Never listens to anyone else and is quick to blame others.
Alys Sera (17), asexual, plus sized and PoC, has anxiety and is intelligent. The somewhat prophet (a diviner; can see the future). - A know it all, but she knows the fact so I guess she has the right to be it. I didn't really have any feelings towards her, she was just there.
Evander Sera (16), bi and PoC and a bloodbond: silver. Cassa is his ex-girlfriend. The joker and easygoing. - Follows Cassa too easily. Could've been a good character, but is too ‘submissive’ for my taste (I like my men as a alpha male).
Newt Dalton (barely 15), gay, broken but is healing. The pure and perpetually underestimated. - Seems adorable, easily overlooked, probably my favorite character in the book if I had any.
Vesper, a rook and Cassa's old best friend who betrayed the team. - Didn't really care for her. Didn't really care for any of the girls in the story.

Other Characters:
→ High Chancellor of Teruvia, Ansel Dane, Vesper's uncle.
Solan Tavish, a diviner and the executioner. “I was born a rook and a seer,” he told them. “Over time, I developed the skills of a diviner and a sentient as well.”
Lenore Sera, mother of the Sera kids. Edric Sera, the father.
Crispin Cavar, a the best sentient in Eldra for the council.
Gaz Ritter, the Dream Merchant, a rook.
Mira, the Blacksmith daughter.
→ Captain Marsh, bloodbond with iron?
Caris and Luc Valera, the legendary rebels and Cassa's parents. Dead.
“You said you were a diviner,” Alys said. “How can you be the executioner?”
“I am a diviner,” Solan said. “But that’s not all I am.”
“You’re a rook too?” Newt asked. His face was screwed up in confusion.
Cassa had heard of people being born with more than one skill, though it was rare. Diviners were descendants of seers—their ability to read small fortunes and near futures was a trickle-down effect through weakening bloodlines. Rooks were almost as rare as seers and could give and take memories with a touch. Sentients descended from rook bloodlines and were able to read the past—and sometimes thoughts—in people’s faces. It was possible, if someone had rook and seer blood in them, for a person to manifest with more than one skill.

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Young Adult) Fantasy.
Series: - Standalone.
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - None.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Not really.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Not really.
Will I read this again in the future? - No.
Rating - 1.5/2 stars.
Profile Image for Ellie.
578 reviews2,196 followers
October 21, 2018
↠ 4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I got my hands on this at YALC, I wasn't too sure what it was about? But once I saw it was a diverse and inclusive novel with queer rep, I was delighted. So whilst I'm still not too hot on this cover, the story inside is excellent. 

The one thing that stood out to be about Beneath the Citadel - besides the rep, yes - was the absolutely stunning worldbuilding. There was so much history worked in, and there were so many kinds of magical roles in the society: seers and alchemists and rooks and many more. Then there was worldbuilding that hinted at fantastical worlds farther away (which is always been something I've loved, the hint of more fantastical lands beyond the seams of the novel) with lands of grass seas and northern cities. It provided a wonderful background to a wonderful novel.

The story is set around a group of friends, and what comes with this is really fun group dynamics that gave me Six of Crows-vibes, just more queer. There are five central characters, though one isn't as much a part of the group. 

Cassa - leader and daughter of parents who led a rebellion that kinda failed? But now she's got a legacy of greatness on her shoulders. PoC.

Evander - cutie pie bisexual. Has a bit of talent for manipulation magic. PoC too!

Alys - Evander's sister. On the asexual spectrum, plus-sized and struggles with anxiety. She is amazing. PoC. (Her name is said like "Elise" apparently, but I kept reading it like "Alice")

Newt - sneaky gay boy who's also adorable and a contortionist. 

Vesper - an old friend of Cassa's with ties to the corrupt rulership of the city, but is really interesting and I adored her. 

Honestly, if you like group dynamic novels, this one is really good. Plus, they don't all pair up at the end, like they did in Six of Crows (sorry I'm salty it was unrealistic no friendship group couple up romantically like that bai.)

Moving on, Beneath the Citadel also gave me Labyrinth vibes. (As in the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, not the movie with the goblins.) As the title implies, beneath the citadel there is an arching network of caves and tunnels, and within it lies a dubious evil. And since we're on the mention of dubious evil, let me just praise the layers given to the antagonists of the novel - there was a point where readers are supposed to be unsure who the real villain is, and that's great. Complex antagonists are my bread and butter, k.

Underneath Soria's lovely prose (not too OTT but pretty enough to be notable), there is a network of themes running through the framework of the novel. The idea of the past weighing heavily on the present, and the themes of choice, predetermined destiny and prophecies all abounded. Especially at the end, I thought it was a thoughtful consideration on legacies and whether to live up to what you're supposed to be, or whether you should make your own path.

TL;DR: A spectacularly representative novel with diversity of all kinds, Beneath the Citadel is a dark fantasy with thoughtful roots that is sure to charm all kind of readers. 

This review is also available on my blog, faerieontheshelf.wordpress.com

151 reviews43 followers
January 3, 2022
DEVASTATING........ but in, like, a good way....

Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews155 followers
October 7, 2018
Beneath the Citadel follows a ragtag group of rebels as they attempt to infiltrate the citadel. They believe the government is hiding the reason that citizens of the city keep falling dead and they are determined to uncover the truth. This book is full of diverse characters fighting a corrupt government and has a plot that will keep you flipping the pages.

The cast of characters are all very three dimensional. There are flashback scenes that show memories of each character that have shaped them into who they are, giving each character a complex back story. The characters are also incredibly diverse. Alys, who is a diviner, is asexual and struggles with crippling anxiety. Newt, a contortionist, is gay and has suffered extreme trauma and probably has PTSD. Evander, who is blood bonded to silver, is bisexual. Then there is also Vesper, who can steal memories and Cassa, their leader. These types of characters represent the LGBTQ community and mental illnesses, but they are developed so well that their stories feel exceptionally genuine.

Destiny Soria does a great job weaving this fantasy world and bringing it to life. The different types of magic that exist in this world makes for a very interesting story. Rooks, or those that can steal memories, are probably my favorite because of how powerful they are. The way that these different abilities are described really helps bring this fantasy world to life.

The plot is incredibly captivating. The action hardly ever stops and there’s a quick- moving pace to the book. The tension is built up well for the rising action and climax. There are also twists to this tale that you will never see coming.

Beneath the Citadel is absolute fantasy gold. Destiny Soria gives you characters that you adore and places them in a fantasy world that is dark and magical and then creates a plot full of action and unexpected surprises. This book is a hidden gem. The cover drew me in, but the writing made me a fan. Keep an eye on Destiny Soria, because she very well might become your next favorite young adult fantasy author.
Profile Image for Brithanie Faith.
271 reviews163 followers
September 21, 2018
4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

E-ARC provided by NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review.

Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria is a YA, fantasy standalone that follows a group of friends as they uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, and fight to save the city of Eldra from it's supposed fate.


❇️There was a lot to love about this book! First of all, going into this I had no idea there would be bisexual (as well as asexual) representation, and talk of panic attacks (which is slowly making it's way into the fantasy genre, but we're not quite there yet). I found it really easy to accept, and root for this particular cast of characters, and though I took my sweet time reading this one, when I WAS reading it I had difficulty putting it down! 😊


❇️While I had no major issues, I found myself wanting more (as is the case with most fantasy standalone's). Everything was wrapped up in the end, but I couldn't help but wish there was going to be a sequel.

Final Thoughts/Comments:

❇️This title is expected to release on the 9th of October, 2018. I'm normally not the biggest fan of comparing books, and recommending books based on anything I've previously read, but I requested this because someone told me it reminded them of Six Of Crows, and I think if you're a fan of one-there's a chance you'll be a fan of the other. 😊
Profile Image for L. | That_Bookdragon.
252 reviews12 followers
September 4, 2019
3/5 ⭐

"He was bent, but he wasn’t broken. That was enough, for now."

I think this is another case of me seeing books being too similar to Six of Crows. This book has a really solid start. The reader gets to meet all the characters while they are kept prisoner and honestly I just loved the beginning, it was quite epic. However, very quickly, the book slowed down and seemed to drag forever. I had to switch to the audiobook because I refused to DNF it...

This book is about a heist, a morally questionable group of criminals (the diversity within it was A+ though) and an impenetrable fortress. Sounds familiar? Yeah, I thought so too. The world in which the character evolve is not easy to live and honestly it was quite hard for me to picture it in my head. Moreover, I didn't understand why out of all the people in this city, this particular group of criminals was chosen to stop the evil being beneath the citadel. I mean, are there no other people with more qualifications who could stop it as well? I'm confused. I was also confused greatly by the pacing in this book. I thought the back and forth between past and present was made well but the way the plot worked in itself was weird. It's probably because I wasn't interested at some points anymore...

The group of characters, despite being extremely similar to that of Six of Crows worked well. I fell in love with Evander as soon as his first chapter came up, we stan a bi king. Cassa was... annoying. I just didn't like her, don't ask me why because I don't think I would be able to explain it. I could totally relate with Alys when it came to her anxiety and panic attacks. She deserves all the hugs in the world, omg. NEWT NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED TOO OH MY GOD I WILL SUE!

Overall, this book was enjoyable but it felt like another one of your YA Fantasy books lately. There was nothing super new about it and I'm sad because this world has so much potential. I was happy to get a standalone, but some parts of the story felt under-developed and really could have been worked on more. The diversity and representation was greatly appreciated however. i just wasn't impressed I guess?

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Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews865 followers
August 30, 2020

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Newt (mc) is gay & has a chronic illness; Evander (mc) is a bi poc; Alys (mc) is a woc, asexual, fat & has anxiety/panic disorder.

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Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,146 reviews245 followers
April 3, 2020
Well it wasn't as dark as I was expecting/hoping it to be but that's fine. I freaking LOVED these characters and the romance was so cute! The pacing is really strong and consistent. The magic aspects was REALLY cool and probably my favourite thing. I find a lot of fantasy standalone a fall flat but this one did not so I'll have to checkout the author's previous work.

Rep: asexual and bisexual
Profile Image for Iris.
555 reviews253 followers
August 31, 2020
I'm sorry, who gave this book permission to mess with my emotions like that??? I thought this would be light and fun and heisty and a nice, not emotionally painful read to help my emotions recover from History Is All You Left Me. Instead I got a book that made me CRY. I mean okay, the first 400 pages or so were exactly what I expected (with a bit of creepiness and an overwhelming love for the characters thrown in), but then THAT ENDING. BROKE MY HEART.

Profile Image for  ➳ Anthony ➳.
346 reviews43 followers
September 11, 2023
Date Reviewed:
15 September 2018
This Review was first posted on It’s All Anthony. For more reviews, check out the blog here.

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

When I first received an eARC for this novel, I was really interested in the story and was excited to start. However, I did have to wait a bit to begin and dedicated the month of August to read the book. Unfortunately, when I did start Beneath the Citadel, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to read the book. I did not expect that it was going to be a battle.

Life has got in the way and I have entered a reading slump. My interest level went from the top to right down below. I read at every chance I had, but it was few in between and minimal progress. As I tried to continue, I couldn’t not retrieve the interest I had in the story. My interest was lost completely.

Nevertheless, I pushed back and was able to finally the story. I did not hate or dislike the story at all, but I never found the enjoyment I was hoping for either. I was interesting and I can see the goodness and potential of the story, but I just could not get into it as much as I would have liked to. The slump really defeated me for liking this story.

Based on other reviews, this novel has a lot of rep and should definitely be worth reading, which is why I kept pushing to read this novel. I only wished that I did not have the slump and I probably would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more.
Profile Image for Dreamer.
516 reviews7 followers
June 28, 2018
Excellent YA high fantasy with alchemy, magic, and mystery.

Really enjoyed all the twists and turns in this YA fantasy novel. Narrated by 6 different characters, all keeping secrets, readers slowly learn of the history of the Citadel, its religious leadership, and the relationships between these characters. Though this allows the plot to unfold slowly, this is a very character-driven novel, and so understanding each of their histories and motivations is key to following the plot. As most of the narrators are teenagers (friends, siblings, former/future lovers) their interactions are often teasing, witty, and fun.

I appreciated author Destiny Soria’s approach to ‘magic’ - various abilities, prophecies, and control of certain elements. Not every character possesses one of these abilities, but the world of ‘Beneath the Citadel’ thrives upon the use of elder seer’s prophecies. These prophecies have kept the powerful council in their positions for centuries and led to rebellions for equality.

LGBTQ+ friendly. Gay, bi, and ace characters to be found here. This clean YA fantasy acknowledges character sexuality without making it a central focus point. I liked that the attributes were as mentioned just as casually as their height or hair color.

Can't recommend this book enough! I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. Read more reviews! http://dreamerjbookreviews.blogspot.com

#CitadelBook #NetGalley
Profile Image for CW ✨.
669 reviews1,713 followers
May 27, 2019
Finally, a standalone fantasy series with enough depth and plot packed into one book!
If you love heists, fantasy, and morally-gray characters, this is for you.

- Follows a team of teen rebels trying to take down a corrupt high council, who govern in accordance to prophecies.
- I quite enjoyed the characterisations of the main characters. I especially loved Cassa, daughter of rebels who led the rebellion. She was such an interesting character and, despite clear motivations, is faced with challenging decisions across the story.
- I also really loved Alys; she's fat, asexual, and has anxiety and panic attacks which she calls 'maelstroms' -- which is such a perfect description of what they can feel like?
- I loved the idea of rooks and seers and prophecies. A massive component of the story is the idea of taking away memories, and this is used strategically to confuse and mislead their enemies. I thought that this enriched the plot, kept you guessing, and there was also this added layer of how memories make a person who they are.
- There's an m/m romance which I wish was a little more developed?
- A really fun read and very engaging as well, but didn't quite make a lasting impression -- but I'm definitely interested to read more of Soria's work. She is a fantastic writer.

Trigger/content warning:
Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
1,014 reviews530 followers
July 22, 2019
This was just crap overall - it was like it was trying to be the six of crows or what the gilded wolves intended to be but failed.

It jumped too much for me and there were so so many characters I could not keep up.

Neither could I keep up with the magical element of the story as nothing was really explained except the fact that there was only villainous but not really but really magical monster.

It attempted to create a morally grey story but it came out very heavy handed and not something I enjoyed at all.
Profile Image for Eloise.
616 reviews260 followers
December 13, 2018
I appreciate the attempt of bringing an interesting and diverse group of characters into a somewhat interest world. However it didn't actually work for me.

I didn't feel any urgency to story, Maybe because I didn't really get why they had to do what they were doing.. Sadly this meant I wasn't sucked in like I would have liked.

As for the characters, they ARE a great cast. But they just don't really get to show off how interesting.they could be until maybe their last chapters each.
I didn't feel much until the story was ending...
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews345 followers
October 2, 2018
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Tasha Leigh

In the city of Eldra, the people live under the constant and watchful eye of the Council, a group of elite citizens organised to maintain control of the city after a rebellion that lasted 100 years. Guided by the infallible prophecies of powerful rooks of the bygone age, the council have been unstoppable and unrelenting in their quest for power. Now however, the events of the last prophecy have come to pass and their future is unknown.

Cassa Valera lives overshadowed by the legacy of her dead parents, the last leaders of the Rebellion’s final stand. Cut down while Cassa was just a child, she relies on her friends to help her through. Tired of the Council’s unending lies and manipulation, she decides to take a stand. Will her scheming pay off? Or will her efforts lead to her own demise?

The story starts out with four teenagers—Cassa, Evander, Alys and Newt—going before the council to have their fate determined; they have been caught breaking into the Citadel (the seat of power of the Council), an offense punishable by death. Each of them had their own role to play and will be punished accordingly. There was however supposed to be a fifth conspirator, Vesper, a rather smart lass who was nowhere to be found when the plan went down—obviously she must have turned.

After being sentenced to death, the quartet are escorted back to their individual cells to await their execution. Being a resourceful bunch, each doomed teen utilises their skills to make a daring escape from the prison. Once they have gained their freedom, they must escape the city, however, fate has other plans for the group. Finding themselves lost in the endless tunnels under the Citadel, Alys makes a choice that changes the course of their young lives, thrusting them right into the path of their supposed executioner.

At times, this novel was a struggle to finish as the narrative seemed to hit regular lulls—these were quickly forgotten once the story hit a point of action. The idea that rooks (seers/oracles) and sentients (mind readers/seers of the past) were two completely separate ‘breeds’ was an interesting one departing from the traditionally clairvoyant character. Also, the idea of having to undergo a transformation to be bloodbound to an element rather than being born with the ability was a refreshing change from the norm.

The world building within was nothing less than amazing. Regardless of whether there was a map present or not, the ability to track characters movements was relatively simple, enabling the audience to get a fairly thorough idea of where and when events took place.

Taking place from varying characters point of views could have caused an audible groan from those who prefer single narrators. In Citadel, the transitions were logical and relatively smooth as events were told in chronological order. This enabled each character to firmly know their place and undergo their own journey of self discovery; their individual personalities allow different interpretations of the events, moulding the character path through the world of Eldra.

The villains of this novel have distinct purpose and while initially seeming to take on the traditional role, by the conclusion each has undergone their own transformation. Solan is especially of note with his first presentation being that of a helpless old man being held hostage by a society who wish to use him for their own personal gain. In the final chapters, however, it is quite obvious that he is a diabolical genius and deserves an Oscar for his previous performances.

While not a particularly obvious LGBQT+ novel, this book includes a relationships between two same-sex characters. While initially single sided, by the end a relationship has formed. Traditionally these sorts of interactions are thrown in the face of the reader and can become quite obnoxious—within Citadel, it is oft alluded to however serves as more of an undertone rather than a primary plot point.

Overall, Beneath the Citadel is a well written entry into the world of YA fantasy. The character development, relationships, and fast pacing throughout the majority make it an enjoyable read with the worldbuilding greatly influencing potential enjoyment of the tale. While the sexual orientation of at least two major players may be seen as unacceptable within mainstream fiction by some, I would strongly recommend at least giving it a go.
Profile Image for BeesBookHollow ♡.
171 reviews173 followers
October 11, 2018
"Here's the deal I am willing to make. Your lives in exchange for one task. There is a monster beneath the citadel. I need you to kill it."

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───


Eldra is a city that has been dictated by prophecies since it's establishment, prophecies that often dictate life and death for it's people. Rebellion was foretold within it's city walls and the council quickly stamped out the fire it brought with it, but it never crushed it's spirit.

Evander, Newt, Alys & Cassa are four teens whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the council in different ways and the only way to end their tyrannical rule, may be to help the only thing keeping them in power. To defend their lives, their friendships, and their honor they'll risk their lives again and again to face the darkness.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Full of betrayal, action, and mystery, Beneath The Citadel will have you reading with the light on to push away the sometimes claustrophobic passages as this small band of rebels dives deeper and deeper into the citadel's sinister past. Who do you turn to when the monster under your bed knows your darkest fears?

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

I received this book through Netgalley as a Digital Review Copy. This in no way sways my opinions about it's contents.

My thoughts:

I am a big fan of Ms. Destiny Soria, my first encounter with her was through Iron Cast which was one of the very first book reviews that I wrote. Soria is a very character driven writer so if you're more of a reader that focuses on the plot you may find yourself struggling to get through the story, not that this story doesn't have enough action. I couldn't put it down once I started it because I was so interested in what was happening in Eldra that I kept saying "okay just one more chapter" and then reading like 10 more.

The relationships between the characters definitely made the book more intense for me because these relationships were forged from loyalty and love and their bonds made me care more when they were in danger!

The premise of the book is that Eldra, a city that has a council appointed is essentially run by prophecy and if you're found to be going against the council then it spells bad luck for you. The people within it's walls have suddenly started collapsing with no warning and wake up as a shell of their former selves with their memories gone, it just so happens that the executioner deals in taking people's memories, and this same executioner is employed by the council.

This fact doesn't sit well with the four rebels and they decide to infiltrate the Citadel to expose the truth and find themselves locked up. When their plans are foiled The Chancellor approaches them with a deal.

"The rebellion is over, you aren't firebrands; you're just children playing with Fire. You can all go to your deaths- a wasteful end to your wasted lives- or you can listen to my proposition."

After pretty much being forced into this with the threat of death the band of friends have a difficult decision to make because none of them know who to trust and none of it is making sense, it seems as if there's no end in sight but the execution block, but one thing is for sure, the council is not as strong as it seems to be.

This journey does not come without it's difficulties and at times despair seemed to be the theme of the novel but I really couldn't blame them especially when you're being ruled by a council that has seers (foretell prophecies), diviners (warn the council of rebellion), sentients (hired to find dissenters) and rooks (devour memories)

"What was the point of everything they had done if their fates were already foretold?"

This book is full of LGBT rep which I absolutely loved. Alys is an asexual who has had romantic queer relationships, Newt is gay, Evander is bisexual, and Cassa is heterosexual. There are strong female leads and it shows men having emotions. It brings light to anxiety disorders which is important because it affected the characters in different ways just like anxiety manifests differently for all of us! You can really feel the difference in characters from Newt's quiet demeanor, Alys's intelligence that is often overshadowed by her panic attacks that she refers to as maelstroms, Cassa's stubborn and determined personality, and Evander's over confident but caring attributes. The relationships made the book for me 100% and their determination in the face of the darkness.

"They take whatever they want without consequence. They always have but this time we can do something. For the first time, we can take something back."

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Wrap up:

All in all I found this novel to be intriguing, action packed and attention capturing, it was easy to read and there wasn't really a lull for me. The plot wasn't confusing at all but you do have read through the book to have the plot revealed which seems to be the style that this particular author prefers. I will always be a fan of Destiny Soria and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to read her new book, it totally exceeded all of my expectations. We could all learn something from these characters, and what. an. ending. I did not see it coming. I rated it 4.1/5 🌟

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

"I ask that you remember that Eldra was here long before any of us were born, and it will be here long after all of us are gone. I take comfort in this knowledge, and I hope you will too."
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
Until next time!

Profile Image for J.A. Ironside.
Author 57 books328 followers
August 20, 2018
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Beneath the Citadel was a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't this fast paced adventure story about the importance of choice and the consequences of believing you have none. There are five viewpoint characters - wildfire Cassa, daughter of dead rebel parents trying desperately to live up to their legacy; Plump and clever Alys, supremely disdainful on the outside , a maelstrom within; Evander, her happy-go-luck trickster brother, and Newt, outwardly calm and competent, a natural sneak for whom still waters run deep. And then there's Vesper who is in a position more difficult than her friends can imagine, one that will test every fibre of her moral courage.

The Citadel itself is almost a character in it'sown right. Basically there's the Citadel and the city - a very definite divide between the elite and the unprivileged. The Citadel is dedicated to the religion of the Slain God - in this respect it's a theocratic state - and the council run everything, using the infallible prophecies to foil revolts and uprisings. Basically, he Slain God left his mark on certain bloodlines and children of those bloodlines sometimes manifest one of his gifts - Sentience - the ability to read thoughts, truth or lies in someone's face, Divination - the ability to read the future in coins or bones or some other device and Rookery - the ability to take and store other people's memories with a touch. Because the council have all the knowledge of the future, it's impossible for people to rise up against their corrupt regime. This is actually very clever if you think about it (if a bit disheartening) because if someone knows what you'll do before you even o it, then where are your choices? Where is your freedom to act? Easy enough to twist things from there ad say that free will is a lie and anything you manage to do, you are permitted to do by the will of the god, and anything you don't manage to do was condemned by the same.

The five MCs form an unlikely team of misfits attempting to bring down the Citadel and end the corrupt regime despite having everything stacked against them. But they have reckoned without the High Chancellor who is playing a far longer game and the monster that lurks in the dark caverns beneath the Citadel.

This was a fast paced fantasy adventure with a slight 'Six of Crows' vibe. The characters were sufficiently developed and engaging. There was decent diversity rep (a bi boy, a probably gay boy, an asexual girl) without it derailing the story. There was a healthy portrayal of relationships and break us here too which is no mean feat when it's not part of the main arc in a fantasy novel and it doesn't throw the story off. I felt that we never really went emotionally deep with the characters and occasionally the message was a little heavy handed but that's me being super picky. There were one or two small plot holes or hanging threads. I found Solan under developed as a character. That said there's no sag here. It careers along at a decent clip, interspersed with interludes of back story which add to the story instead of feeling info dumpy., and hits a very satisfying if slightly unexpected end. Ok in hindsight I could see it was foreshadowed but I just never expected the author to do that. I wasn't left feeling cheated though. So all in all this was a great book. Quite a find. I highly recommend it for those looking to fill the Six of Crows void and fans of team fantasy adventure in general.

Buddy read with Melanie
Profile Image for A Mac.
813 reviews139 followers
June 9, 2022
Cassa is an orphan. Her parents died for the rebellion, and she carries the same goals as them. She has several friends who together are a gang of misfits, all trying to stay afloat. Rumors begin spreading about people disappearing after entering the Citadel, which is where the council rules from. Is this Cassa’s chance to continue her family’s rebellion against the Council and their control of the city?

A lot of people have compared this work to Six of Crows, and I can see that there are some similarities. This work is about found family and misfits trying to conduct a heist-like adventure against the established government. However, I personally found this book to be much more enjoyable than Six of Crows.

The characters were extremely diverse in such a realistic, unforced way. Their personalities greatly complimented each other and made it easy to become invested in the fates of these characters. Realistic weaknesses were included as well, making the characters fallible, realistic, and relatable. This work is told from the viewpoint of several characters (five I believe), which was a little difficult to keep track of at first. In fact, that’s probably the main thing I disliked about this work – I think if it had been limited to the viewpoints of two or three characters, it would have been a more streamlined read. This barely detracted from my enjoyment of the work though.

The second and last thing I disliked about this work was that the worldbuilding was a little lackluster. There weren’t meaningful descriptions of the city or the world or anything that really brought this setting to life. The fast pace of the plot and well written characters made it a great read still, but It would have been a perfect read with a bit more worldbuilding.

There were several flashback chapters scattered throughout the work. While I don’t typically enjoy this as it slows the plot down, in this case it only added to the book. The chapters were clearly titled in a way that made it easy to keep track of flashbacks versus current timeline, and their contents greatly added to the depth of the work. They included important background for the plot and for the characters, which made the characters even stronger and better developed than they would have been without these chapters.

This was a strong, standalone book that I highly recommend! Don’t compare it to Six of Crows, just read it and enjoy it as its own book.
Profile Image for akacya ❦.
1,035 reviews171 followers
February 17, 2023
2023 reads: 58/350

2023 tbr: 20/100

cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight against the high council. she has help, of course, from some pretty cool friends.

someone says found family does crime and i’m in. i thought this book was really interesting, and though i can’t remember much from the plot, i know the characters will stick with me. each one was so interesting and i loved getting to know all of them.
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,222 reviews871 followers
January 11, 2019
We are not foretold.

Galley provided by publisher

Rep: brown mcs, bi mc, ace mc

Beneath the Citadel has been high on my to read shelf since pretty much the first moment I heard about it. The synopsis gives off vague Six of Crows vibes, so I'm fairly sure if you liked that, you will also like this one.

The story follows five points of view - Cassa, Evander, Newt, Alys and Vesper - five teens who are fighting against the corrupt council of the citadel itself. Cassa is the daughter of two rebels who died when the chancellor brutally put down an attempted revolution. Evander and Alys are the children of two apothecaries, who were branded rebels after healing a true rebel, while Newt is the son of a man who betrayed the rebellion. Vesper, the final character, is the grandniece of the chancellor himself.

The book opens up with Cassa, Evander, Newt and Alys being sentenced to death by the chancellor. It's definitely the kind of beginning to get you hooked quickly, and the plot is fairly rapid from thereon. In fact, the whole book only spans about five days. The POVs alternate, interspersed with occasional flashbacks into the past for exposition. I liked being able to see into all the characters' minds and everything, but occasionally it felt like having so many POVs left some plot threads underdeveloped, although that equally might have been because some of them also started in the past we did not see. Case in point: . Despite that, the characters themselves were probably what carried the book along for me. Yes, the plot itself was good, but I wouldn't have cared about a lot of it if I hadn't really liked the characters. It did take a little while for Alys and Cassa both to grow on me, but by the end I liked them as much as everyone else.

One of the places this book falls down, however, is in its worldbuilding. There's an infodump right near the beginning, that includes explaining four types of powers (seers, sentients, diviners, and rooks) and bloodbonds, but I really still couldn't for the life of me tell you what the difference between seers and diviners is supposed to be. And even worse, I didn't realise that the citadel/city was even part of a country until about two thirds of the way through. Because the events happen solely enclosed within the city (which in itself seems to be somewhat insular and out of touch with the rest of the country), there was no need to really expand on the whole what's-the-rest-of-the-country-like idea. It felt instead like the city existed in a vacuum. Not to mention the fact that I can't really tell you that much distinctive about the city - there are some wards? Some tiers? Rich people live in the first ward, poor people in the lower wards? It's really not so much different from other fantasies in that respect. But like I said, I really did like the characters, and therefore the plot, so that kind of made up for any weaknesses in the worldbuilding.

Finally, I really appreciate that, in this book, a fantasy book (and a high fantasy at that), Destiny Soria chose to use the word "bisexual". Because there have been so many fantasy books I've read where such "modern" terms for sexuality have been eschewed in favour of just not giving labels. In a completely made up world, there's no reason not to use these terms. So yeah. I liked that.

And that ending. I don't want to spoil it, but I'll just say: Destiny Soria has some real guts.
Profile Image for USOM.
2,464 reviews203 followers
October 18, 2018
When I first started reading this, the Six of Crows feels were so real. But what I quickly realized is how much more diversity, more rage, and more broader political implications that Beneath the Citadel has. It features characters who are gay, bi, fat, ace, and suffering from panic attacks/anxiety. Not all of those at once! And Cassa has this delightful rage that I empathized so much with. It's this band of misfits who are up against a deeply unjust system. And the world building here makes the rage stand out even more so!

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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