The May FairyLoot theme was ‘Save The Kingdom‘ with gorgeous art as usual by the FairyLoot house artist Tara Spruit.
Inspired by An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir, which has been on my TBR for ages and which I really need to read ASAP, is a Fear Book Sleeve by Reverie & Ink. I now own 6 million book sleeves (not exaggerating) but I do use them all the time and really like this one. I didn’t love the last one I got in a Fairyloot box and I think I might actually give that one away but I’m for sure keeping this one.
Wyrd Mark Page Flags by Fictiontea Designs are really cute and even though I only use flags to mark upcoming chapters I think I might start using these for their intended purpose. I tend to just take pictures of quotes I want to keep but I’d like to start keeping note of them.
Weapon Coaster by Evie Bookish goes with my Every Fairytale Needs a Good Old Fashioned Villain from the Villainous box in October 2017. I’m loving having a set and I’d really like if there were more in the future.
Next up was Save The Kingdom Tea Breakfast Tea by The Tea Leaf Co. I love me a nice breakfast tea and this one is lovely although it’s a tiny little sample and I’d have liked a bigger one because I love tea and I’m greedy like that.
The Remnant Vegan Lip Scrub by Geeky Clean is perhaps my favourite item in this box. I really do like Geeky Clean products but it’s a store I don’t buy from anymore because it’s one of those Instagram accounts that followed/unfollowed/followed/unfollowed me and it’s just lousy and a little unprofessional so I decided to take my business elsewhere. I’m sure this seems petty but so is that follow/unfollow ridiculousness and I just don’t have time for it. Luckily FairyLoot have added some of their stuff in past boxes so I’ve had the opportunity to get some of their products in a more roundabout way and this one is lovely and I definitely want to source a vegan lip scrub from another supplier once I’m finished this one. It’s a revelation.
Lastly was a Norgard Vegan Bath Bomb by Little Heart Gifts and character art of Kate and Carwin by Emily Haynes which are products inspired by this months books. The character art is a new item FairyLoot have added to the back of each months ‘Author Letter’ and I FREAKING LOVE IT!! I’m a sucker for character art of any kind so this is tremendously exciting and such a good idea.
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.
The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.
With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.
I’m not at all sure how I want to rate this book to be honest. I did enjoy it. I loved the characters and the world building has lots of potential. Even though the writing sometimes went the way of the purple prose it never got too grating and I feel that overall it was written well.
So why is it so hard to rate?
Well there are a few things that bothered me but let us start with what was good.
Hello dual POV! I am obsessed with dual POV. I love it, love it, love it and it was great being with both Kate and Carwin. I think getting to see where both were coming from and how they both felt is what kept me engaged. Without Carwin’s insight I don’t think I would have been as invested in the overall story.
I also really liked the secondary characters. Signe, Bonner, Dal and Raith in particular, and while they weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked I got enough from them to hold my interest.
The opening scene of this book was absolutely epic and it was such a clever way to introduce us to the Kingdom of Rime and the monsters that inhabit it. I was so excited about the book because of that intro and even though I knew it wasn’t possible to keep up that level of excitement, and lets face it anxiety, it was such a shame to see it lose such momentum.
And I guess that’s why I’m having such trouble rating this. I was engaged and I was interested in the outcome but I was also kind of bored for about 200 pages. So this in my main issue. There is a lot of filler and I can’t understand why. Either give us 300 pages like that fabulous introduction and set us up for what is to come with this series or give us everything in 500 pages. Personally I would take the 300 pages of solid world and character building. I’d have loved more of Kate with the horses and the development of her Wilder power but what we got was Kate hardly interacting with the horses at all and coming into her power in about 3 pages. After a lifetime of unconsciously suppressing that particular power that was impressive. I also would have liked some more of Carwin struggling with a past that clearly has had a massive effect on who he has become. Some more insight to the events that shaped him would’ve been amazing, instead we got vague snippets that once added up gave us an almost fuzzy picture, it all lacked heart or emotion or something. Maybe Carwin’s demons and feelings about his past will be addressed again in the next book but in this it felt like he was emotionally ‘healed’ and it lacked depth for me.
Something else that drove me absolutely crazy was something that probably shouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did. Dal is from Thornewall. Everyone takes off to Thornewall for a reason. Thornewall is mentioned a whole bunch of times. The map at the start of the book? Thorne Hall. There is no Thornewall on that map. This makes my brain crazy.
I was all set to give this 4 stars but after thinking on it this is actually a 3.5 star read for me. I hope I’ll want to continue with Kate and Carwin’s story but in all honesty, if the next book is another 500 pages and book 2 in a trilogy or longer series I’ll really have to think about continuing because this book was just too long and in my opinion lacked the real substance needed in order to hold my attention for 500 pages.
I yet again had a grand old time making a collage for this book. I really love books with horses! 😀