Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4.5 stars Series: yes - last book in trilogy
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY and A HEART OF FIERCE AND BROKEN*
Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.
Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.
As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
I was really looking forwards to this finale, and binging the previous instalments ahead of reading it only made me more eager. It was very good, and I was very frustrated at having to put it down part way through because of a buddy read (I like to just go for it when I am sucked into a book).
This is a big action book, with two armies getting ready for war and unstable governments, which means assassination attempts. There are secrets and tensions between the couples, not to mention their advisors and soldiers, which destabilises their attempts to move forwards. It is well paced, with just enough down time for sweet moments between characters to off-set the relentless pacing of approaching war.
I loved seeing Harper again – all that impulsive, reckless fight. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Rhen’s chapters again, given I’ve always been a bit on the fence about him, but the way his actions in HEART were dealt with was very good.
The one thing that really pulled this book back from a full five stars was the fact that POVs aren’t well blended. The book starts off with a massive chunk of Harper and Rhen, and then a chunk of Grey and Lia Mara. I see why the book does that, but it did feel a little unintegrated, like they were separate stories to start with. It also felt like the story focused on two things: Grey and Rhen, and Harper and Rhen.
So I do love the tense relationship between the brothers, and the fact that it was the centre of this book was great. It’s complicated and got a lot of history to untangle. Plus, I prefer Grey over Rhen, so it makes sense that I’d like his story being one of the main ones. Plus tangled love, loyalties, and pasts is always a theme I love to explore.
However, it made Lia Mara feel very underused and tacked on at times. It felt like she wasn’t doing much, in the background of this story about the brothers, because she didn’t have the connection to them Harper did. I checked how many chapters each character got, and was surprised that Lia Mara actually got 11 (vs Harper and Rhen with 14 each and Grey with 12) because I was expecting her to have half that as that’s about as much as it felt like she was allowed to contribute to the story. Particularly at the end, where she wasn’t really involved, it was a bit as if she’d been forgotten.
I am excited for the next series from Brigid Kemmerer, DEFY THE NIGHT (and glad the first one comes out in the Autumn.)
Read my reviews of other books by Brigid Kemmerer:
Cursebreakers (this series):
Forging Silver into Stars (chronologically after this series):
Defy the Night:
- DEFY THE NIGHT (#1)