ARC Review: SERENADE by Avery Ames

I received an eARC from the author (whom I know) in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blue drawing of two people in a cave
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: second book



Book cover for SERENADE: title in white below drawing of two people in a cave

Cirelle has survived her first encounter with the cruelty of the fae, including the machinations of her charming sidhe host Ellian. Unable to forgive him for his past lies, the flames that once flickered between Cirelle and Ellian have gone cold. However, the ruthless fae prince Adaleth still seeks to close the gates between their worlds, and Cirelle must work alongside Ellian to stop him.

Worse, Cirelle accidentally claimed a pair of cursed knives that now speak to her in dreams, in whispers of violence and blood. They tell her secrets, things only the shadows see. But she’s not the only one who wants the blades, and some are willing to go to any length–even murder–to take them.

Cirelle uses the knives and their forbidden knowledge in the quest to stop Adaleth, making risky bargains and delving further into the danger of the faerie realm. But the arrival of an old friend from her former life, an obnoxious newcomer, and the rekindling of her spark with Ellian will lead Cirelle into a reckless pact with a manipulative faerie that may leave scars on her soul forever.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


SERENADE is a great follow-up that goes darker and digs deeper into messy relationships.

One thing I always appreciate about sequels is going to new places, and this book does that. There are new locations (forests where you have to keep silent, hostile courts etc) and also some really creepy new monster/faeries and there are some returning minor characters who get larger roles (who do manage to top the new faeries for sheer unnervingness/nope-factor.)

Cirelle is once again the main narrator, but Ellian gets more page time (yay). However, there’s also a new third POV – Lydia. (There are a few scenes from Adaleth’s POV, but they’re few and far between so I won’t count him as a proper narrator.) It was nice to spend more time with Ellian, and also get a new perspective on Cirelle.

Something I appreciated about this book was that it really felt like there was a valid reason to break Cirelle and Ellian apart once they’d gotten together. I often feel like (as an aroacespec reader) the reasons breaking up romantic couples are just there because the plot needs them to be apart, but I couldn’t fault the logic here and it made me invest more in their relationship, feel like it was a real barrier to somehow overcome.

The relationships take the central stage in this book, and are very humanly messy, which are very satisfying to watch unravel and then snarl into a total mess. It’s the fun sort of constantly wishing you could grab a character and go “nope, nope, don’t do this, dear.” It’s all completely in character for them, which is why it works so well, the inevitability of it and then the chaos that follows.

SERENADE gets very dark at times, playing into the darker side of faerie lore. The faeries and humans can have mean streaks and use them in this book, so if you’re into dark fantasy, this is one book that doesn’t skimp on the dark (and certainly doesn’t use use it as an aesthetic.)

The ending is, in keeping with that, very dark and certainly sets up a dangerous and interesting scenario for the next and final book, CODA, which is out next year!

Read my reviews of other books by Avery Ames:

Faerie Concerto (this series):

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