Unearthed (Unearthed #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner Review

I really enjoyed Unearthed and now I can’t wait for the second book to come out. Unearthed takes place in roughly the same universe as The Starbound Series but humans haven’t managed to leave Earth yet, they are still in the process of looking for hospitable planets.

Compared to These Broken Stars, Unearthed starts out very slow. It takes its time, establishing the world, the setting and the characters. In that, the beginning was a little dull and I couldn’t wait for the pace to pick up. And once the pace did pick up, it was even, with more than enough character growth and development.

Mia and Jules are the main protagonists and the authors do a great job of setting them up as complete opposites with such distinct personalities. Mia was the street-smart scavenger, having had to develop a skill-set that helps her survive on the streets. Jules, on the other hand, is the privileged son of a renowned and highly respected scholar, he’s had a comfortable life. That all to comes to a head when they are forced to put aside their differences and work together.

One of the things I most enjoyed in The Starbound Series was that often, it was the women who were willing to make the difficult decisions and were the more practical of the set (a trend that continued in The Illuminae Files series). I’m glad to say that that theme continues here. Mia was the more practical of the two. She was the more ruthless of the two and yet had an inherent sense of decency.

If Mia was the muscle in their partnership, then Jules was the brains. He was the one who could decode the glyphs in order to understand what happened to this ancient race and hopefully survive.

Even though they are very different people who come from very different worlds, they start to see each other as allies fairly quickly. And it felt organic and not forced in the least. They had their ups and downs but they managed to work through their issues. They also worked very well together, picking up each other’s slack. Of course they’re also a romantic pair and there was none of that insta-love nonsense, it grew organically.

The antagonist completely threw me off, I did not see that coming. There were enough twists and turns in Unearthed that just when you thought you had it all figured out, Kaufman and Spooner threw you off. The list of secondary characters was fairly short and of the lot, there was only one character that I liked.

Unearthed was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see more of this story unfold. I’m curious if it will be like The Starbound Series, in that every instalment, will have a new pair of protagonists or if we’ll stick with Mia and Jules, i’m inclined to believe that it will be the former.

Theory time (SPOILERS Lie Ahead): So, the end left me wondering. What if the Undying are actually humans from the future, from the same time-line as characters from The Starbound Series? It would make sense, considering that the ‘aliens’ say something like “let’s take Earth back.” If that’s the case, then they’ve figured out a way to travel back in time. Thoughts??


A Reylo Parallel and Other Musings

So, something just struck me. There are things about Kylo and Rey that either mirror each other or contrast with each other

At the beginning of the film, when Rey finds Luke and tells him that she’s looking for someone who can show her her place in wider scheme of things. She’s spent her entire life on her own and then she discovers that she has all these powers. She’s lost. She doesn’t know what to do with her gifts. She thinks that Luke can teach her and help her figure out her place.

Then you have Kylo/Ben. He’s convinced that he chose the right side. He’s committed to the Dark side of the force and sure that his teacher, Snoke is grooming him to be a powerful user of the Force. He might be conflicted and feel the pull of the Light, but he thinks that his place is with the Dark side.

By the end of the film, they both face a bit of a rude awakening. Rey finds out that Luke is not the legend she believed him to be. He’s not interested in teaching her. Add to that, he’s not completely honest with her when he talks about how Kylo attacked him and his students. Kylo, on the other hand, learns that Snoke was just manipulating him. Using him, just as his father warned him in TFA.

By the end of the film, their positions are reversed. Rey chooses the Light side and goes to the Resistance to help save them. Kylo is left behind, having killed his master, he thinks that he can now take over the First Order and be the Supreme Leader. He think he’s found his place but finds that it offers him no peace. This is reflected in their final scene together. Rey on the Falcon, looking sure and confident. And Kylo on his knees with his father’s dice in his hands, looking defeated. I think that’s the moment that it dawns on him that he made a mistake and he may have chosen the wrong path.

At their core, they’re both looking for the same thing, a sense of belonging. And I think they felt that through the Force Bond with each other. It’s why they gradually grew closer, let their guard down when they were together. They’re two people who grew disillusioned with the people that they looked up to, Kylo with Snoke and Rey with Luke. Rey, at least, having the Light side, is better off because she’s not constantly struggling against her own nature, the way Kylo is. He feels the pull of the light and he fights it and I believe that the pull has only gotten stronger. He’s in a constant state of turmoil.

I don’t think this Star Wars is about absolutes. A Force user who’s pure Light or one who’s pure Dark. Those were the ways of the Jedi and Sith. And as Luke and Yoda told us, the Jedi are dead. That’s not how the new generation of Force users will evolve. The lesson is that there is Dark and Light in all of us. Just as there is Light in Kylo, there is Dark in Rey. Just look at her face when she’s fighting the Praetorian Guards, and compare that to Obi Wan fighting, there is a look of calm on his face, while her face displays rage. She’s not channeling the Light in her during that fight. During TFA, Snoke tells Kylo that he feels compassion for the girl. Anakin defined compassion as unconditional love. The use of the word ‘compassion’ is not accidental.

Right now, both Kylo and Rey are thinking in terms of absolutes. Rey seeks to reject the Dark parts of her while Kylo wants to purge the Light parts of him. Neither will know true peace till they accept all of themselves. And in accepting those parts of themselves, they will grow to accept each other for who they are, without one trying to turn the other.

In my opinion, this new trilogy can’t end without a redemption arc for Kylo/Ben. It would have been too soon for it to happen in TLJ. For someone who has spent so many years under Snoke, working for the Dark side, it would not have been realistic to suddenly renounce everything he believed in. I think TLJ was laying the groundwork for his redemption and we will ultimately see that in episode 9. The cracks are already there and add Rey to that mix and it’s only a matter of time.

In order for true harmony and balance, Rey and Kylo/Ben must come together. They are the ones who are going to establish balance. In the PT, Qui-Gon thought that Anakin would bring balance to the Force and in the OT, Obi-Wan thought it would be Luke. They were both wrong, even Kylo, on his own can’t bring balance. But with Rey, they create true harmony where the Dark and Light are balanced. They need each other. There are too many parallels, too many things linking them for all of it to be one big coincidence.

In TFA, Kylo tells Vader’s mask that he will finish what he started, and I think he will, it just won’t be what he thought at the time. Anakin wanted to bring balance to the Force before he got seduced to the dark side, Kylo will bring that balance with Rey by his side. Two people who understand each other like no one else in the galaxy.

P.S. – I know that Poe and Rey only said hi in TLJ but I will mad as hell if they suddenly develop feelings for each other. I hope JJ Abrams doesn’t do that.. Any thoughts fellow reylo fans?

The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May Review

I really enjoyed The Fallen Kingdom. It works well as the final book in the series and ties up all the loose ends and offers a satisfying conclusion.

The Fallen Kingdom felt like a short read. It was fast paced and yet it didn’t feel hurried. The plot was a little convenient but that can be overlooked because just how much fun it was. It was also action-packed and weaved in well with the over-all plot.

The Falconer Series has some very interesting characters, both good and bad. One of the best aspects of this series is the number of grey characters. These characters change with their experiences. Even Aileana is very blood thirsty and ruthless character, something that she has to deal with. Then there is Kiaran, he is the Unseelie King and it’s in his nature to hunt humans and he constantly battles that. Aithinne and Catherine are probably the only two characters who are genuinely good and decent. Who haven’t let their circumstances turn them bitter.

I was also glad to learn that Aithinne is a lesbian, inclusivity is always good. I also liked the relationship between Aileana and Kiaran. I liked that Aileana refused to treat Kiaran as an object to be won. And Kiaran didn’t undermine Aileana. He saw her abilities and trusted her to get the job done.

I’ve always loved Derrick, he’s been one of my favourite characters since book 1 and he’s just as entertaining as always. Aithinne is hilarious and unflappable. She remains inherently good despite all that she’s gone through. One of the surprises this time was Sorcha. I was prepared to dislike her but The Fallen Kingdom humanises her. We learn of her humble origins and learn that while she is conniving and manipulative, she is a product of her childhood. That she had to be all of these things to survive.

The Fallen Kingdom may not be the strongest book of the series but it is still a fun read and a fitting end to the trilogy.

Reylo Thoughts – Post TLJ

So, I’ve seen The Last Jedi twice now (with the possibility of a third viewing) and I’ve been torn about what it could mean for Reylo going forward. I think there were some great moments of foreshadowing in the film and parallels if one was watching carefully. I will attempt to write about some of them in this post.

One of the things that struck me immediately was Ren’s demeanour in the Force Visions. In ‘real life’ he has a volatile disposition, quick to lose his temper, but in the Force Visions, he’s eerily calm. In fact, it’s Rey who is the more turbulent of the two. She even fires at him in their first encounter while he’s just sitting there. And even after that, Rey runs out, clearly still intent on attacking him while he runs out and skids to a stop. There’s no aggression in his body language. This is echoed throughout their Force Bond exchanges. It changes when Rey goes into the Dark pit and comes back shaken. She talks about how she felt so alone and Ren replies that she isn’t. His facial expression is very important here. It didn’t strike me during the first watch, but when I saw it again, his eyes were wet, like there were unshed tears. This was not a warrior of the dark side. We saw him open up to Rey long before she opened up to him. He never retaliated against her verbal assault, even going so far as to agree with her when she calls him a monster.

We know from the TFA that he felt even more conflicted after killing Han. And that conflict is worsened with his interactions with Rey. I think it’s safe to say that it’s not Kylo Ren she’s talking to but Ben Solo. Another key scene is when he goes after the Resistance after destroying his helmet. He knows Leia is on the bridge and there is a very specific cutaway to his thumbs on the trigger, he starts to press it but then chooses not to. And is shocked when his back-up fires anyway. See that scene carefully, his reaction is one of shock. Even in the build-up of the scene, there are tears in his eyes and he can clearly sense his mother. If the point of TLJ was to establish Ren as a villain, they did a very shoddy job of it.

Another thing that struck me was that Ren never lied to Rey. When Luke told Rey of how Ben turned on him, he wasn’t being completely honest. It is Kylo who offers more insight into the situation. Of course, his version is also incomplete and muddled because of what Snoke must have told him following that incident. I think it’s also important to understand, that Kylo thought his own uncle and mentor tried to kill him in his sleep, that has got to hurt. Even outside of that, he never tries to manipulate Rey.

Then there’s the scene of a shirtless Kylo Ren. This is a very typical trope, we’ve seen in so many romantic films/tv shows. It always involves people who are meant to be a couple. I’ve read the ‘official reason’ as to why that scene is there in the film and I call BS. That’s a flimsy excuse if I ever heard one. At no point did he have to be shirtless. And Rey’s reaction is to be flustered, she’s not unaffected here. There is no way this scene plays out as platonic. And when Rey says to him, right at the beginning of that scene something like she’d rather not do this now, his tone is telling. It’s dry with just a hint of humour. But she’s still mad at him.

I think the other thing that the Force Bond served to do was bring them closer. It made Rey see him as more than someone she hates. She finally sees him a human being, as someone who was let down by people he needed. Someone who’s as lost as she is. She sees someone who understands her pain, her loneliness, the isolation she’s felt all her life. In a lot of ways, they parallel each other. They’re the only two people who can truly understand what the other is going through.

The throne room scene is a very important one in the film for a number of reasons. First, I think that when Snoke reveals that he bridged their minds, that was a lie. If that was the case, that link would have ceased to exist with his death, but that clearly did not happen. I think they bonded when Kylo tried to read her mind in TFA and she read his mind instead. I think they inexplicably bonded without realising it and Snoke noticed that and tried to use it to his advantage. But he made a fatal mistake. Right before Kylo kills Han, Han tells him that Snoke is only using him for his powers and Snoke proves him right. Till then, Kylo thought that Snoke saw him and his potential and respected that. But that was not the case at all, Snoke was using him, exploiting his ‘weakness’.

The fight scene is also very interesting. The one thing that jumped out at me was the part where Rey seems to grab Kylo’s thigh/hip while leaning on his back and he literally lifts her with his butt, giving her the leverage to fight off one of the Praetorian guards. I mean, what was the point of that particular move? These fight scenes are meticulously choreographed and they’re very precise and it’s interesting that they chose to with that move. Can you imagine, during rehearsals and training, while they were coming up with ideas for the fight, someone brought up this idea and it was okayed by Rian Johnson, assuming it wasn’t his idea to begin with.

They also fight like they’ve been training together their entire lives. They’re so in sync with each other. They know where the other is at all times and are aware when they’re in danger. When Kylo sees that Rey is having a hard time, there is an urgency to his moves, like he wants to get to her faster. Similarly with Rey, when she notices that Ren is in danger, she doesn’t hesitate and throws him the lightsaber. That scene is also drives home the point that they had to work together. On their own, neither would have made it out, but together, they defeated the guards.

One of my favourite scenes was right after the fight when Rey asks him to call off the attack. When she realises that he won’t, there is such heartbreak on her face. But let’s look at it from Kylo’s point of view. His master and mentor had tried to kill him (Luke), he had killed his own father and then realised that Snoke had been using him all along. He was never going to with Rey, This was a man who’s entire world had just tipped over. Everything he believed about himself and his new teacher was a lie. When he says that he wants to destroy the old, he’s talking about all the things that held them back. Told them what was possible and what wasn’t. He was done with the First Order, with the Republic, with the Jedi and the Sith. He essentially chose no side. But more importantly, there is such desperation when he asks Rey to stay by his side. He is desperate, he’s finally found someone who didn’t lie to him. Who was his equal in power and truly saw him, not as a weapon to use but as person. She saw him. And you can see it in her face, she’s torn, there is a part of her that wants to take his hand, not to rule the galaxy, that’s not her ambition, but to simply stay with someone who truly understands her as well. But it’s the ‘please’ that gets me every time, the way his voice breaks when he says it. That’s what I mean that he’s desperate and hurting.

Also, can we talk about the fact that Rey woke up before Kylo and did not kill him. She even gave him back his lightsaber. If she truly thought he was evil, that was the perfect moment to get rid of him. He was unconscious. But she doesn’t kill him. I think it’s because she can still sense light in him, that there is a chance that he’ll come back to the light.

In episode 9, Rey will be back with the Resistance and I think she will still be plagued by her feelings of loneliness and isolation. There are no Jedi in the resistance, not even people who are force sensitive. And add to that, she and Kylo are still linked by the Force Bond and that will definitely play a roll in episode 9. I don’t think TLJ set up Kylo as a villain, if it wanted to make him irredeemable, they really messed up because the Kylo Ren we see at the end, is a broken man. He’s on his knees. When he and Rey look at each other, again, there is no rage on his part when only moments before he had been lashing out. He stays on his knees, his posture doesn’t change. And Rey also pauses, she doesn’t immediately shut the door on his face. She doesn’t lash out at him. She looks at him for a moment and then shuts the door. We then see him again, still on the floor, a tight close up of his eyes, tormented and torn, looking down at Han’s dice that Luke gave to Leia. When they fade, his hand curls around them. I think the big take away is that ultimately Kylo has to save himself. He started that process when he killed Snoke and ended the film even more conflicted than before.

Star Wars is big on foreshadowing and these films are so carefully crafted that you can’t discount anything as an accident. There aren’t any, everything you see in the film was intended to be there. The Skywalker line has been at the center of the first two trilogies and we know that Kylo and Rey are the central figures of this trilogy. There is no way that Kylo stays a villain or that he dies in episode 9. We already saw Anakin fall to the dark side, I don’t see Kylo falling for the same trap. The original trilogy ended with Vader’s redemption and death. I think episode 9 will end with Ben coming back to Rey. She is the light to his dark.

Just before leaving Ach-To, she asks Luke to come back with her one last time when he’s trying to convince her that going to Kylo is a bad idea. When he refuses yet again, Rey says that with him not participating, Kylo is their only hope. That’s not a random statement. Luke effectively ascended and therefore can no longer help the Resistance, that brings us back to Kylo. Rey is a badass and a prodigy, I’m not undermining her abilities, but she can’t fight the First Order alone, she needs Ben by her side, fighting the way they fought against the Praetorian guards.

I think Kylo Ren as the big bad is a misdirect. He is going to find his way back to the light. I think the character that will emerge as the big bad is General Hux. I don’t know how many people noticed this but he looked positively sick in the film. More pasty than in TFA, he had dark circles and he looked gaunt. I think there is a slim chance that Snoke survived being skewered by being linked to Hux. Even if that’s not the case, he’s still very much a threat to Kylo. He hates his guts and would have happily killed him had Kylo not woken up when he did.

As far as love interests go, TLJ paired Rose and Finn and Kylo/Ben and Rey. I am worried that episode 9 may try to force a Poe and Rey romance but that would be bad writing, for one, they had their first encounter in TLJ. Setting up a relationship in episode 9 is simply too late. There are no stakes for the audience and no emotional investment, the way we are invested in Rose and Finn and Kylo and Rey.  Besides, i think Poe’s journey is different, that of becoming a leader.

But tell me what you think? This meta is nowhere as organised as I wanted it to be. But I am looking forward to reading what you guys think.

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodi Meadows Review

Due to work, my reading has seriously dipped, still, I’m glad I picked this up. It was a very pleasant surprise. I’m not too familiar with Jodi Meadows, but based on this book, I do want to check out her other works.

Before She Ignites is a fast-paced YA Fantasy. It has a great heroine and a compelling plot. Did I mention dragons? Yep, they’re there too. My only complaint with the book was that we didn’t spend nearly enough time with the dragons as I wish we had.

Mira is the protagonist. Having an all-important treaty named after you is no easy task, turns out it’s a lot to live up to. I loved Mira from the beginning. She’s not physically skilled nor is she some great tactician. She’s just a regular girl who’s powerful because of her station but has no other power outside of that. She is also one of the few YA heroines who genuinely cares about her appearance. But it’s not because she’s vain or vapid but because, all her life, she’s been told it’s her only asset. Her intelligence and opinions are constantly belittled. After years of hearing this from her mother, it’s an idea that she’s internalised, believing that her only asset is her beauty.

Mira also suffers from panic attacks and they were so well written and described that it was easy to imagine what she was going through. Her coping mechanism of counting was also handled well. I liked that the panic attacks were a constant, they didn’t suddenly disappear halfway through the book.

I also really liked Ilina, Mira’s best friend and wingsister. Their bond of friendship was refreshing and I was so glad that the emphasis, in this book at least, was firmly on friendship. Completing their trio was Hristo, Mira’s friend and protector. I hope we see more of them in the next instalments.

Aaru, the quiet boy from the cell next to her is shaping up to be the love interest. But I was so thrilled that there was next-to-no romance in Before She Ignites. Aaru is an ally, first and foremost, one of the first people who tries to help her when she’s sent to the pit and he does it with no ulterior motive. I liked him and his quiet quality. He was a soothing presence in an otherwise dark and chaotic world.

The other secondary characters were also well written, I especially liked Chenda and Gerel. Two of Mira’s prisonmates who become allies due to necessity.

Altan was the chief antagonist along with another character (who’s name I won’t spoil here) and I only wish that we learn more about the antagonists, not in terms of backstory but just more details.

I have a special dislike for Mira’s family who treated her so poorly, from her father’s disinterest, her mother’s constant disappointment and her sister’s apathy, she could not have wished for a worse family. She had no support on that front. Seriously, I think I like the antagonists better than her family.

As it is, I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series and hope that we learn more about this world and Mira and her friends, not to mention the dragons.

Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter #10) by Nalini Singh Review

This was relatively enjoyable. I liked Honor and while Venom has never been on my list of characters I like from this series, he was surprisingly likeable. Overall, I liked the relationship and I liked that they were more evenly matched than some of the other couples in this series.

My gripe is with the plot, the main plot was fine. A little bit of Uram which is threatening to overtake Honor was a good idea especially since I didn’t see it coming. I think a lot of readers expected the powers to be overtaking her since her body was not ready but that couldn’t be further from what ended up happening. My problem was the secondary plot, the fact that it turned out to be Charisemnon who was behind her kidnapping attempt or that it was linked to him felt too far fetched. All I could think of when I read the reveal was “really?” It felt off and contrived.

Archangel’s Viper, like its predecessor doesn’t really pull the larger plot further. In fact, the events in the two books take place simultaneously with each other. So now that’s two books with self-contained plots. Are we waiting for Lijuan to wake up? It would be a little unrealistic for her to wake up so soon after going to Sleep. And coming up with a new villain doesn’t make sense since Singh spent so much time building her up as the big bad, a new villain at this point will just feel half baked. I hope the next book is different in that regard. As it was Archangel’s Viper felt more like paranormal romance with a more heavy emphasis on romance.

I did like that Michaela continues to be a complicated and layered character and each passing book, adds a little bit more to her. It is the same for Neha who is not simply cruel the way Charisemnon is. She continues to be a warrior. If only she hadn’t been so blinded where own daughter was concerned. It was good to see Illium coming back to himself and seeing that he wasn’t very reasonable where Aodhan is concerned.

My one problem with Singh’s books continues to be the use of the Hindi words. It’s my mother tongue so one could say that I’m familiar with it. Her use of the words sounds really weird, like someone not used to speaking the language. And words like ‘jaanu’ made me cringe. Words like that are only ever used in the cheesiest of cheesy films. As for ‘bhai’ which means brother in Hindi, it would have been better to use to ‘bhaiya’ which is more commonly used for elder brother. It’s the little things like this that immediately pull me out of the story because it’s so jarring.

Archangel’s Viper is a fun addition to the series if not particularly memorable.

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff Review

Where do I even begin with Godsgrave? To say that Jay Kristoff revels in the misery of his readers would be an understatement (and I mean that in the best sense possible). If Nevernight took me time to get used to the writing style and the world, I jumped right into Godsgrave and didn’t come up for air till I finished it. I tried pacing myself but it was virtually impossible.

I literally just finished the book and I’m reeling from it. The world is as rich as ever and the cast of characters keeps growing and most are people that you can’t help but root for and it’s a pity because, it’s a given that most will not survive the end. The pace in Godsgrave felt faster than the previous book’s and the scope of the book is also broader. While in Nevernight, the world was largely limited to the Ashkahi wastelands and the Red Church, Godsgrave goes beyond to the world outside, the rich cities of the Itreyan empire.

The world of The Nevernight Chronicles is heavily influenced by the Roman empire, towards the beginning of its downfall. There are riches to be found, both in terms of wealth as well as the beauty of the grand structures that are highlighted in the book. But there is also a deep rot in the system. A corruption that has gone long unnoticed and even thrived under the rulers. When Kristoff describes a beautiful structure, he undercuts its beauty by revealing who actually built it, the countless slaves with no alternative but to do as they’re told. It is one of the aspects I really enjoyed while reading Godsgrave.

In the previous book, Mia had to compete with other people her age to be accepted as an assassin for the Red Church. Godsgrave picks up a little after the events of Nevernight. Mia is an assassin and is being sent out to kill people and she’s really good at it. But as it happens, her life is headed in another direction. Just when she thinks that she has what she wants and can soon set her sights to those who wronged her and her family, she receives a setback. She learns that the Red Church isn’t what she thought it was leaving her disillusioned and with no idea what to do or who to trust. Her quest to handle things her own way with two surprising allies leads her to the gladiator matches. During much of Godsgrave, Mia spends her time training with the other gladiators and planning how to take down Duomo and Scaeva.

Like The Lotus Wars Trilogy, The Nevernight Chronicles also has a large number of characters and the list just keeps on growing. The gladiators were a fun bunch and I liked most of them so I knew immediately that things would not end well (I have learnt my lesson from the previous Kristoff books) Of the lot, I really liked Maggot, Bryn, Byern, Sidonius and Bladesinger. They were such an eclectic bunch and so much fun to read about. And yet, even the other gladiators weren’t just mindless fighters. They had hopes and dreams of winning their freedom. Even here, the rot of the empire was plainly evident. Many of the gladiators had been bought because their families had been unable to pay their debtors and the rest had been kidnapped by slavers, while a small percentage had been criminals who were good fighters. The person I liked least in Godsgrave was Furian, the undefeated gladiator from the same collegium. An idiot with a head full of superstition and false notions of honour. He was by far the most annoying character in the book, way more than the actual bad guys, Scaeva and Duomo. I even liked Leona, trying so hard to make her father pay for what he did to her and her mother, wanting to succeed in a field where women didn’t have a place and the odds rigged against them.


One of the best moments of the book was when Ashlinn came back. She had been my favourite character in the previous book and it was the same in Godsgrave. I love her relationship with Mia and the fact that they came close enough to be their true selves with each other. Ashlinn was brave and single-minded in her quest to help Mia achieve her objective. And Ashlinn didn’t try to hide her feelings for Mia and never lied about them, always facing them head-on knowing that Mia might never forgive her for what happened to Tric. Her personality was sunny as always and it was fun to see her brand of lightness in an otherwise bleak and dark world. She always spoke her mind and didn’t let anyone brow-beat her. I love Ashlinn.

Mia, what can I say about her? She’s a strange mix of bloodthirsty and a fighter for those who can’t fight for themselves. We see these two sides of her warring with each other more and more as the series progresses. She wants to kill those who took her family from her but she also wants to help protect the weak and defenseless and the people who are important to her. I loved that she finally trusted Ash enough to open up to her.

I loved the way their relationship grew in Godsgrave. It was clear to anyone who had eyes that Ash liked Mia as more than a friend, even tried to protect her, seemingly at the cost of her own revenge against the Red Church. But at the time Mia was with Tric and didn’t pay much attention to Ash’s deeper feelings. But here, they wouldn’t be dismissed. And it was pleasant to see that it was a slow awakening for Mia, discovering her own sexuality. It was done well and Kristoff didn’t cut any corners here. Their relationship was one of the high-points of the book.  A note for book 3: there is a trope in media called bury your gays because more often than not, the gay/lesbian character dies and only serves to drive the protagonist back into the arms of the heterosexual love interest and I hope that doesn’t happen to Mia and Ash. They’ve both had such crappy lives that I want them to be happy in the end, happy together.

Now, for some theories. In the end, Ash sees Tric but I don’t think it’s Tric. It’s just a Shadow that’s taken his appearance. We know from that chapter about Mister Kindly and Eclipse, that the shapes they carry now are not what they had always carried and also that Mister Kindly had considered taking Mia’s father’s shape but decided against it because the shape of the kitten had been simpler to assume. I think this is the same Shadow that helped Mia when she was trying to escape after killing Gaius Aurelius. I think it’s the same thing but at the time it didn’t have a shape that would be familiar to Mia. Also, I think it heard Mia when she killed Furian and their shadows merged together, making her stronger. If this ShadowTric wants Mia to indeed to “seek the crown of the moon” then killing Ash doesn’t help forward that plan. If however it saves Ash from the Red Church, well then, that’s a different story.

Godsgrave was every bit as thrilling as Nevernight and worse, it ends on a cliffhanger and I have no idea how to survive knowing that the third book is not even close to being finished? The wait will be agonising!

P.S. – the artwork in the B&N copies were beautiful and I was fortunate to get a copy with Jay Kristoff’s autograph on it! 😁