Size Doesn’t Matter (184): The Library of Fates; A Poison Dark and Drowning

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (184): The Library of Fates; A Poison Dark and DrowningThe Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Published by Razorbill on July 18, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 354
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

I really wanted The Library of Fates both because diverse fantasy and also because THAT COVER. The cover’s still my favorite part of the book, but it was pretty good, despite not using my favorite tropes.

The Library of Fates was a really slow starter for me. I actually even considered DNFing, because the opening was pretty bland. Amrita’s been offered in trade to a creepy and dangerous ruler (Sikander) of another country, but she’s realizing she has sexy feels for her best friend. The timing isn’t ideal. I do love that Amrita’s dad, despite initially agreeing to let her be the dude’s umpteenth wife, meets him again after years and is like “ABSOLUTELY NO WILL NOT UH UH” and works to change the treaty with Sikander.

Things pick up when Amrita leaves the palace…for reasons. Then I sort of fell into the magic of it, and I did enjoy reading to the end. Elements are very creative and daring. View Spoiler » I would have loved more character development, though. I never felt anything for either of Amrita’s love interests at all; they’re both flat and lacking complexity. View Spoiler » The only relationship that I really liked was Amrita and Thala, and I’ll admit I got some feels from that final scene.

On the whole, I’d have loved this one, if only it had more dynamic characters. I’d love to have felt the romance between Amrita and her childhood friend, and the pain of having to leave him in danger. There’s no attempt made to even establish romantic feelings about the second love interest, aside from him being hot. It’s a good book, but the emotional was mostly lacking for me, which always gives me a sad. And it also means this one almost immediately started fading from my memory.

The Library of Fates is a beautiful sophomore effort, but it will appeal more to plot readers than character or romance readers most likely.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (184): The Library of Fates; A Poison Dark and DrowningA Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #2
Published by Random House BFYR on September 19, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn't need a prophecy to know that she's in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook's system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

Before I read A Poison Dark and Drowning, I reread A Shadow Bright and Burning, which very much held up. These books are just so much fun, with a well-drawn cast and world building/plotting that just keep better. They’re even fun when they stab you in the feels, which A Poison Dark and Drowning very does.

I continue to love the way that Cluess plays with the idea of the Chosen One trope. Now, Henrietta’s pretty sure that she isn’t the chosen one of the prophecy, and she’s really not sure what to do with herself. Also, she’s not sure how to balance being both magician and sorcerer. The girl’s a hot mess basically, but at least she has chemistry with basically every other character. Unfortunately, her lack of security manifests in refocusing on her relationship with Rook, aka mentally rolling back to the last time she knew who she was. Rook continues to just be the worst.

There’s so little I can talk about without spoilers, but MY GOD do I want to talk to people about this book, because I really have no idea what to expect from book three, and it BURNS. View Spoiler » The plot moves at a brisk, unputdownable pace, and absolutely everyone faces massive amounts of pain and terrible choices, which is ideal in a fantasy tbh.

Often, fantasy trilogies struggle with that middle volume, feeling like they’re marking time, drawn out and slow. That absolutely does not happen here. Though it’s Henrietta’s POV, there’s such a strong character arc for her whole crew, which I love. Blackwood, my darling, we need to have a talk. Magnus, my baby, take this gigantic hug. I also absolutely love that the solution for how to defeat their enemies comes with a massive cost. Absolutely nothing comes easily, and it’s beautiful and terrible.

This series continues to improve. Those who loved A Shadow Bright and Burning will be thrilled with this installment (though also in pain), and people who were on the fence may be won over by this new level of intensity.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (184): The Library of Fates; A Poison Dark and Drowning”

  1. Noooooo I don’t want to be in pain!!! (Even though that makes for the best books). Now I’m scared but still excited, where’s that Jessie Spano gif when I need it…
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