This book was actually pretty amazing. I have to say my expectations were pretty high since I had just finished the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy (and loved them), and this book really did live up to my expectations. It was pretty hard to get into at first, but eventually, the story got going and I couldn’t put it down!
This book is the first in a series and it revolves around Bryce Quinlan, a half-human, half-fae female who is involved in the murder of her best friend. Bryce follows leads and with the help of her “friend” Hunt Athalar – a fallen angel – they find out who is behind the murders and what the causes of them were. The murders also tie in with a few other plotlines that the characters were investigating. A magic horn that can only be used by a “Starborn Fae” went missing and tied into the investigation as well as a synthetic drug named “Synth”.
I actually really loved the plotline. It started off a little slow since we were being introduced to all of the characters and Danika and the Pack of Devils, however once the search for the murderer began, I got really into it. There were a ton of plot twists I wasn’t expecting at all, which only made me dive deeper into the book and the characters.
Speaking of characters, Bryce Quinlan is exactly the strong female lead that I needed for this book. She was written perfectly and it was really cool throughout the book to have someone without much power, without being immortal, but still being as strong as anyone else. I loved how she was always her own person and had her own emotions instead of being controlled by a male character. I think that this book portrayed her perfectly and gave us everything we needed to understand her as a character while also being surprised by each action she took. I don’t know about you, but I was really surprised about the whole Starborn Fae thing. Bryce was overall a really good and well-written character and I loved her as the lead for the book.
Hunt Athalar was also a lead for this book and he was strong from the beginning. With each chapter, we learned more about his past in the rebellion which I found really interesting. I really loved how Hunt acted tough on the outside but we could actually see how he reacted to Bryce and how he cared more than he let on. I really enjoyed seeing him grow into a character that doesn’t just care about the rebellion, and he becomes more of a person than just a slave.
I also loved the character of Ruhn Danaan. Even though Ruhn is a prince, he doesn’t show it often. He was a very protective character of Bryce since she is his sister, however, the rest of the world does not know that. I admire him for believing in his sister and letting her make her own decisions, even when Bryce can clearly make some very irrational decisions. I think that Ruhn will be a character that will be a lot more present in the next few books because his strength and position as a prince are vital to the rebellion and ranking systems that take place in Crescent City.
“Through love, all is possible.”
The setting of this book takes place in Crescent City. More specifically, Bryce’s apartments, the Gallery, the Comitium, and the Old Square. I really loved the settings of this book and they were all described beautifully.
Bryce’s old apartment was the setting for the first few chapters of the book. Danika and the Pack of Devils were present there and that is where the murder of her friends took place. Once Danika was killed, however, Bryce moved into a new apartment that was described as a lot fancier since it had been bought already. I really liked this setting and I think it acted as a sort of sanctuary for Bryce and Hunt during their investigation. It was more of a safe spot to take a minute and think, even with a demon in the apartment!
The Gallery was Bryce’s place of work, employed by Jesiba Roga. I actually found this setting super interesting. There was a library full of ancient artifacts gathered downstairs including a book that stood out to me when reading. The Book of Breathings. The book of Breathings was the book used in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series that disabled the cauldron, and I found it really funny to see it also in a library with Bryce Quinlan. It just shows how Sarah J. Maas has combined these two worlds, even if they are at different times with different characters.
The Comitium was mainly where Hunt worked and met his friends. There were also people imprisoned in the basement underneath, however, this is where Hunt lived before Bryce was in the picture. It wasn’t the main setting but I liked how it was described and I imagined a sort of police quarters since that’s what Hunt and his friends were.
The Old Square includes Bryce’s apartment and is close to the Gallery but it is where the main part of the plot takes place. The Old Square is always busy according to Hunt in the novel, and also contained one of the seven gates in Crescent City that eventually were used as the portals to “Hel”. A lot happens with our time in this setting and I really loved how it stayed the same from the beginning of the book to the end.
“Light it up!”
As always, Sarah J. Maas doesn’t fail to surprise me with how amazing her writing is. She is an amazing world builder and I could visualize every action, setting or character described.
I absolutely love the writing in this book. It is easy to follow along and is clear with each word.
I definitely recommend this book. Don’t stop in the first couple of chapters! It takes a while for the story to actually get going, but once it does, every fantasy lover will absolutely love this book. I can’t wait to find out more about this world and where it will take me!
Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐