This mini review post is all about endings. All three of the books are the last ones in their series. I promise there will be no spoilers for any of them.
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
“Would that we all knew the cracked terrain of each other’s broken hearts. Perhaps then, we would not be so cruel to those who walk this lonely world with us.”
This book was definitely worth the wait. It was an almost perfect ending for a really great series. Why almost perfect? Well we got some chapters from the Nightbringer’s perspective which I loved, but I thought there would be a lot more about Keris and why she is the way she is. We only get one very short chapter from her perspective and that just wan’t enough. I wanted more backstory on her and the Nightbringer’s arrangement and how they met, ect. Other than that, the story was really great!
Most of the characters make it through to the end, although there are some very sad deaths. The one secondary character that I really came to like in this one was Musa. He had some really good insights into everyone’s lives and feelings and he was also sometimes the comic relief of the story. I was very worried about Elias story line going into this story, but ended up being very pleased with how his arc went. Laia’s flirting with Elias was delicious as was Harper’s and Helene’s burgeoning relationship.
The plot of this book is rather complex, with a lot of moving pieces, which sometimes slowed down the pacing, but it was still a really hard book to put down. If you have not yet picked this series up, now would be a really good time. I also would recommend the audio books as they are very well done with different people reading for the different narrators.
The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
“A demoness is what men call a goddess they cannot control.”
This was also a very well done series ending. There wasn’t as much character development as in the first book, but I was okay with that. This duology was more about the world building and the plot anyways, so it was ok to not have the characters grow that much. Except for perhaps Odessa, she does come into her own in this book, and I ended up liking her a lot more by the end than I had at the end of book one.
The world is the most interesting part of this story. Not just in it’s interesting magical system, but the well developed mythology of the twin goddesses and the sacrifices they make to have their world be prosperous and healthy. There was a little bit of an environmental message hidden in this story, which I did really like. I also really liked the depiction of the Cruel Kingdom and the horrors of the different levels. As well as the creepy shadows that kept attacking everyone was also interesting.
Odessa and Haidee finally get the answers that they have been searching for, and come to an understanding with their mothers. I actually cam to like their moms a bit more in this book and the difficult choices that they both made. Arjun’s and Haidee’s relationship is still my favorite although Lan and Odessa did grow on me the second time around.
A solid duology that is certain work taking a look at. I recommend the audiobooks also for this one. There is a full cast, one for each of the narrators, and they all do a great job.
The Burning Kingdoms by Sally Green
The Smoke Thieves series
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
This is such an underrated series that more people really need to get their hands on. There are some great characters, a very interesting plot with some good twists, some romance, lots of killing, some very gruesome scenes, and a really interesting magical system. (Not a big fan of the US cover art, which may have something to do with it’s lack of popularity.)
There are a lot of narrators, 7 I think, which makes things a bit complex, but they are all such great people, that you really fall in love with all of them. Well, except for maybe Harold, but he only has a couple of chapters. He really is despicable, and gets his just desserts in the end, so that is ok. The others are all wonderful with Tash and Ambrose being my favorite two. Tash is just so delightful and such a brave young girl who endures a lot in this story. Ambrose is such a sweet and lovable guy, who by the end of the story I just wanted to give so many hugs to.
I am going to be up front about the violence in this series, especially in this book. There is a lot and most of it is rather graphic in nature. There is a boy army, in this and they commit some pretty atrocious acts, because they are ordered to and because of the effects of the demon smoke. But the depiction of how they are recruited and inducted into this life is pretty realistic of what I know about kids being used in wars. There are many in the ranks who start to question all of it by the end of the book, which was also well done.
The ending is a little rushed and a little bit too easy maybe? Without giving anything away, let’s just say that the end of the war is way too easy on everyone. There were times when I did think everyone was going to die, but luckily almost everyone does survive and get what they want out of their lives.
Over all I really enjoyed this series. I recommend it to any one who likes a diverse cast of characters, lots of political intrigue, wonderful romances and doesn’t mind some graphic violence. The concept of the demon smoke, which is the only magic in the story, is very original and a very interesting part of the story. I can’t wait to see what this author come up with next!
I do hope that you found these reviews helpful and hopefully have made you want to pick up these series. All three of them are ones that I highly recommend.