ARC Review: Stolen Beauty #2

Ruling Destiny by Alyson Noel

Publication Date: June 6, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

The second I stepped through the doors of Gray Wolf Academy, my world disintegrated. Here, time is malleable. It can be manipulated, shifted. Changed. And for those of us who Trip—or travel through time—the possibilities are infinite and perilous.

Now my life is caught in the secrets of everyone around me. Arthur, the eccentric billionaire who rules this school. Killian, who could be the only honest person here…or the biggest liar. And Braxton, magnetic, gorgeous, and unfathomable. The only thing I trust about him is our electric connection.

Whether we’re Tripping through Renaissance Italy or thieving from a ball in Regency England, my life’s become a web of lies and strange truths. And beneath the surface is an elaborate puzzle, filled with cryptic symbols and priceless treasures scattered across history—all somehow connected to my strange ability to see through time.

But Arthur has a dangerously ambitious agenda. And if what my dad taught me is true, I’m not just a threat to everyone at Gray Wolf.

…I’m a threat to time itself.

ARC provided by Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.


There was a lot that I really liked about this second book, but there were a few things that I really really didn’t like and unfortunately these few things kind of hindered my enjoyment of the book. I don’t want to dwell on these few things so I am going to start with what I didn’t like.

Natasha really got on my nerves this time around. I had a few issues with her in the first book, but these issues were really prevalent here. Her total self centered attitude and her constant whining were just too much this time around. I also had trouble with her attitude toward Elodie, and why she thinks she is out to sabotage her all the time. Some of her issues come from the paranoia she is constantly feeling at Gray Wolf Academy and I get that, but it just seemed a bit much.

The love triangle thing didn’t work for me and there was way too much focus on it. Also, Nat does this thing towards the end that I don’t want to spoil, but it just felt so wrong for her character. But I did really enjoy the banter between Nat and Killian. I really like both Braxton and Killian, even when one of them turns out to be the villain.

Finally, there were some ‘big reveals’ towards the end, that fell totally flat, mostly because I had already figured them out, some even in the first book. This book also didn’t feel like it was moving the main story line along either. It was just stuck on Nat’s love life and anxiety.

What I really liked about this book is the setting and the whole time travel sections. I love that this group of kids go back in time to steal, or sometimes purchase, great works of art, so that Arthur can supposedly save them. The author does a pretty good job of describing the historical places they go and all that they eat and wear. You can feel what it is like to be there. I also really liked the link between the tarot cards and numerology and how they related to historical events. This was added into the narrative very seamlessly. The pacing was for the most part fast, and with the short chapters I felt like I flew through this book.

The characters are also well written and except for Nat getting on my nerves, I really enjoyed the diverse cast of characters. I just wish that Nat spent a bit more time interacting with some of them. Mason is suppose to be her best friend but she spent little time with him. Although there are a few scenes that were very sweet and I just loved those.

I know that a lot of people will have issue with the keeping secrets and the miscommunications that run rampant in this one, but for once this didn’t bother me. Mostly because it fit with the setting. Everyone is paranoid and everyone knows that they are constantly being watched. How could you tell your secrets or even communicate with others when you know it might be recorded and used against you? When you can’t trust anyone, not even your boyfriend, then you tend to keep a lot to yourself.

This was a second book and it left a lot of things unanswered. I am looking forward to reading the third book and hopefully all will be revealed, like what is Arthur really up to? If you like time travel and dark academia mixed with a bit of mystery and intrigue this is a series you want to be adding to your TBR list.

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