Author- Jessica Thorne
Series- sequel of Mageborn
Genre- Epic fantasy
POV- 4 POV switching, third person, past tense
Trope- the chosen one, magic, royalty, god/goddess
Steam level- 2/5
Cover– I wasn’t a huge fan
Grace Marchant has been many things: streetwise orphan, rebellious servant, and now beloved companion of PrinceBastien, heir to the throne of Larelwynn. But their sunlit happiness is not destined to last. The golden magic which brought them together in purest passion is threatened by strange and ancient forces. Innocent people are becoming nightborn – cruel, deadly, unrecognisable to their loved ones – and these two young lovers are the only ones with power enough to stop it.
In times of peace, striking a deal with their closest enemy would be unthinkable, but now their only hope is to ally with the neighbouring Valenti royal family: manipulative, cunning, and always with an eye on the Larelwynn throne. The partnership comes at a devastating price… if Grace wants to defeat the nightborn, she must watch Bastien marry a Valenti princess.
Grace knows she must make this heart-wrenching sacrifice for the good of the whole kingdom – but she also fears the magic in her veins, usually so warm and bright, is turning cold as deepest midnight. A beguiling darkness whispers to her from within. Is Grace herself becoming nightborn?
Time is running out. With Bastien promised to another, and a stony distance growing between them, will Grace find the source of the nightborn curse before every last soul is consumed by the darkness
I just started this sequel and the excessive pronouns and fragments are already jumping out at me. So, since this seems to be a writing pattern for this author, I’ll try to just mention it this once and move along with the plot. Hopefully I can ignore those aspects because I really liked the concept of the first book.
Character Development- hhmm, honestly not sure. If I try really hard, I’d say Grace has the opportunity to learn that she’s not just a “nobody” and Bastien has the opportunity to stop sacrificing himself for others … maybe.
Best part- The cave during her screams
What I would change- The characters’ behaviors conflicted with their words/thoughts too often so I didn’t find them believable.
Setting- The other kingdom was cool and I liked the scene in the cave. That was very visual.
Prose- frustrating with the unclear style. I had to reread often to understand what was happening.
Theme- light vs dark, the choices we make.
Vivid sensory descriptions- average
Dialogue- below average because it was often difficult to determine who was talking
Inclusivity- multiple MM/FF side-character relationships. I know at least one secondary character to be Black, unsure of others.
Conflict/tension/obstacles– many were thrown at them, but they reacted more than had agency. I also didn’t really care much that all the city was infested with Nightborn because I wasn’t given a direct reason to care since it didn’t threaten the main characters much
Thoughts while reading-
Chapter 4- it’s not clear who’s POV I’m in & head hopping is happening more often.
Page 59- “I think it marked you.” – what the heck does that mean? Will he wed a princess? Will they find their friend? Will the Hollow King ever take the thrown? What will Celeste do? What is Aurelie’s plan? Will Grace and Bastien live happily ever after?
Page 103- I’m a bit frustrated. When chapters start it takes me 2-3 pages to figure out whose head I’m in, which isn’t good and makes me want to put the book down. A random side character, Danny’s big brother had his own chapter. And for a fantasy romance, there’s not enough prioritizing on the romance.
Chapter 11- I’m still frustrated. Bastien should have way more magic to fight back against this. And it feels like a replica of the first book/redone.
Page 116- oh man, that made me smile. Well done
Chapter 13- awesome chapter
Page 174- when it says Bastien isn’t intimidated by anyone… I don’t believe that. I feel as if his character has been too inconsistent between powerful/alpha and not
Halfway- I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I’m still frustrated. I keep wanting to set the book down. I’m unsure the exact cause. I feel exhausted from ‘something.’ Maybe the repetition? Maybe the constant reacting instead of agency. Maybe the inconsistency of a clear path of the story. I’m unsure.
Chapter 21- ugh, seriously? Grace has gone back and forth a million times. Pick one.
Page 232- I’m also tired of their repetitive apologizing, then responding with “it’s not your fault,” out loud but their internal dialogue not matching that sentiment.
Chapter 22- annoyed that the same problem is happening to multiple characters. We’re just cycling thru the same issue in different people.
Page 256- I feel like we keep talking in circles. Just make something clear already. Also, is everyone related somehow? It’s getting to be a bit much
And why go through all of that if she’s just going to wear it again? What was the point?
Page 287- why would the statue question him it’s contradictory of what he said a page ago
Page 290-340 was pretty damn great.
Page 380- I wish it ended here instead of the epilogue. If a third book comes out in this series I won’t be purchasing it.