Hello readers! It’s time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: The Shadows Between Us, Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta and The Warrior Queen.
The Shadows Between Us | Tricia Levenseller
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen? Goodreads
I found this story to be quite interesting, but the characters were really hard to like. They are all pretty much morally grey, and in some cases, just outright terrible people. I guess there are certain standards I hold MCs to and this kind of crosses the line. An unapologetically ambitious main character like Alessandra is certainly something new, but I thought her portrayal was just a little too over the top. Additionally, the initial personality we are presented with doesn’t much match her actions later in the book, which was rather disappointing. As for the Shadow King Kallias, it’s hard to say much about him because I felt that we barely got to know him at all and there was a lack of depth to the character.
I did however, like the mystery of who inside the palace is trying to kill the king, and while it was predictable after a while by simple process of elimination, it was still a lot of fun to read. The ending was exciting, if a little rushed. For a standalone, this book could have taken a little more time for world and character building. Overall, not quite up to the standards of Daughter of the Pirate King, but a unique and intriguing tale.
Publishing Date: February 25th, 2020 (Feiwel and Friends)
Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta (Ram Chandra #3) | Amish Tripathi
INDIA, 3400 BCE.
A land in tumult, poverty and chaos. Most people suffer quietly. A few rebel. Some fight for a better world. Some for themselves. Some don’t give a damn. Raavan. Fathered by one of the most illustrious sages of the time. Blessed by the Gods with talents beyond all. Cursed by fate to be tested to the extremes.
A formidable teenage pirate, he is filled with equal parts courage, cruelty and fearsome resolve. A resolve to be a giant among men, to conquer, plunder, and seize the greatness that he thinks is his right.
A man of contrasts, of brutal violence and scholarly knowledge. A man who will love without reward and kill without remorse.
This exhilarating third book of the Ram Chandra series sheds light on Ravaan, the king of Lanka. And the light shines on darkness of the darkest kind. Is he the greatest villain in history or just a man in a dark place, all the time? Goodreads
It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to read this book! After how good Sita: Warrior of Mithila was, I had very high expectations of this book, and it did not disappoint. Raavan’s journey was an action packed adventure no doubt, but it was also a very thought provoking one. His character arc is fantastic and beautifully portrays the many sides and shades to this figure in mythology, spinning a truly creative backstory that describes how society and circumstances turned him into the villain all Aryavarta feared, yet somehow incredibly, also manages to make a sympathetic character of him.
It was only with this book that I finally understood the multilinear narrative as several pieces begin to come together, answering one major question. The book did a great job of maintaining the mystery as long as it could, and even after things started becoming clear, the tension keeps the reader on edge. As always, I loved the immersive nature of this series, how the world building draws the reader into the story, and it was very well done in this book in particular as we follow Raavan in his travels and adventures all over the Sapt Sindhu. This is one book you will not want to put down! Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait for the next book in this amazing retelling!
Publishing Date: July 1st, 2019 (Westland)
The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4) | Emily R. King
Kalinda has brought peace to the Tarachand Empire, at least for now. Bhutas no longer need to hide their gifts. The last of the rebels have been banished. And Prince Ashwin is set to take over as rajah.
But for Kalinda, this all came at a great loss. Her childhood home. Her best friend. The love of her life.
Deven is still trapped in the Void, although he is able to find his way to Kalinda each night. He has been lucky so far—mortals are not meant to last in the Void for long, and Deven has lasted longer than most. But when he doesn’t visit her one night, Kalinda knows that his luck has run out.
She will do whatever it takes to save the man she loves, even if it means convincing a god to guide her through the Void. Freeing a mortal from the Void is nearly impossible, but Kalinda has never let those odds stop her before… Goodreads
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
In this finale in The Hundredth Queen series, Kalinda has finally brought peace to the Tarachand Empire, but lost Deven to the Void in the process and now desperately seeks a way to rescue him. Meanwhile in Vanhi, Ashwin, the newly crowned King is struggling to adjust to his new responsibilities and also placate the people. Bhutas may no longer have to hide, but neither are they accepted completely.
Kali’s storyline was quite interesting, especially the part about her past lives. The past few books spent quite a bit of time discussing the Gods which all really becomes relevant only now as we finally get to meet one of them. But as good as this part was, it just wasn’t enough to balance the rest of the plot which was just causing the story to drag – namely, Ashwin’s storyline. He really needed some sense shaken into him. The city is tearing itself apart around him because of widespread discontent against the bhutas still prevalent, not to mention the king getting married to one, but he is very strangely – unexplainably – reluctant to do anything about it, even when his own guards are getting injured in the process.
Apart from that however, this was, as always, an easy read, and a tidy conclusion to this story. Overall, this was an imaginative and entertaining series and it was fun to follow Kalinda’s journey through all these books.
Publishing Date: August 14th, 2018 (Skyscape)
Have you read any of these books or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!