***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this arc in exchange for an honest review***
As you could tell from my non-spoiler review up there 👆🏻I absolutly loved this book sooo much!!! I was pretty sure that I would just from the synopsis but I didn't realize how fast and hard I would fall. I had so many thoughts while reading this book... so here goes!!!
I was intrigued by this book immediately. I really enjoyed how we read the ending first! It was fun to try to figure out how everything ended so bad.
I liked Athan from the get-go. and I liked Cyar just as fast.
I also liked Aurelia right away. I loved her attitude and her feistiness. She is the best kind of MC. I mean, from the beginning chapter with her authority and stubbornness, I knew she was going to be my kinda girl.
I knew from about chapter 3 that I was going to fall completely in love with this book. The writing is incredible. It reminds me so much of Laini Taylor's writing. Beautiful and pretty whimsical, in a sense.
I disliked Uncle Tenak pretty quickly. He seemed like a real jerk. And I disliked Havis just as much.
I started getting a little confused with who was from the south and who was from the north, but after some rereading I got it all figured out.
Athan's father was horrible, but I really liked his mother. She was super sweet and I love how she wanted to protect Athan from his father. I thought his brothers were okay, and I liked his little sister a lot.
Arrin was such a jerk. I get that he wants attention and that's why he acts so horrible but it still isn't right. I'm not sure why their little sister is so attached to him.
I love love love Athan and Cyar's friendship. It was written so well!
Man, the General doesn't play around. He killed that guy like it was nothing. I loved that Athan is completely different than him and thought it was super sweet that he went to go talk to his mom.
The Queen inviting the general to the North is crazy! I couldn't believe that she actually thought he wouldn't turn on her.
Ugh, that Illusionist was horrible. First, the fox with the bird in it's mouth to Aurelia, but then when he did to the Queen! At first, I couldn't believe it! But then I totally understood.
Man so many deceptions. Throughout the whole book, I never know who to trust. I felt so bad for Aurelia when she discovered what was on that letter and that her mother might be working with the Seath.
When Athan's mother was murdered I knew it was going to happen. But it still made me really sad.
Oh goodness, that part where Cyar is comforting Athan after his mother's death!!!! All. The. Feels.
So the scene with Arrin, Kalt, Athan, and their father in the council room made me fall more in love with this book! I was so curious to find out what the Queen and Dakars relationship was in the past. I kept thinking, maybe they were in love with each other at one time.
I totally thought Arrin was a huge jerk at the beginning... which he was, but him in the council room made him one of my favorites. He is such a funny character. But I really loved how he stood up to his father!
I felt so bad for Leannya. She is the only girl in the family and now has lost her mother and so scared to lose her brothers. I was so glad she let her anger out and that Athan went after her to talk to her.
Seriously, when Athan is talking to his drunk father, I actually liked him and has some sort of compassion for him. But I almost felt like it was a trick. He is not a trustworthy man. But I still somewhat believed him. My mind was blown during their conversation because the general made Sinora look like she was the evil one and not him. That he is doing what he has to for the country and his people, and that Sinora is doing everything for herself.
Ugh, the confusion gets even worse after Sinora and Aurelia's talk!!! At this point, I had no idea who to trust and who to believe.
I was so happy for Athan that he made Top Flight.
To add to my trust issues in this book, I had no idea what side Havis is truly on. I can't say that I was at all surprised by this though. He is such a greasy, untrustworthy character.
I know that Aurelia is totally on her mother's side, and I get why. But I really thought that when she sided with her mother instead of her brother, it was a wrong call. And I felt so horrible for the horse. The whole situation is terrible. Their family is being torn apart and I'm pretty sure Reni was super hurt because Aurelia didn't back him up.
And finally, the moment we have been waiting for. The meeting of Aurelia and Athan!!!! Their first actual encounter was so dang cute! Athan is super smooth. I knew he was only "playing the part" for his father and family, but you could totally tell they were going to hit it off!
Okay, the part where Aurelia messed her Uncle up was hilarious. And what was more hilarious was that her mom laughed at it!
Loved that Aurelia wanted to sit outside just to see Athan. Once they started having feelings for each other is the best.
Oh, Athan. SO dang funny!!!!! I loved his sense of humor and his wittiness. Remi and his argument was super good and even better was Remi punching him!!!!
I started getting super anxious about the secrets between Aurelia and Athan. I was so scared of how Aurelia would take the news.
Wow, Reni really knew some stuff about the General that even Athan didn't know.
I loved Athan and Aurelia's hike!!! I even loved their argument by the top of the hill. They are so cute together.
So we finally find out that Reni knows who Athan really is. Not sure why he doesn't tell his sister though.
I seriously dislike the mess out of Havis.
Also, just to put this out there... I have no idea why Violet like Garrick at all.
What I already knew to be the truth is finally out. Aurelia's mother does plan for her to marry Havis. Ugh. And the cousin seemed very interesting. When we first meet him I just wasn't too sure about him.
I was so glad that Heathwyn gave Aurelia Athan's letter. I know she didn't want to, but she did it anyways.
I really liked Efran Merlant. He seemed like a good guy. A guy that you could trust. It's a breath of fresh air when you can't trust many of these characters. I enjoyed reading about Athan and Cyar's time with Merlant.
I couldn't believe that Lark is Nahir!!!! I knew we would find something strange about him but I didn't see that one coming. I loved how Aurelia decided to sit on this information and take time to figure things out.
Eek! Reni wanting to take the throne early!
This book just keeps getting better! Finding out that Arrin had something to do with these horrors made me sad. Even though he said it wasn't him I'm not too sure I can believe him. This information made me really scared because when Aurelia finds out about Athan it's going to be horrible! It's going to be worse than I thought. This book kept me so dang anxious!
I know why Athan didn't tell her when he saw her, but I really wish he would have.
Wow! Finding out that Lark is the Southern man was crazy!!!
And Remi!!! I still am not sure why he and Arrin seemed so buddy buddy.
throughout this whole end of the book, my mind kept getting blown!!! Aurelia really took control of the situation and I am so glad. She knew what to do. I hate that she shot Lark though. That is something she will have a very hard time recovering from. But I totally understood why!
The ending was So. Dang. Good!!!! But at the same time, I felt so hollow. I need to know what happens next!!!! I need the second book asap!!!!!!
I am so thankful that I was able to get this arc!!!! Thank you Joanna for such an amazing book!!!!!!