Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#Review - Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews #Urban #Fantasy

Series: The Iron Covenant # 1
Format: EBook, 322 pages
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: NYLA
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work. 

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast. 

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify. 

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies? 

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.” 

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Iron and Magic is the first installment in authors' Ilona Andrews new series called The Iron Covenant. As this is a spin-off from the Kate Daniels series, and is in the same world as the Daniels series, you will definitely have to have some clue as to what I am referring to as I put together a review that makes sense, and but doesn't spoil anything for future readers. This series features former Roland acolate Hugh d'Ambray, and Elara Harper, a new character, with lots of power and secrets. More about her later.

Hugh is a character who we've all read or heard about before. He is the character who is perhaps Kate and Curran's biggest adversary outside of Roland. He's done some pretty horrific things to people that Kate and Curran call friends. He is the devil who was raised by a God to become the leader of a group called Iron Dogs, an elite private army built for Roland. Hugh jumped whenever Roland told him to go and destroy, and kill someone or something. But, then the unthinkable happened. After failing to do something that Roland asked him to take care of for him, he was cut off. 

Even though I've always felt as though Hugh was undeniably the most awful character to come out of this series. Even though he has no redeemable qualities whatsoever. Even though he definitely has a whole lot of pain, suffering, and hurt coming his way. What happens to his people that he put together and made promises to, may be the biggest thing to wake him up from the nightmare he has been living for far too long. As the story opens, we find a very different Hugh. A Hugh who has hit rock bottom.

Hugh's Iron Dogs are being hunted down by another of Roland's accolades. With his men and women being viciously hunted down and killed. With supplies, weapons, and food to feed his people running low, Hugh and his men find a way to make an alliance with someone who is desperately searching for protection from outside forces who are willing to do whatever it takes to push them out from their home and take their land. A character who will push Hugh's buttons. A character who will open another avenue of thinking. And a character that may finally defrost the ice surrounding his heart.

Here's where I talk about Elara Harper. If you thought Hugh was a badass, you ain't seen nothing yet. Elara aka The White Warlock, and her people called The Remaining, have found a home in a castle called Baile. But, there are those who are just waiting to move in and take everything they've worked hard for. Elara will do anything to protect her people, including marrying one of the scariest villains you'll ever meet. But, hold onto your hat people, because Elara isn't a Mary Sue. She's not a pushover.

In fact, she's damn scary, and powerful, and could give Kate Daniels a run for her money in the badassery category of top 10 female heroines. She also has no intention of being submissive and taking orders from anyone. Let alone Hugh d'Ambray. Elara is a remarkable character who I am anxious to find out more about. There is a deeper, darker, more frightening part of Elara that the authors have kept close to their chests. That's probably a good thing since we really didn't understand Kate's full potential until the series really got going.

Elara is the perfect personality for Hugh. She gives as much as she takes, and has some of the most entertaining lines in the story. Elara and Hugh have to face a wide range of villains. There is plenty of action, suspense, and brief romantic scenes. In the end, you start asking yourself questions. Can Hugh finally find the one thing that has been missing from his life, love? Or will his relationship with Elara cause even more blood, and suffering, and death? Can Elara and her people survive knowing that they are allied with some of the most dangerous people in the country, let alone the world? Can the two survive a marriage of convenience, or will the marriage burn to the ground over held secrets? 

Iron and Magic also has some curious cameos including Raphael and Andrea. I am particularly eager to understand where the author is going and whether or not other Pack members will be making a cameo in this series as well. With the Kate Daniels series ending this year, I am definitely eager to see what the authors do with this series. Would you call this an redemption series? Mayhaps. I will say that that was one helluva an ending. I am impressed but a bit curious why the authors held back what Elara really is and how come she is so powerful. I can say without spoilers, that she would definitely give Kate Daniels a run for her money in the power department. I would also add that I would LOVE to have Elara on the side of Kate and Curran when the final battle with Roland is fought. Can you imagine how impressive Elara, Hugh, Kate, & Curran as a team would be?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

#Review - Stray Magic by Kelly Meding #Fantasy

Series: A Strays Novel # 1
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.
Unless she can stop it.

The first book in a new series, Stray Magic is a dark and sexy mystery, with enough twists and curves to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Stray Magic, by author Kelly Meding, is the first installment in the authors Strays series. Protagonist Shiloh Harrison is a 28-year-old US Marshall in The Paranormal Investigations Unit under the auspices of the DOJ. Shiloh has been with the unit for 6 years and is currently second-in-command. Shiloh is a half djinni with abilities to grant three wishes and has Quarrel pheromones that are hard for her to control. Her abilities often affect the combative nature of humans. She is tough, snarky, and fun to follow along with.

Her team includes Julius Almeida, the only human on the team, Novak (Incubus), Jaxon (Skin Walker), and Kathleen Allard (Dhampir). The story starts out with a bit of a bang. Shiloh is looking forward to a bit of fun and some much-needed downtime with her current lover, Vincent, when her team is called out to a trailer park where a group of vampires, led by Master Vampire Tennyson, is keeping the humans residents hostage & demanding answers to why his vampires, and some werewolves have suddenly disappeared without a trace.

On top of this, Julius, her team leader, has been missing since the day before, and there's no clue where he's gone, or if hanky panky is involved. As the team scrambles to find Julius, Tennyson manages to insert himself fully into the investigation and Shiloh's life. There are plenty of underlying currents just ready to spring up and surprise Shiloh and readers. Shiloh isn't a leader. But, she must become one quickly and without letting her emotions get the best of her. Who is behind Julius's disappearance and why? Is this same person responsible for the missing vampires and werewolves? Does the unit itself have a traitor in its midst, and if so, what is their end game?

Shiloh's group has some remarkable technology available to them that the author kind of skims over. The group can travel from place to place via specific ley lines, and everyone is hooked up to the latest technology called KIM (Knowledge Interface Matrix). This story has its share of vampires, werewolves, necromancers, and a very curious Goddess whose home is between worlds, and where time moves differently. I liked the fact that the author incorporates her mother, Elspeth, who is the daughter of a Romani, and her Earth Djinni father, Gaius, into the mix. For an adult novel, that is almost unheard of these days.

Shiloh is also not afraid of sex. In fact, she has a boyfriend who she has fun with, has had an encounter with one of her fellow teammates and may be falling for the very dangerous and powerful Tennyson. The author has a tendency of playing games with her characters by putting them in life and death struggles that even one slip up will find them in deep trouble. Really a trough way to end things. Even worse is knowing that there's a whole a year between this book, and the sequel called Stray Moon.

If you haven't read Feral House, in the Carniepunk Anthology, you might want to eventually. This the first chance you will get to meet Shiloh, and her father, and a few other characters who appear in this installment. It's also not a bad anthology with plenty of other big-name authors like Allison Pang, Delilah S. Dawson, Jennifer Estep, Kelly Gay, Kevin Hearne, Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, and Seanan McGuire.  

Meding is also the author of series such as Dreg City, which is also Urban Fantasy with some sexy romance, MetaWars, Cornerstone Run, and The Project Files duology.

Monday, June 18, 2018

#Review - Furyborn by Claire Legrand #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Empirium Trilogy # 1
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Dark Fantasy

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable―until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world―and of each other.

Furyborn, by author Claire Legrand, is the first installment in the author's Empirium trilogy. Set in the fantasy world of Aritas, there is a prophecy: Two Queens will rise. One of blood. One of light.
Generations ago in a war between humans and Angels, the angels were defeated and locked behind a gate. Due to their influence being taken from the world, magic slowly started seeping out of it. This is a story that alternates between two dynamic young women~~Lady Rielle Dardenne and Eliana Ferracora. 

During a disastrous horse race, Rielle is forced to use her elemental magic in order to save her best friend, and the boy she has feelings for, the Crown Prince Audric. The problem? For years, Rielle has kept her ability to use elemental magic a secret since revealing it would create too many problems. In response to Rielle's show of power, King Bastian forces her to undergo seven trials to discover if she is the Sun Queen, a long prophesied savior of their people, or the Blood Queen, bringer of destruction. 

During the time of her trials, she is persuaded and guided by an character named Corien. That, my friends, is all I am going to say since this character affects both storylines. Rielle also has Audric and her best friend Ludivine as support outlets for when the trial really gets going and Rielle is forced to prove that she's worthy of the title of Sun Queen. One could say that Rielle's story is the reason that Eliana's world exists in its current form. One could also say that Eliana and Rielle's stories mirror each other in the trials and tribulations that they both are forced to face in dealing with a nasty villain and awakening as the supposed destroyer or savior of their world. 

Meanwhile, One thousand years in the future, Eliana Ferracora is an assassin/bounty hunter known as The Dread of Orlins. She works to keep her family (including younger brother Remy) alive in a kingdom long conquered by the Undying Empire. She's also considered to be invincible and highly sought after by those who represent the Emperor. When her mother disappears, she has to decide if joining the rebels, under the guidance of a man called Wolf, or ingratiating herself to the Empire will give her a better chance of bringing her family back together. 

Eliana will learn that there is still a cosmic battle being waged that she and Rielle have both fought in their own ways. By the time Eliana was coming of age, the stories of magic, angels, and Saints are thought of as myths. Unlike Rielle's time, in Eliana’s world, the Undying Emperor has taken control of the lands and there's almost no free lands remaining to be controlled. It's easy to predict Rielle's background from the action-packed prologue. It's easy to predict who Eliana is as well. Readers will immediately know that something has already happened to both characters, and that the author is just filling in the blanks trying to catch up to the present. 

The book gets off to a slow start due to the large amount of world-building and the number of characters introduced. However, once the story truly gets underway, it quickly becomes a page-turner. Readers will find the complex and flawed characters immensely relatable. If you really pay attention, there, at the beginning of each chapter, is an epigraph that tells some important background information that will be revealed. I have to say that Eliana's story is much more action packed for the most part. She has to not only face more adversaries, including monsters, & assassins, while not only protecting her brother and searching for her mother, but learning how to trust other people. 

While she's trying to save someone she loves, she also has to deal with ever changing alliance swings, while also understanding her very unique abilities. Meanwhile, Rielle's story is filled with a whole lot of conversation; too much at times, and apparently the need to visually describe a character masterbating. Sorry, but ICK. I don't hate Rielle's story. She really gets tossed in the ringer time and time again. There are pretty revealing similarities between Eliana and Rielle which really shouldn't surprise you after you've read the book. They are both afraid of letting others know of the power they can control. Neither wants to feel as though they will be forced to do something against their will. And, they have others that they love and will do almost anything to save them.

In summary, yes, I will recommend the book giving only a minor warning of perhaps a bit too much information when it comes to sexual situations. Even though this is sold as being Young adult, please know that this is a deeply dark novel. I'm not one to put trigger warnings in my reviews. I enjoy dark fantasy. The darker the better. I could do without certain scenes that the author wrote, but that doesn't mean that I will not read the next installment. Too much of an appetizer has been put out for me to ignore the main course and the desert. Both characters storylines are told in the third person narrative and both end on surprising cliffhangers. If I haven't already mentioned it, I adore Remy. Remy is a curious character in that he knows all about the stories and isn't afraid to enlighten other characters into seeing what he actually knows is fact. I am hoping to warm up to Navi, Simon, Ludivine, and Audric by the time the second installment hits the shelves.
Finally, I feel like Elvis Presley at times of too much conversation and little action. "I need a little less conversation, a little more action please. All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me. A little more bite and a little less bark. A little less fight and a little more spark. Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me. Satisfy me baby."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

#Stacking the Shelves #288 (Week Ending 06/16/2018)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Thanks for Stopping by!
I do hope you find something you like!
Have a safe weekend folks! 

This Weeks Reviews: 

 Monday - Nightblade's Honor by Ryan Kirk (Fantasy)

Tuesday - Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent (YA, Dystopian)

Wednesday - The Mermaid by Christina Henry (Historical Fiction)

 Friday - Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau (YA, Fantasy)

Weekend - Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Fantasy, Paranormal)

*REC'D Via Publishers*

Thank you DAW Books, Disney-Hyperion, MacMillan!

Friday, June 15, 2018

#Review - Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab #Fantasy #Paranormal

Series: Villains (#1)
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates--brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find--aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge--but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

Vicious is the first installment in author V.E. Schwab's Villains series. 10 years ago, Victor Vale and Eliot (Eli) Cardale were roommates and fellow medical students at Lockland University. Both were brilliant, arrogant, and itching for adventure. They shared research into adrenaline, near-death experiences, and the possibility of becoming EO's, or Extra Ordinary People. What they ended up with was a shattered friendship, death of an innocent who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and 10 years in jail for Victor. 

Victor and Eli are not your stereotypical villains. I would label them both with superiority complexes allowing them to do things that only serial killers would consider to be rational. Especially Eli. This tale of betrayal and survival, will collect characters from 13 year old Sydney Clarke, & her sister Serena Clarke, to Mitchell Turner who is a very curious character who seems as though he is a lure for trouble. 

My favorite is definitely Sydney. The girl isn't given much of a chance at all to survive, but when all is said and done, her powers make her the most impressive character in the entire book. I know that this book released in 2013, but since the sequel--Vengeful--will finally be released this fall, I figured it wouldn't hurt to start this book now so that I didn't have to wait 5 years to see what happens next. 

Schwab is a curious writer who seems to come up with the most interesting world and characters. Characters that feel as though they could step out of the pages and into real life and become either your friends, or your archnemesis. 
Vicious is a twisty tale that takes readers 10 years in the past, to days, and weeks ago. Vicious methodically ratchets up the tension as Victor, and his allies, and Eli and his ally, circle each other for the final inevitable clash between Victor and Eli. Schwab has definitely taken the superhero genre and turned on its head.  

ARC #Review - Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Dividing Eden # 2
Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre:  Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic

The Trials of Virtuous Succession have ended. Prince Andreus is king—and Princess Carys is dead.
But even as he’s haunted by what he did to win the throne, Andreus discovers that his dream of ruling only brings new problems. The people love his twin even more in death than they did when she was alive. The Elders treat him as a figurehead. And worst of all, the winds of Eden are faltering.  
But despite what everyone believes, Carys is alive. Exiled to the wilderness, Carys struggles to control the powers that have broken free inside her. And as she grows stronger, so does her conviction that she must return to the Palace of Winds, face her twin and root out the treachery that began long before the first Trials started. 
The Kingdom of Eden is growing darker with each passing day. Brother and sister, former foes, must decide whether some betrayals cut too deep to be forgiven—and whether one will wear the crown or both will lose everything. 

Eden Conquered is final installment of author Joelle Charbonneau's Dividing Eden duology. Like the first installment, this story alternates between royal siblings Princess Carys and King Andreus. Betrayed by everyone they believed to be allies, the siblings continue to fight to determine who will reign over the kingdom. But now, one sibling has changed the game. 6 days after the end of the Trial of Succession, Princess Carys is very much alive and on the run with Lord Errik, Lord Garret, and her best friend Larken. Carys is on the hunt for answers and her destiny.

Carys journey is filled with surprises. After years of drawing punishment onto herself while diverting attention from her brother and his secret & defending him from others, betrayal during the Trial of Succession tore the siblings apart. Carys owes herself answers to the question of who killed her father and older brother and who pushed Andreus into betraying her after all she's done for him. With the Tears of Midnight finally purged from her body, Carys ability to call the wind has become stronger and more powerful. 

But, can Cary's really trust Errik who helped smuggle her out of the castle and to freedom? After all, he is a Bastion, and he is supposed to be the enemy to her own family. His one positive is that he did save Larken from Imogen's manipulations. How about Lord Garret who also has a claim to the throne and was supposed to be swearing fealty? What exactly is his endgame in all of this? Is it to keep Carys in the dark, or will he end up being one of her allies when darkness rules the night? 

Meanwhile, King Andreus is being played like a violin by the Council. Garden City is also in jeopardy of going dark, just when the dangerous Xhelozi are hunting in greater numbers. Who is behind this conspiracy & why? Andreus really only has a few solid allies in Guardian Graylem, and Max, the young apprentice who looks up with eager eyes and excitement to be alongside Andreus. Especially after learning about Imogen and her plans. In this world, there are plenty of snakes in the grass just waiting to attack at a moments notice.  

With Queen Beatrice being a skilled manipulator, and Council members urging Andreus to marry in order to bring peace, while others are lurking in the shadows doing their best to undermine Andreus at every angle, it is Carys shocking return from the dead that really brings the series to a stunning conclusion. I wasn't a fan of Andreus in the first book become of his gullibility and his belief that he was entitled to treat Carys like he did. I dare say that he comes a very long way with plenty of twists, and surprises. The trust between Carys and Andreus was broken, but is there any way to reconcile before the villains destroy their way of life? 

In the end, there are a whole lot of surprises that face both Carys and Andreus. Both have seen the worst of those who claim to only want their best interests at heart. Several in particular, who shall not be named, have no desire to see Carys become Queen, and will do anything  to stop it from happening. Dastardly villains? Yep. Stunning ending? Yep. Am I happy with the ending? Perhaps, but there's really no way to tell since this is the final book in the duology and I don't have a crystal ball to see if either Carys or Andreus get their HEA.   

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#Review - The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater #SyFy #Dystopian

Series: The Hidden Necromancer #1
Format: Kindle, 267 pages
Release Date: April 10, 2018
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Source: Author
Genre: Young Adult / Horror / Dystopian

When I was younger, my mother saved my settlement from the Unblessed Dead that would have killed us all. It cost her everything to reveal her necromancy and sent shockwaves through our stringent religious settlement. Convicted of heresy against our sacred Lost Texts, she died soon after. 

Since then, I have worked hard to maintain my Pious Standing so that when I turn eighteen I will be selected by a suitable husband at the Bridal Auction. 

As the large clock in town square ticks down to my eighteenth birthday, the dead have been appearing in my garden. If I’m discovered, I’ll face the Necromancer Trial just as my mother, oldest sister, and I did all those years ago. This time I fear I will not survive it. 

To add to my worries, an enigmatic handsome young man has arrived in the settlement. Around him swirls a green aura only I can see. Is he here to help me? Or does he have more nefarious plans? 

My name is Ilyse Nott, and I fear I am a necromancer. If I am, my life is over.

The Unblessed Dead is the first installment in Rhiannon Frater's The Unblessed Dead series. 17-year old Ilyse Nott is the protagonist of a series that is a cross between The Walking Dead and The Handmaid's Tale. It is a series that is set way off into the distant future. So far into the future, that they are now calling the time frame Anno Apocalypse. In this world, the dead have risen, America has fallen, & women can control the dead and are called Necromancers. In this world, necromancers are burned at the stake just like witches during the Salem Witches trial. 

In the Atonement Settlement, the dead are called the Unblessed Dead. Ever since her mother saved Atonement from the Unblessed Dead, Ilyse has been under the microscope by corrupt leaders called the Council of Crats who see her as a threat to their way of life. Ilyse and her older sister Angelina were put through one of the most awful tests imaginable in order to prove that she isn't going to follow in her mother's footsteps when it comes to being a necromancer. A test that cost Ilyse her older sister who presumably jumped the wall surrounding Atonement and disappeared into the Deadlands. 

Ilyse has attempted to live a life of piety and serenity in order to do well in the Bridal Auction that all 18-year old young women are required to attend. The auction is just what you expect; eligible men, some for the second time, bidding on a group of women to be their wives. If a woman is not chosen, she becomes one of the Unclaimed. She attends a school called Atonement School of Young Ladies. She lives in a society where the Elders have shunned technology, but it is not fully banned. 

It is a society that buries their dead in a place called Perdition Sanctuary. It is a society that truly believes that one day the Three Gods will rise up the Unblessed. It is a society that lives under the so called Lost Texts. It's supposed to guide the behavior of men and women, but women are unfairly treated as though they are living in the dark ages. Only the male patriarchy can approve where a woman goes, and whether or not she can leave the home. It is a rarity that women can leave Atonement by themselves for a more progressive place in the Republic. 

It is also believed that only women can be necromancer's because they are weak and more corruptible by the devil women. WIth everyone closely watching Ilyse to see if she exhibits the same abhorrent behaviors that her mother did, one slip up, one mistake can be fatal. It doesn't help when she finds one of the dead standing in her garden. Ilyse's only real allies are her sister Carrie, Headmistress Simmons who believes that Ilyse should be able to leave an attend the Academy, and a boy named Quade who arrives in town with some idea that Ilyse is who he has been sent to find. Quade is what's called an Undertaker; an Undertaker can sense zombies and can tell when they are around but can't control them like a necromancer. Quade also works for an organization called Chandry where they collect and train necromancers. Hopefully, we will find more about the Republic, the Chandry, The Enclave, The Radiated Lands and the Deadlands in the next installment.

 I have to say that I absolutely loved & felt for Ilyse's sister Carrie. She has a rebellious spirit, and a strong resolve, but has not a bone of  jealousy in her entire body when it comes to her older sister. She stands shoulder to shoulder with her through the harshest times imaginable when Ilyse is once again thrust into the spotlight and accused of being a necromancer. I also loved their little brother Rennor who doesn't let a little thing like a disability get in his way. I am once again impressed by the author's world building and her intensive storyline that really made me grind my teeth at times. Her writing makes you want to jump into the story and throttle the villain to an inch of their lives. 

The author was kind enough to share with me the first two installments in this series. Today, I post the first installment, next week I will post the second and then patiently wait until the third installment is released.