Friday, June 15, 2018

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.   

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