Friday, June 2, 2023

#Review - Ruling Destiny by Alyson Noel #YA #SyFy

Series: Stolen Beauty # 2
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Release Date: June 6, 2023
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Time Travel

The Da Vinci Code meets Riverdale, set in a unique boarding school in the next installment in the Stealing Infinity series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Following her triumphant return from the past and the shock of finding her best friend Mason newly ensconced at Gray Wolf, Natasha is looking forward to her new assignment in Renaissance Italy where she’ll be accompanied by her boyfriend Braxton, only to learn at the very last minute that Braxton has been reassigned and the infuriating Killian will be joining her instead.

Natasha has no choice but to go along with the new plan, only to discover Killian’s task is nothing like hers. He’s not there to procure rare pieces of art, but rather to work as Arthur’s assassin.

As Natasha begins putting the pieces together, she soon learns the startling truth behind Arthur’s ultimate invention: a quantum computer that allows him to see the long-term effects of lives lived and lives taken. A program that will ultimately allow him to move toward his ultimate goal of repainting the past like a canvas—for he who controls time, controls the world.


Alyson Noel's Ruling Destiny is the second installment in the authors Stolen Beauty series. The story’s jumping-off point is an academy called Gray Wolf Academy for teens who travel through time to collect/steal valuables, but it gets much deeper than that when we discover the heroine is linked to the (real-life) mysterious Antikythera. The Antikythera mechanism is an Ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, described as the oldest example of an analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance. 

The story, which takes place 3 weeks after the first installment, is told in the first person narrative by Natasha Clarke. When Natasha was 9 years old, her father disappeared, her mother broke down, and Natasha all but gave up on doing well in order to be the adult in the family. After a series of events that didn't exactly go her way, Natasha was recruited to Gray Wolf Academy. The Academy is located on a private island, and owned by a extremely wealthy man named Arthur Blackstone who trains students for time travel missions. 

The 90 plus students who call Gray Wolf home are separated by colors. Green means you are a newbie, Yellow means you've did well, and Blue is where a core of students like Elodie, Braxton, Jago, Oliver, and Finn belong. Natasha has been tasked by Blackstone to bring back certain items for Antikythera but he never did explain to her why she was so special. Natasha's next mission is to find where the Moon is and bring it back from Renaissance Italy in 1497. In order to do so, Natasha meets some interesting historical individuals which makes for a much more enjoyable story.

While Natasha is trying to figure out what Arthur is really doing, her relationship with Braxton is about to get tested. Especially after Braxton is replaced by Killian. Natasha's biggest thing going for her is that she has the capability to not only see through the past, but if she touches an item, she can see the history of who held that item. Natasha has to also deal with Elodie who seems to be Arthur's favorite, and either a thorn in her side, or an ally that wants something from Natasha that she hasn't yet revealed. 

Especially the reason why several students like Song seemed to have disappeared without a trace, and nobody seems to care that they have left. This book reveals some shocking and curious secrets while jumping from the present day to Regency England to Renaissance Italy. The author wants you to read the prologue so that you are not left out in the dark once she drops the reason by Braxton and Killian are so interested in gaining Natasha's trust and maybe her love as well. Natasha's ability to touch an object and see what happened finally gets some much needed explanation after she touches a certain pair of boots. Things are about to get really interesting. But can she truly trust either Elodie or Braxton or Arthur for that matter?

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