The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

The Eternity Key by Bree DespainTitle: The Eternity Key
Author: Bree Despain
Series: Into the Dark #2
Pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, YA
Haden Lord, the disgraced Prince of the Underrealm, has chosen love over honor and will do everything in his power to protect Daphne Raines, the human girl he was supposed to bring to the Underrealm. Haden's choice is put to the test as the Skylords and a figure from his past arrive in Olympus Hills with a plan that could destroy all of the realms.

Embracing her destiny as the Cypher, Daphne begins to understand the immense power of her musical ability to control the elements, but she must come to terms with her feelings for Haden and what she must sacrifice in order to protect him and her friends.

Believing the Key of Hades is the only thing that can stop the Underrealm Court from releasing the monstrous Keres on the mortal world, Haden, Daphne, and their friends set out to find the Key before Persephone's Gate opens again on the spring equinox. Summary from Back Cover

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utah-authorI received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Holy crap! As Emeril says, “Let’s kick it up a notch! BAM!” Yeah, Bree definitely kicked it up a notch with The Eternity Key. Not only are the stakes higher, but you’re more invested in the characters because of The Shadow Prince.

The mythology in The Eternity Key is still awesome. In fact, I dare say it’s even more awesome than what it was in The Shadow Prince because of all the things we learn and the new people we meet.

I still love the characters. Haden and Daphne are great protagonists. I love the addition of Tobin’s point-of-view so we get some insight from outside of Haden and Daphne. I enjoyed getting to know Tobin a little bit better this time around. I still think of Joe Vince as Spike from Buffy, even though he was partially based on David Tennant in Fright Night.

I was on an emotional roller coaster during this installment. I started texting Suey, who has also read it, when I only had 100 pages left because I needed to talk to someone about it. The tension is strong with this one, kind of like the Force but not really. Anyway, I don’t know how I’m going to wait until book 3 comes out.


The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince by Bree DespainTitle: The Shadow Prince
Author: Bree Despain
Series: Into the Dark #1
Pages: 512
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, YA
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High--a haven for children of the rich and famous--Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne--destined for each other--know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended--he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds. Summary from Dust Jacket

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utah-authorI’ve wanted to read The Shadow Prince ever since I knew it was coming out. I even bought the book at the release party so I could. However, things just kept coming up that prevented me from reading it right away. I’m glad I finally took the time to read The Shadow Prince because I loved it!

I loved all the mythology that came into play with The Shadow Prince. I thought it was just going to be a retelling of Persephone and Hades, which would’ve been awesome in and of itself, but it was so much more than that. I loved that Bree meshed the stories of Eurydice and Orpheus, Zeus and Hades, and Zeus and Kronos with Persephone and Hades to create her own world surrounding all of these myths because the result was awesome!

I loved the characters. Haden and Daphne were perfect protagonists. The switch between their points-of-view was a great way to tell the story. It allowed the reader to know a little more than either character, but still experience how they found out about things. Even though Bree imagined Joe Vince a little differently than I did, I loved thinking of him as a non-vampire Spike from Buffy. It just conjured some awesome images. I also loved imaging my Dax as Brim. It helped bring the story to life.

I loved that music is such an important part to play in this story. It’s fun to imagine the music and how it’s affecting the world and the characters.

The foreshadowing was awesome. I guessed some things before they happened and I think I already know some of the things that are going to happen. I can’t wait to see if I’m right. And, I can’t wait to see where this story goes.

I’m excited to read The Eternity Key and I hope we don’t have to wait years for the third book because of the current situation with Bree’s publisher. These stories need to be told in full and I hope we all get to experience them.


Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

Seeing Redd by Frank BeddorTitle: Seeing Redd
Author: Frank Beddor
Series: The Looking Glass Wars #2
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Alyss of Wonderland's rules has only just begun, and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed royal bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge.

Alyss' life is a challenging mix of duty, love and tough decisions, and then a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of Her Imperial Viciousness' return and have everyone ... Seeing Redd.

Has Redd somehow freed herself and her chief assassin, The Cat, from the confides of the Heart Crystal? If not, then who has resurrected Redd's brutal foot soldiers the Glass Eyes and set them loose to attack Wonderland on all sides?

Battles rage, looking glasses explode, and the Alyssians once again unite to defend White Imagination in this fast-paced follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Looking Glass Wars. Summary from Goodreads

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I started reading Seeing Redd right after I finished The Looking Glass Wars last August. But, I kept putting other books before it (mostly due to read-alongs, blogging events, and book club). But, I always intended to come back to it. Fortunately, I got to this month.

Even though I’m giving Seeing Redd the same rating as The Looking Glass Wars, I liked Seeing Redd better. The setup that took a third of The Looking Glass Wars wasn’t there and I liked the relationship between Alyss and everyone else, especially Dodge, better this time around.

It’s refreshing to read a book not in first-person narrative. But, I don’t think third-person omniscient is necessarily the best way to go with these stories. It provides a very broad view of the whole picture, but I like getting into the nitty gritty. I latch more onto characters than plot, and these stories are very plot-driven. The main reason I’m still only giving Seeing Redd three stars is the lack of depth into any one character. The story jumps from character to character too quickly and too often.

I still enjoy the overall story, though, and I’m glad I’m reading them. I look forward to reading ArchEnemy, so I can find out how everything ends. I just hope there’s a little more romance in the final installment. I guess we’ll see soon enough.


Ignite by Sara B. Larson

Ignite by Sara B. LarsonTitle: Ignite
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #2
Pages: 289
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
In the kingdom of Antion, peace has at long last been restored. Now that King Hector's reign of terror is over, the newly crowned King Damian, along with his most trusted guard, Alexa, must focus on rebuilding Antion and reclaiming the hope of their people. But the wounds of the past are not as easily mended as Alexa and Damian had hoped. And to further complicate matters, Alexa still harbors a secret love for Damian, a love she refuses to acknowledge for the sake of Antion, and for the sake of the king himself.

When new threats to the kingdom surface--including an assassination attempt on Damian--blame is cast on the once-friendly nation of Blevon. Alexa knows things are not what they seem, however, and once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and find the true enemy before it's too late? Summary from Dust Jacket

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utah-authorI have been anxiously waiting for Ignite since I read Defy early last year. I had immediately fallen in love with Sara B. Larson’s characters and I wanted to continue their story and find out what happened to them.

Ignite was one wild ride! My emotions were on a roller coaster throughout the entire book. At times I was anxious, then I’d be ecstatic, just to be heartbroken the next minute. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted in the sequel!

Most second books in a trilogy suffer from “second-book syndrome” where nothing significant happens and it’s just a rehash of the same story from the first book. Ignite did not suffer from “second-book syndrome” in the least bit. It was a strong book that added a lot to Alexa’s story. We learned more about aspects of the world in Defy. New questions were posed, new characters and problems were introduced, etc. And, the romance just built and got more angsty from what it was in Defy. Plus, the book ended on one hell of a cliffhanger! I’m seriously on pins and needles waiting for the third book now.

I fell in love with Damian all over again. I loved the new characters (good and bad) and their roles in the story. I loved exploring more of the jungle surrounding Antion. I loved learning more about the surrounding kingdoms, Blevon and Dansii.

Just as with Defy, I loved the action in Ignite. I still felt like I was playing a game of Zelda. It was so much fun to picture all of the sword fighting and archery moves in my mind.

There is so much potential for this story and how it’ll continue. There’s so much that could happen, go right and go wrong. I’m sure it will be just as wild of a ride as Ignite was and I am looking forward to finishing this series when the next book comes out!


Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia by Ally CondieTitle: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Pages: 298
Genre: Dystopian, YA
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above--of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self--and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden--she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. Summary from Dust Jacket

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utah-authorAs soon as I heard Ally Condie was coming out with another novel, I knew I had to read it. I always love her writing and the worlds she creates. Atlantia was no different.

Atlantia led me to a world underneath the sea. I enjoyed exploring it while the characters went about their lives. The world-building in this novel was poetic and beautiful, just like Ally’s writing. Everything about it made me wonder what it’d be like to live in Atlantia and whether or not I’d choose to live in the Above or the Below.

The religion Ally created for Atlantia was interesting and intriguing. I loved finding out about its truths and myths along with the main character, Rio. It created a nice venue for the dystopian setting as the society in the Below and Above were governed by the religious leaders. Some were sincere and good people and some were drunk with power.

I thought the ideas of the three miracles were especially fascinating. The bats and sirens intrigued me. I loved Ally’s portrayal of the sirens. I loved seeing the differences in each of their powers.

I liked Rio and her story. I felt bad for her and all she had to go through. I do wish Rio weren’t so secretive and distrustful so we could’ve gotten to know the others a little bit better. Because of that, I didn’t feel like I connected with enough of the characters, other than Rio and maybe True. And even then I felt like we didn’t know True very well either.

I also wish that the romance were a little more fleshed out. It didn’t seem tangible enough to make a difference to the story. Rio could’ve ended up just as really good friends with “him” to help everything happen the way it did. The book was only 298 pages, so I felt it could’ve been a little longer to help make the romance more of a difference to the story.

I’m glad I read Atlantia. It was a fun story. While I didn’t love love it, I did like it a lot for its poetic beauty and interesting premise.