Review | The Phantom Forest

Read By Dev’s book review of Liz Kerin’s debut novel, The Phantom Forest.

The Phantom Forest the phantom forest

By: Liz Kerin

Overall Rating: ★★★★

*Thank you Liz Kerin and Inkshares for providing an e-book for my honest opinion!

From Goodreads

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child — a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

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TL;DR:

The Phantom Forest has a bit of every good fantasy story weaved into it – Gods/Goddesses, a post-apocalyptic setting, evil overlords, premonitions of the future, and a brave heroine to tie everything together. The dark & haunting mood sets this story about the nature of humanity and what we’d do for love apart. I can’t wait for the sequel!

The Good

The Plot

Seycia believes that all souls are either good or evil, and that they all come from the Forest of Laida. Simeon believes Dohv, the ruler of the underworld, wants him to rule over his land with an iron fist, and sacrifices innocent youths to keep his power. Haben is a demon, cursed by and bound to Dohv. Miko is a 12 year old boy, destined for greatness. They all come together in a battle between good and evil, living and dead, and it does not disappoint.  If you love mythical lore, magical beings, and epic journeys, you’ll love this book!

*Don’t mind me, I’ll just be heavily researching Hades/Underworld lore for the next year.*giphy

The Characters

I found myself forgetting that half the characters in this book are children. So many brutal, soul-crushing things happen and yet Miko, Minari, and Seycia all manage to pull through and revolt against their captors and torturers. They are stead-fast in their beliefs and still manage to make the mistakes you would expect of younger characters. I also love that there are multiple villainous characters to contend with. It keeps action coming from every angle. My only wish is that character growth and the relationships between them would have had more time to evolve and blossom. The relationship between Haben and Seycia seemed a bit rushed into, and it has so much potential!

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The Writing

Liz Kerin’s writing is solid. Also, shoutout to the editor. I’m so glad I didn’t have to read through a mess of typos and grammatical errors! If you like dark, eerie moods and questions about humanity and what come after death, you’ll enjoy The Phantom Forest.

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The Bad

I Need More (And I Have to Wait For Book 2)

I read an advanced e-copy of Phantom and I just want to know what happens! I needed the conclusion like yesterday.

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The Ugly Truth

If you love stories of survival, haunting moods, and are in need of a new fantasy world to get hook on, grab The Phantom Forest when it debuts on July 16th!

Talk To Me

Will you be adding The Phantom Forest to your TBR list? How do you feel about the concept?

 

ARC Review | The Thirteenth Guardian Has an Amazing Premise

The Thirteenth Guardian 44305142

By: K.M. Lewis

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing the e-book with me for my honest opinion!*

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.

 Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

Overall Rating: ★★★

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TL;DR:

This book has such an interesting plot! There are secret societies, an entirely different POV on religious texts and lore, and some – well seemingly not entirely scientifically accurate – cool speculations on Dooms Day. While the premise of this story is amazing, I wish the execution of and writing had been better.

The Good

The Plot

Let me just say I live for end of days stories. Especially ones that involve history, science, and mythology. If you love movies and books like The Day After Tomorrow, National Treasure, or The Di Vinci Code, you may enjoy Book 1 in this trilogy. HOWEVER, I could have done without the *time travel* – it opens up way too many plot holes, and it didn’t seem necessary to an already interesting take on Adam & Eve, the plagues of Egypt, and even Atlantis. There’s a lot going on, and in this case focusing on one thing would make it a lot better.

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Girl Power

I loved that one of the main secret societies is run solely by women, and that the big reveal at the end of the book has a lot to do with women and their strengths and abilities as humans. It’s a subtle nod to all the amazing work ladies do and the author got it right.

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The Bad

The Characters

PREFACE: The characters aren’t horrible, but they could have been better. The story focuses on six MCs, all which have diverse and unique backgrounds, so it’s a great start. BUT, there isn’t much to their personalities, growth or evolution. I didn’t connect with any of them, and I wish that I could have been rooting for at least one of them in some way, shape ,or form.

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The Writing

This book would have been so much better if the writing style was just a bit different. Most of the conversations are like this: “Oh no. The World is ending. Something is wrong. We must hurry.”, and I really felt like there could have been so much more emotion in every aspect of this book. The world is ending! People don’t speak properly in conversation when there’s panic and terror. Use more contractions, add a bit more personality to these characters, maybe throw in a curse word here and there. I wanted my heart to race each time a new plague was hitting, but that extra “umph” was missing.

The Ugly Truth

The premise of The Thirteenth Guardian has promise, but the writing and characters fall short. I was so interested in the plot, that I was willing to overlook the bland storytelling just so I could get to the big reveal, and I’m still intrigued enough to want to learn more in the sequel!

Talk To Me

Will you be adding this book to your TBR when it’s released?

Review | I Need More Kingmaker Chronicles ASAP

The Kingmaker Chronicles IMG_4057

By: Amanda Bouchet

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Cat and Griffin meet at a traveling circus when he kidnaps her for her “special” powers. She’s the Kingmaker, he’s an ambitious warlord and together along with is Beta Team they travel the world looking for a way to unseat all the corrupt rulers (including Cat’s mom). The gods get involved, people fall in love, others die, battles ensure, and you will be taken on a rollercoaster ride of prophecies, epic quests, and to-die-for love stories.

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TL;DR:

I don’t normally do romance books, but The Kingmaker Chronicles are full of wit, sass, and overall fun. If you enjoy Greek mythology, feisty main ladies, and magic – you’ll love this series!

The Good

The Characters

Cat is a SASS QUEEN, who also happens to be a baddass fighter full of awesome magic. Griffin is a main man you will love. He’s strong, witty, loyal and also pretty good looking. Beta Team – Kato, Flynn, and Carver – are the warrior buddies you didn’t know you needed in your life. And if the main crew isn’t enough, Griffin’s entire family will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. They’re loving, intelligent and always try to do the right thing. The entire cast of this series will make you swoon.

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The Magic and Mythology

GUYS I LOVE MYTHOLOGY SO MUCH. This entire series is centered around the gods and Ares, Persephone, Hades, Zeus (and probably some I’m forgetting) make an appearance. We even get to see a version of the underworld and purgatory and I was LIVING FOR IT. The personalities Bouchet gave to the mythical characters and creates in her series are to die for. Not to mention we get special Demi-god powers and oracular prophecies and visions. I was getting adult Percy Jackson vibes and I’m not complaining.

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The Bad

The Macho Man Vibes

Guys, I love Griffin, but he can sometimes take his overbearing, jealous macho man vibes to an extreme. I’m all for strong leading ladies BUT they should be backed by level-headed partners who aren’t going to “growl” or think about hurting their friends just for joking with their love interest. I could have done with more feminist vibes and less “you belong to me”.

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The Ending of Book 3

Heart of Fire’s ending was disappointing, it was just very underwhelming. I was hoping for more battles, more epic character arcs/reveals, and just a lot more of something in general. There was so much epicness, and I hoped the ending would have been just as amazing. HOWEVER, I’ve got confirmation that there will be more stories set in the same world, so I’m hoping the story arcs that weren’t wrapped up and the end of book 3 come into play in Book 4. Knowing there will be more of Beta team is keeping me going. I need more Carver, Flynn and Kato in my life!!

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The Ugly Truth

While the ending of book 3 was a bit disappointing, I still really enjoyed the series as a whole. I’ve had confirmation from Amanda herself that there are going to be more books, and I CANNOT wait to get my hands on more stories with Beta Team!

Talk To Me

Have you read this series? If so, what did you think of it? Will you be adding this to your TBR?