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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
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  • This Felt Different

    My Rating: 3 and a half stars This novel felt different from all the other novels I've read by this author which I was particularly strange considering how this is a prequel series to her Steel & Stone series (which I adored). This could also have been due to the fact that I've been hyping this book up in my head for months now waiting for the audio books to be released. I've grown accustomed to reading about strong and goal-oriented women in this authors novels, so having Cleo as a heroine was somewhat odd. She's powerful, but she's also a walking disaster all the while being manipulated by someone she calls family. She's naive to the point that is was getting frustrating and annoying. In the beginning, it was coincidence after disaster after pure luck with all the situations she got into. What I can say about her, off that bat, is that she's brave and will bulldoze through anything after she's set her mind to it. With all that being said, I can imagine she's going to become a kick*ss heroine due to her circumstances as this trilogy progresses, but it still felt off. In the Steel & Stone series, Lyre is a bad*ss spell weaver. This trilogy takes place a few years before that, so I couldn't realistically expect him to be the same person. With all that being said, something also felt off about him. It's probably because I was looking for the carefree-but-still-strung-tight Lyre and what I got was a succubus who was still finding his way in life while trying to balance his controlling family and how out of place he felt there. It's going to be interesting to see how he evolves and becomes the mysterious Lyre we got to know in the Steel & Stone series. The ending had me on the edge of my seat because I was suspecting a plot twist that, thankfully, never came to pass. This author sure does know how to write scary and powerful villains that kept me on my toes waiting for the other shoe to drop for most of the novel. I liked how nicely the next book in this trilogy was set up. The Audio Book: The overall narration for both narrators was nice, but I didn't love the voice Melissa Moran did for Lyre. Maybe it's because I recently listened to the companion novel to the steel & stone series (also narrated by Greg Tremblay) and his Lyre voice is somewhat better.

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  • I just want to live inside this world!

    This review MAY contain spoilers. Read at your own risk. All of the gods and stars in the sky shine down on me! This book is such a masterpiece! This book has rattled my heart. (But each and every Annette Marie book that I've read has shaken up my heart. And for the better.) Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series is one of my all-time favorite series! And her Red Winter series was just as heart-shattering. Every single thing that this glorious woman writes is magical. She has truly been blessed by the gods and we the readers get to reap the glory with all of her memorable stories. -sigh- I really loved the world building. It is so complex and absorbing. Having already read Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series, I was already familiar with this world. I love that this new series set in the same universe built upon what I already knew. It was a deeper look into the underworld. We get a glimpse of Crysalis inside of Asphodel, where this book primarily takes place, in the Steel & Stone series, but we delve in so much deeper in this book. I also love that while this series is part of a greater universe, it was also self-contained so that a new reader that has not read the Steel & Stone series could easily pick up the feel for this world. The plot was completely flawless and expertly crafted. The flow of the story was so fluid. The story is absolutely riveting. I read this in one sitting because I simply could not put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I literally could not stop reading. I have never been so grateful to miss a full night's sleep. This book is well worth the sleep-deprived headache that I received as a result. The intricacy of the plot is really what made me keep reading. The plot twists were surprising and the foreshadowing was layered into the story incomparably. The author has a genuine talent for storytelling. The characters in this book are so distinctive and I was easily drawn to them. Lyre was a character in the Steel & Stone series and it was an absolute delight to get to know him more intimately in this series. After reading the Steel & Stone series I was so curious about Lyre's past and this book clears all of that up and really expands upon his character for the universe as a whole. I adored Lyre in the Steel & Stone series and reading this book has only strengthened that feeling. He is immediately likable and evokes so much emotion in the reader. Clio is a new character and she is just as delightful. She is so innocent, thoughtful, and it is completely easy to fall in love with her. This book has set up what I can only expect to be an incredible character arc. I can't wait to see how her character grows throughout the rest of the series. This book contains the best kind of romance. It is a slow burn romance and the characters come together naturally. They get to know each other and they share a common interest/talent. They also come together because of circumstance and fate. It was really beautiful because they both realize that the other is the only person in each of their lives that has ever really done something for them without wanting anything in return. There is not much in terms of physical romantic scenes, but the scenes where they are together have so much romantic tension that it will make you swoon. I cannot wait for more! Overall, it was such a pleasure to revisit the Steel & Stone universe. I have such a hankering to reread the Steel & Stone series. It is literally gnawing in my stomach with want to reread the series. I can only assume that this feeling is akin to being under the influence of an incubus's aphrodisia. I will forever be a fan of Annette Marie! I will read everything that she writes. If you have not had the pleasure of reading any of her books then I highly recommend doing so because you are definitely missing out. I am going to promptly start the second book of this series. After I finish this series I am definitely going to reread the Steel & Stone series. I just want to live inside this magically delicious world.

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