The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee – A Review

The Gentleman's Guide to Getting Lucky Mackenzi Lee.jpg

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings #1.5) by Mackenzi Lee
Historical Fiction | Romance | LGBTQ | Novella | Young Adult
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Released November 26th, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

One of my biggest book-related surprises last year was discovering Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Young adult historical fiction was a genre I generally avoided for no real reason, but after seeing this book talked about online, I found myself intrigued enough to pick it up. And boy, am I glad I did.

Lee’s Montague Siblings series has quickly become a favorite of mine, and I pre-ordered The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky as soon as the physical copy was announced. Originally, this novella had been part of a pre-order campaign during the release of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, but after her fans kept asking for it, her publisher agreed to do a hardcover release of it.

Mackenzi Lee.jpg

I haven’t read any of Mackenzi Lee’s non-Montague Siblings books yet (although I definitely want to), but for this particular series, I love how Lee combines humor with serious topics and infuses a bit of magic into her world. All of these books were an absolute delight to read, and I’m already planning on re-reading them when the third book, The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks, is released in mid-2020.

This novella focuses on Monty and Percy, the main characters from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It takes place after the events in that book and picks up with them living on a beach with Monty’s sister, Felicity, and a group of sailors.

Monty and Percy are life-long best friends who have been in love with one another secretly for years and are finally together as a couple. The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky is about the beginning of their relationship, specifically the first time they, ahem, get lucky.

The story was definitely entertaining, infused with Lee’s humor and the perfect characters that she’s developed. I devoured it in about an hour the same day I received it in the mail, and I really enjoyed it.

I have a difficult time with novellas because I find that I always want more of the story, and that was true of this. I wanted it to continue on so that I could see more of the life that Monty and Percy built together. That said, however, the story was adorable, and is a great example that romances and love-making are not always perfect the way it’s portrayed literally everywhere. Fuck-ups and hilarious things happen, and it’s okay. It’s real life.

Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was that Monty was very respectful of Percy not wanting to jump into sex right away. As this is a young adult book, it was nice to see that and is something that I hope young people pick up on and internalize.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the Montague Siblings series, you’re going to want to read this. However, if those stories didn’t do anything for you, you’ll get absolutely nothing out of this. I enjoyed it, and whenever I do re-reads of the series I’ll read it. I hope more novellas and novels are in the future for this series!

Are you a fan of Mackenzi Lee’s Montague Siblings series? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – A Review

Illuminae Kaufman Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Science Fiction | Mixed Media | Young Adult
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released October 20th, 2015
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

For most of my twenties, science fiction was my favorite genre. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it made up roughly 80% of everything I read. A few years ago, however, my tastes shifted and I transitioned to reading more fantasy, literary fiction, and historical fiction and put science fiction on the back burner. I just haven’t been feeling it as much.

Then I read Illuminae, and it reawakened my love of science fiction.

The Illuminae Files is a young adult science fiction trilogy told in mixed media format. This means that rather than traditional chapters, the story is told through maps, emails, interviews, military documents, etc. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a mixed media book, and it was a lot of fun to read through this novel.

Amy Kaufman.jpg
Amie Kaufman

Illuminae takes place in the year 2575 as Ezra and Kady’s planet is invaded by a greedy corporation. They escape but are being pursued by the corporation’s warships. Things are so much worse than that, however, as a deadly plague breaks out on one of the three starships that escaped, and the artificial intelligence on the lead ship, named AIDAN, isn’t working quite right. Making things even worse is that the leaders/government officials on the main ship are not telling everyone the truth about what’s going on.

Kady is a fantastic and snarky character who uses her crazy-good hacking skills to discover what secrets are being held back from the community. Ezra, Kady’s kind-of ex-boyfriend, is on a different ship than she is, and they try to grow their relationship while Kady uses him to try to save everyone.

This book flows so easily that I managed to finish all 602 pages in a single day. There’s so much wonderful suspense and conflict to keep you hooked through every single page of it. True, there are plenty of science fiction tropes here, but they’re written in such a way that it doesn’t feel like it’s been done a thousand times before.

Jay Kristoff.jpg
Jay Kristoff

All of the characters are wonderful, including the side characters. The settings are fascinating and I loved that this was set so far into the future that the writers had the artistic liberties to be incredibly creative with the technology used in the story.

I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the next books in this series. I’ve also heard from many people that the audiobooks are incredible and done with a full cast, so I might give those a chance.

If you want a fun-to-read, exciting science fiction series to get hooked on, Illuminae should be on your reading list.

Have you read The Illuminae Files? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy – A Review


Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose CapettaCori McCarthy
Fantasy | Retelling | Science Fiction | Young Adult
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Released March 26, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Those of us in the book community who follow countless book-centric blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, etc., need to be careful when it comes to hype and consensus. I imagine that every single one of us can name at least a handful of over-hyped books that fell flat for us. Likewise, sometimes we hear about various people not liking a particular story, which occasionally leads us to not read it.

This almost happened to me with Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy’s gender-bent, queer retelling of the King Arthur legend, Once & Future. I first heard about this book when some of the most popular Booktubers started hauling their ARCs of it, and I was immediately intrigued.

Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

For one thing, I’m slightly obsessed with Arthurian legend and magic swords. Second, I think that modern retellings of classic stories are a lot of fun. Third, I love gender-bent stories. I added Once & Future to my TBR and waited (not-so) patiently for its release date.

Once the book was released, however, I started seeing negative reviews of the novel. I was disappointed, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from trying to enjoy it. In the weeks I waited for it while on hold at my library, I kept hearing that it was “just alright,” nothing special. At one point, I even considered canceling my hold on it.

I am so thrilled that I stayed on that hold list and eventually got the opportunity to read it.


I loved Once & Future. It’s a fun remix of a classic legend, with loveable characters and exciting quests.

In Once & Future, we meet Ari, who is the forty-second reincarnation of King Arthur. She’s from a planet called Ketch which has essentially been quarantined from the rest of the universe by the Mercer Corporation – a tyrannical, monopolistic company that runs literally everything. Ari was adopted by her parents at a young age and has an adopted brother named Kay, who is now the only family she has, as the Mercer Corporation has imprisoned their parents.

During a resupply mission on a space station near Earth, things go horribly wrong and Kay and Ari end up on the run from the Mercer Corporation. In a last chance effort to outrun them in their seriously under-powered spaceship, Ari takes the ship down onto the surface of Earth.

On Earth, Ari stumbles upon a sword stuck in a large tree and pulls it out. You guessed it – the sword is none other than the famed Excalibur. The sword’s removal awakens Merlin, the magical wizard we all know of – except in this world, he’s aging backward due to a curse, and is currently an awkward teenager.

Ari, Merlin, and several other characters based on the classic legend, such as Gwen, Lam, and Val, work together to try to discover the truth about what happened on Ketch while also trying to take down the Mercer corporation.

This is such a fun novel. I love that Gwen is the Queen of a planet obsessed with medieval times, complete with robotic horses and jousting. I also appreciated the humor in the novel. I’ve always been a huge fan of comedic sci-fi or fantasy, and that’s exactly what this is. At the same time, however, the novel deals with very serious topics, such as genocide, pollution, and betrayal. I feel as though the authors did a great job of balancing both the serious and the comical aspects.

The book is wonderfully diverse, with a wide range of characters and sexuality. I love stories with plenty of representation, and this one doesn’t disappoint. In this world, no one cares what your sexual preferences are or what pronoun you choose to use – it’s all completely normal to these characters. However, one of the few gripes I have with the story is that all of this diversity is used as the defining characteristics of these characters. In a world where diversity is really fully embraced, wouldn’t those characteristics be in the background? I wish some of the characters had been given more personality than just to say that they’re ace or pan.

There were definitely bits of the book that I cringed at, such as Merlin singing a Katy Perry song, but those moments were few. I feel like people are way too harsh on this novel. I really it and I’m looking forward to its sequel, to be released in 2020.

Have you read Once & Future? What did you think?

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton – A Review


The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
Paranormal| Magical Realism | Young Adult
Goodreads | Amazon
Published by Candlewick Press
Released March 13, 2018
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

Leslye Walton’s The Price Guide to the Occult follows the Blackburn women on an island in the Pacific Northwest. Eight generations of this family have lived on Anathema Island, founded by their matriarch Rona Blackburn, a witch who performed a spell which led to each subsequent Blackburn woman being able to perform a single aspect of Rona’s magical abilities.

The story follows the eighth Blackburn daughter, Nor. Nor has all of the normal teenage problems to deal with, on top of the fact that she doesn’t want the rest of her family to know what gifts she has received.


One day Nor’s estranged mother’s book arrives on the island. Fern Blackburn left the island many years ago, but now, with the arrival of her book of spells people can pay her to perform, she has become an international celebrity. As her mother’s power grows, Anathema Island and it’s inhabitants begin to notice some strange changes to their surroundings. People also start appearing with fern tattoos covering their bodies. Nor attempts to discover what is behind all of these unsettling changes.

I enjoyed this novel, although I was left wanting more. The story was original and I loved Walton’s style of writing. I enjoyed the process of reading it, and it was also a very quick and easy read.

Before I go into further depth about the story itself, I want to mention how beautiful this book is! The colors on the cover you see above are etched right into the book – there’s no dust jacket – and it has red sprayed edges. The publisher and book designer did a fabulous job with this book.

The main point I want to make about this novel is that it’s a perfect example of a plot-based novel, rather than of a character-based on. Nor’s character was great and the reader gets a great understanding of her motivations and personality, but she’s the only character who we get to know that well. The rest of the characters felt flat and we don’t know enough about them to really care about any of them. As a result of these flat characters, Nor’s romantic relationship feels pointless and almost non-sensical. One moment she’s just admiring this guy, and then suddenly they’re a couple, and there’s really nothing in between to explain why they’re together. For people who are a fan of slow-burn romances (such as myself), the romantic aspect of the book will leave you disappointed.

Another thing that bothered me about the book is that it just wasn’t long enough. It’s very fast-paced and the story moves along nicely, but I would have loved more history about the Blackburn women and about some of the other inhabitants of the island. It felt like there were a lot of areas in the book that could have been greatly expanded upon.

In the end, I’m glad I read this book. I enjoyed it, but I probably won’t reread it. I expected so much more and wish it had been longer and more fleshed out. It felt cut too short and rushed in a lot of ways. I still think it’s worth recommending though, so if you’re looking for a quick paranormal/magic realism novel to read, don’t hesitate to pick it up.

Have you read The Price Guide to the Occult? What did you think?

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Young Adult | Science-Fiction
Published by G.P Putnam’s Sons
Released May 7, 2013
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Thriftbooks


The 5th Wave is a young adult science fiction novel about an extraterrestrial invasion of earth. The invasion begins with an EMP attack which takes out all of Earth’s electricity. The second wave is the triggering of a massive tsunami that destroys most of the planet’s coastlines. The third is a plague, wiping out most of the remaining population. Then we come to the fourth plague, where the story begins. During the fourth wave, the aliens walk among us, indistinguishable from real people.

The story follows Cassie as she tries to survive on her own in this horrific world. She is on her way to save her little brother and avoids anyone else she sees along the way, not knowing who she can trust. Everything goes smoothly until she encounters Evan Walker, a farm boy who rescues her and takes her back to his farmhouse.

This novel is one about trust, survival, and family, even in the face of terrible odds.


I had a hard time rating this book because I felt so conflicted about many parts of it.

Let’s begin with the positives. I really enjoyed the plot of this book, and the concept of earth being invaded in these “waves” rather than the traditional warfare we’ve come to expect from alien invasion novels. It is a truly unique story, and it is that originality that initially attracted me to this novel.

Cassie was an amazing main character, and Rick Yancey wrote her in such a way that it’s hard not to love her. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time, and completely believable as a teenager. So many young adult books make their characters seem far too adult, but this was absolutely not the case with The 5th Wave. Yancey’s representation of all of his characters was believable and wonderfully done.

In terms of the surprises in The 5th Wave, I was able to predict very early on what the “twist” of the novel was going to be. However, despite that, the moment in the war zone when Zombie and Ringer, two of the teenage soldiers, are discussing that twist was incredibly well-written.

Now on to the negatives. This book is told in a multi-narrative format, which I usually adore. There are three narrators throughout the story, although Cassie is the main one. With the changing narration, Cassie was really the only narrator I enjoyed. I listened to the audiobook version of this novel on Scribd, and the performance by Phoebe Strole was absolutely perfect and convincing. She brought Cassie’s character fully to life, and her narration was full of believable emotion. The narration from the perspective of “The Silencer,” one of the alien soldiers, and Zombie, a human soldier are mildly interesting but don’t carry the same quality and excitement as Cassie’s.

I could not stand the character of Evan Walker. His character seemed predatory and creepy, and I had a bad feeling about him from the start. In the novel, he’ll frequently stand outside Cassie’s bedroom door, which I found incredibly sketchy. As Cassie came to have feelings for him, I wanted to shake her out of it and scream at her not to trust him. Cassie’s romance with him was cringy and I kept finding myself wishing that she would just shoot him and put him out of the story.

Something I’ve seen in other reviews of The 5th Wave but that I did not experience for myself since I listened to the audiobook was that, in the written format of the novel, you’re not told ahead of time whose perspective you’re reading. It makes me glad that I did listen to the audiobook rather than read the physical book because I have a strong feeling that my rating would be quite a bit lower with the added confusion of trying to figure out who’s narrating the chapter.



While I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this novel, I was never invested enough in the story to say I loved it. I won’t be reading the rest of the series, as I genuinely don’t care what happens next. However, since this first book was entertaining, I’m still rating it three stars. I feel like a lot of people would really enjoy this book, especially if you’re looking for a science fiction novel in the young adult category. It’s also a very unique take on the alien invasion trope.

Heavenward by Olga Gibbs – Blog Tour


I was invited to participate in a blog tour for Olga Gibbs’s Heavenward hosted by Melanie at  Fraser’s Fun House and I jumped on the opportunity.

If you would like to read Heavenward, you can do so for free just by signing up to the Celestial Club. You’ll then receive a free e-copy of this book.

You can go ahead and preorder the sequel, Hollow, as well, at this link.


With the power to end the world, would you protect humanity when it broke you or would you take revenge?

Meet Ariel: a quiet, unnoticeable girl with an incredible gift…

Ariel never had an easy or pleasant life, but the arrival of three gorgeous strangers meant her measured life is turned upside down, as she discovers that angels exist.

Now, against her will, she’s drawn into an ancient celestial conflict, where her powers will decide the fate of humanity.

Deceived, threatened, hunted and now on the run, who can she trust?  


As readers of my blog know, I’m a huge fantasy lover. One of the reasons I agreed to participate in this blog tour was that I had never read a fantasy novel with angels as the main characters, and I wanted to give it a shot.

One quick note regarding the angels: the angels do not feel biblical in any way, more like just another magical species. There’s not really any religion in the book, so if that’s something that would typically turn you off, you don’t need to worry about it with Heavenward.

Our main character, Ariel, has a difficult past full of abuse and a bad home life, and Gibbs does a great job of portraying that in Ariel’s character throughout the book. It’s not easy to write a character with a such a terrible past, but it makes Ariel’s character make sense, especially with her angry outbursts.

In terms of the love interests in the book, I’m team Rafe all the way. Sam seems incredibly untrustworthy and manipulative.

One of my favorite aspects of the book are the diverse settings. Olga Gibbs does a fantastic job of describing landscape and setting so that it is always easy to imagine exactly what Ariel’s surroundings look like.

My main gripes with the story are that I feel as though it’s too quick-paced at parts and that the story felt a little too predictable. However, this would be a great read for someone just starting out in fantasy.


About the Author

Olga Gibbs .jpg

Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers.

She is currently writing the second book in the “Celestial creatures” series and another stand-alone psychological crime thriller book.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

The Blog Tour isn’t over yet: Here’s the schedule:

unnamed (1)

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir – A Review

“Curse this world for what it does to the mothers, for what it does to the daughters. Curse it for making us strong through loss and pain, our hearts torn from our chests again and again. Curse it for forcing us to endure.” 


The Book

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Released June 2018
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest
Affiliate Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | ThriftBooks

Read my reviews of the first two books in this series:


This is the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series, following the stories of Laia, Elias, Helene, and more. The ruthless Keris Veturia is still up to something, and the Nightbringer is getting closer to his nefarious goals.


The An Ember in the Ashes series has quickly become one of my favorites. I felt the widest range of emotions possible as I read this third book in the series, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive until the fourth book is out, which doesn’t even have a release date yet!

I’m including spoilers in this review because it’s impossible not to. If you haven’t finished A Reaper at the Gates yet, or (gasp!) you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night, bookmark this page and come back to it once you’ve read them. This is the kind of book where you want to be surprised and shocked at the twists and turns that take place.

First of all, we have a new narrator in this book: the Nightbringer. It was fascinating seeing his side of the story, and I hope that his narratives are much more prevalent in the next book. I enjoy complex antagonists, and he’s definitely turning out to be that. In addition, it was interesting having a non-human narrator.

Since the first moment Laia and Elias met in the first book, I’ve wanted them to end up together, safe and living a sweet, quiet life. Of course, because this series is all the pain, we don’t get that. By the end of the book, Elias fully becomes the Soul Catcher, and the last encounter he and Laia have was too much for my fragile heart to take, and when she gave him back the wooden armband he made for her, my heart literally shattered into a million pieces.

The real star of this entire book is Helene, aka the Blood Shrike. I never disliked Helene as a character in the first two books, but neither did I love her; she was just sort of… there. In A Reaper at the Gates, however, she really comes into her own and shines. So much of the story is centered on the increasingly difficult choices she needs to make, and she’s torn between following Marcus’ orders to save her little sister and doing what’s best for the empire. We learn how much she cares for her people, and not just the Martials, but everyone. One of my favorite moments in the book is when she finally puts an end to Marcus – it was such a powerful scene and no one deserved to kill him as much as she did.

A criticism I had about the book was that for the first half, it can be a little disorienting. We’re constantly in different locations, with different characters, and there’s a lot going on. I’ve always been a fan of multiple narratives, but there were a few times while reading this that I felt it may be too much.

Like I’ve mentioned with the previous two books, Tahir’s writing style is quick-paced and exciting, making these relatively lengthy books easy to read. Everything flows beautifully leaves you wanting more.



This is definitely a five-star book, and I recommend this entire series for anyone looking for a great young adult fantasy series.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – A Review

“I look up at the stars hanging low in a sky that makes me think I’m seeing the infinite. But beneath their cold gaze, I feel small. All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir; Kindle daily deals, cheap ebooks, fantasy books, reading blog

The Book

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin
Released April 28, 2015
Author: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest

What It’s About

An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy which is inspired by Ancient Rome. The Empire is ruled by the Martials, and there are several other groups of people, including the Scholars, the lowest and most ill-treated among them.

“The Martials conquered Scholar lands five hundred years ago, and since then, they’ve done nothing but oppress and enslave us. Once, the Scholar Empire was home to the finest universities and libraries in the world. Now, most of our people can’t tell a school from an armory.”

The book is told from the point-of-views of Laia, a teenage Scholar girl, and Elias, a student at Blackcliff Academy, where he’s training to be a Mask, which is an elite faction of the Empire’s military. They both reside in the city of Serra, a landscape of harshness and desert.

Laia is meek and terrified of the Empire. Both of her parents, as well as her older sister, were captured, tortured, and murdered by the Empire, and she and her brother Darin now reside with their grandparents. One night Darin sneaks in through the window with a sketchbook full of drawings and information that a Scholar should not be caught with. Not far behind him is a Martial raid. Laia’s grandparents are killed right in front of her, and her brother is taken prisoner. Laia flees for her life, her mind a swirl of conflicting fear and bravery. There has been an underground Scholar resistance since the war that put the Martials in power, and Laia seeks out their help, eventually agreeing to become a spy for them in exchange for their promise of breaking her brother out of the Martial’s prison.

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. The moment Darin called out – that was such a moment. It was a test of courage, of strength. And I failed it.”

Elias is in the final year of his training to be a Mask at Blackcliff Academy, and he’s dreaming of the day he can finally be free of the tyrannous lifestyle that was forced upon him when he was just six years old. He feels alone in his opinion that the Empire is too brutal and ruthless, as his classmates take pleasure in raping and murdering. His partner and best friend, Helene, is unaware of the secret plans he’s been working on; the backpack stashed in the catacombs, the secret tunnel, and the map marking a path through dilapidated passages beneath the city.

The paths of Laia and Elias start to cross and intertwine, and they find themselves drawn toward one another as they both work toward their own goals of subverting the Empire.

My Thoughts

loved this book! I hungrily consumed every page of it, staying up late into the night because I absolutely had to know what happened next. I’m so thrilled that I finally got around to reading it after hearing about it everywhere.

Both the of the main characters, Laia and Elias, were well-rounded and felt so real that I was drawn down deep into the story. From the moment they first met, I wanted them to get together as a romantic couple, to the point where I spent a car-ride ranting to my boyfriend about how mad I’d be if either of them ended up with anyone but each other.

As Elias is forced to commit atrocious acts or risk being punished for treason, Sabaa Tahir’s writing is so powerful that you feel the pain with him.

“I stare into the faces of the men I kill, and though the storm muffles the groans, every death carves its way into my memory, each one a wound that will never heal.”

Laia also feels incredibly realistic. She’s frightened but moves forward out of a desire to do right by her people, her murdered family, and her brother. We watch her falter and pick herself back up over and over again. It’s so great watching her grow from a meek, shy girl terrified of getting into trouble into someone who bravely fights against the Empire at any cost necessary.

Even the side characters have unique and very distinct personalities. Izzi, Cook, even the Commandant, feel as though they could be real people, and I love books that have that quality to them because they make you feel as though you’re living the story.

One of the side characters that I did not like, although I feel like the author intended for you to like him, is Keenan, a member of the resistance. His flirting with Laia feels almost predatory and somewhat creepy, and I found myself wishing for Laia to get away from him quickly any time they shared a scene.

Another aspect I enjoyed is that the magic of the world is on the fringes. We know as little about the magic system and magical creatures as the characters do, and that was really exciting to me.

As much as I adored this book, there were some things that I wished had been explored more, such as history and world-building. From the beginning, I wanted to know more about the Scholars. Same with the Tribes, who reside outside of the city of Serra. I also wanted to know so, so much more about the world at large. The map on the inside cover of the book is vast, and I want to know more about those cities that inhabit the corners of the map. That said, I can’t remember the last time I read a fantasy book that took place in a desert environment, so it was really nice to see that setting.

I’m about to start the second book in the series, A Torch Against the Night, and I cannot wait. I’m hoping to get a larger taste of the Empire. Each book has a map on the inside cover, and An Ember in the Ashes explores a very small part of that map. I’m also hoping for more of the characters I found myself liking, such as Izzi, Teluman, and even Helene (whose character I enjoy even if I’m conflicted about actually liking her).


5 out of 5 stars. This book was amazing, and I cannot wait to read the next two, which I have already picked up from the library.

Have you read An Ember in the Ashes? If so, share your thoughts below.