July 10, 2019

Mini-reviews: The Traitor's Kingdom + Past Perfect Life

pub 7/9/19 by Imprint
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
Now here's a series conclusion that did not disappoint! I've been a huge fan of The Traitor's Circle trilogy since it came out and each book has been consistently good. I've read a lot of fantasy trilogies and re-read a lot of paranormal series this past year and what stood out to me in reading The Traitor's Kingdom is how well Beaty paces her stories and how she chooses to focus on the right drama instead of senseless ones (read: love triangles). Every moment pushes the plot forward or becomes a nugget or clue to a future reveal. Even though this book felt the most predictable for me, that didn't take away from my enjoyment or from the lead-up to the main characters finally figuring it out themselves. And surprisingly, it was refreshing to read fantasy that didn't involve any magic. It's more politics, intrigue and strategy which normally isn't my cup of tea but with Sage Fowler and Alex Quinn leading the way, I don't mind one bit. Sage has come a long way from the young girl who botched her interview with town's matchmaker to then become a spy, counselor to the throne, and now, ambassador for Demora representing the the crown as she tries to prevent a war with a rival kingdom. Likewise, Alex is now the major of an elite army and tasked with protecting Sage, the crown and their efforts to secure peace. When an assassination attempt throws a wrench in those plans, Sage and Alex must do whatever they can to reveal the culprit and set things right. It's a lot of high stakes and a couple moments made me gasp out loud in surprise but I loved how the book was a balance between the action and strong character development. Both Sage and Alex feel the pressure of their positions which means they make mistakes and feel doubt. But their love for one another shines through as it always does and their interactions made me laugh out loud (and swoon!), which provided much-needed relief. There's also friendship as the bonds between Alex, the men who follow him and the women Sage has met through out the series become a part of their circle. I really felt this with a fitting conclusion to the story and the characters I've come to love.

Do I recommend? I do! This is kind of an underrated series (IMHO!) and one that I wished would get more love and attention.

pub 7/9/19 by Bloomsbury YA
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
(Sidenote: not my best photo 😂)
It's been years since I last read a book by Elizabeth Eulberg and Past Perfect Life was a great reminder of why I became fan back in my early blogging days. Allison Smith is a happy high school senior living in Wisconsin with her widowed father who she has a close relationship with (very reminiscent of Veronica Mars and her dad). She belongs to a great group of friends, who feel a lot like family, including Marian and Neil who might be making the transition from friend to something more than that (they are adorable). Right now her biggest concern is sending out all her college applications and just when she thinks she done, admissions spots a red flag and informs her that she's not actually Allison Smith. This book could've easily delved into the more mysterious or even thriller-ish aspect of this scenario but Eulberg wisely decides to keep it focused on the characters. Namely what this revelation does to Allison and how it upends her whole life and sense of identity. A lot of the story takes place in Allison's head as she comes to grips with this news, which was both a good thing and somewhat bad. It was good because this does affect her most of all and it was important to get her unfiltered feelings. But because there are so many people in her life – friends who are family, biological relatives and a father who did a really terrible thing but also deeply loves her – I wish more time had been spent on the latter and exploring how finding out the truth had this ripple affect on all the aforementioned relationships. It's touched on, but I wanted a lot more or at least an ending that gave a bit more closure.

Do I recommend? It's quick and interesting read so if you've been eyeing this book, I'd recommend borrowing it from the library.

1 comment

  1. I was curious about Past Perfect Life, so it was nice to read your thoughts on it! I might have to check it out (when my TBR is at a more manageable number). And I couldn't read your full review for the finale of the Traitor's Circle series, but I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm considering maybe binge reading the books next year!

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