I have found my favourite book of 2023.
Yes we are only 6 months in, and some of my most anticipated reads of this year have not even been released yet, but I think I have found the one.
This book… THIS BOOK… Oh my goodness the way it floored me completely and utterly from the second I read the first page until weeks, WEEKS, after I finished it. It’s been a while since I had a book hangover and this book did just that.
The characters were just.. AH. The concept, the plot, the world, the dragons!!!!
I know I tend to get overtly excited when talking about books I enjoyed and maybe even claim that each book I read and love to be the absolute best thing ever and everyone should read it… but I can’t help it with this one. Do yourself a favour, especially if you love fantasy romance, read this book, obsess, cry, scream, laugh, and then come back and tell me it was not the best 24 hours of your life.
Note: this is a non-spoilery review
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.
But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.
With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.
She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.
Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
The pacing in this book was incredibly done. It moved at a quick pace but not leaving out essential moments for character development and understanding the world the author created. I loved how the trials played out and how soon we got to see the dragons introduced.
The concept as a whole was an incredible one too. It gave me hunger games vibes but with more romance and twists and turns to keep you rooted in place with intrigue.
I also loved how impactful some of the horrible things (like character deaths) were. As someone who gets attached so quickly and easily to characters, this kept me at the edge of my seat and in shock.
There were actually so many great characters in this book, that I tried to narrow down to the main ones for the purpose of not rambling, because I could quite literally go on all day about these characters and this entire book as a whole!
As the main female character, Violet delivered and then some. I found myself relating to her, cheering for her, yelling at her, and crying with her. She was the most well-rounded character, seemed so true to herself and despite the hiccups in her life, she still had possibility and hope brimming to her core. I loved watching her on her journey and the romance that took place. I love for a FMC to make me feel more confident and push myself more. But that cliffhanger – I need to see what the hell happens to her next!
Welcome Xaden to my collection of book boyfriends! He is that MMC, like I don’t even know where to begin. We have allusiveness, we have brooding, we have a dark and mysterious past but also present? We have banter and wit, and that intensity that only the questionable MMC can convey with his eyes. We have that rare fleeting moment of kindness and inate goodness that we know, we just know he is a good person at heart. I fell in love so quick and wanted to know more and more about him with each turn of the page.
I wanted to have a dragon so bad after reading about Tairn. I found him to be so intriguing, he had a fun sense of humour but also felt very big brother protective and caring for a dangerous being. I loved learning about the dynamics of the dragons through his eyes because he gave a very direct and opinionated view of his position within them.
Without giving spoilers, I did not expect Rhiannon to be who she ended up being. I thought we would get some sort of a negative twist painting her in a bad way but surprisingly she became a favourite of mine. I loved how she brought out the best of whoever she was around and her presence within the group was a light and you can see it through her connection with every other person. Also she reminded me of myself when ogling all the men around her LOL
Ok so Dain was possibly the only character I had a problem with and it goes beyond his questionable mind state in this book but more so of the fact that I wish he was more rounded as a character. I saw who he was around Violet and the story is from her POV so I get that but overall he fell flat to me. I get the intention of his character and what he was meant to do for the overall story arc and romance arc, but I just wish he was more of a person I could have actually rooted for. I feel like we only saw the bad in him at times and while it is valid if he is a horrible character but in this case I feel like there was more to him than we thought.
In this book we were mostly enclosed in the walls of Basgiath War College where a lot of the trials and interactions between competitors took place with hints and talks of the world outside, especially regarding the impending war going on.
I felt it was purposeful to keep the mystery of what can await them once their time at the college is over, but I also wish we saw more of the scenery and life outside. I am hoping in future books we can see more.
Well, BookTok has done it again. After seeing this on my fyp, I bought it and never looked back.
Truly this book kept me up. I thought about it for days after completing it and even found myself re-reading some of the chapters that had my heart racing and sweating with anticipation.
I LOVED the romance in this. There is nothing like a badass MMC who actually supports, champions, and encourages our FMC to be the badass bitch that she is. And that scene where he’s teaching her how to fight… Good Lord… seriously read this book, you will thank me and all of BookTok.
📜 Plot: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🧙🏼♂️ Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
❤️ Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🧕 Diversity: ⭐⭐⭐
Please let me know if you have read this book! What were your thoughts?!