I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Published by Flatiron Books, Macmillan Audio on March 7, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural
Length: 16 hours 45 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
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“A new kind of vampire story, and the result is a surprising and spellbinding tale.” —Laura Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chaperone
“Great for fans of Interview with a Vampire and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.” —Library Journal
Suspenseful and enchanting, this breathtaking debut spans history, weaving a story of love, family, history, and myth as seen through the eyes of one immortal woman.
Collette LeSange has been hiding a dark truth: She is immortal. In 1834, Collette’s grandfather granted her the gift of eternal life and since then, she has endured centuries of turmoil and heartache.
Now, almost 150 years later, Collette is a lonely artist running an elite fine art school for children in upstate New York. But her life is suddenly upended by the arrival of a gifted child from a troubled home, the return of a stalking presence from her past, and her own mysteriously growing hunger for blood.
Combining brilliant prose with breathtaking suspense, Jacqueline Holland's The God of Endings serves as a larger exploration of the human condition in all its complexity, asking us the most fundamental question: is life in this world a gift or a curse?
This was fantastic! I listened to the audiobook, wonderfully performed by Saskia Maarleveld, while following along in a print copy and loved every moment I spent with this epic story. This is a vampire story but it is a different kind of vampire story than what you might be used to. The story is told from Anna/Anya/Collette’s point of view both in the past and in the less distant past of 1984. This immortal woman has seen many things and has done more than a few things she struggles with. I found it easier than expected to empathize with this reluctant immortal.
This story takes us back to Anna’s childhood when her community is plagued by sickness. Anna is saved by her step-grandfather and eventually remade into an immortal. She leads a very lonely life at times but is able to connect with a few key individuals throughout her life. The chapters from Anna’s past are alternated with those from Collette’s more recent years where she runs an exclusive preschool. There is one boy and his family in particular that has captured her attention. She cares deeply even though the things she must do to survive sometimes may harm others. I couldn’t wait to see what she was drawn to and the choices that she would make. The story was beautifully written and at times impossible to put down.
Saskia Maarleveld was the perfect narrator for this story. She captured every aspect of this immortal character throughout the many stages of her long life. I thought that she also did a great job in bringing the secondary characters to life, some of which were children. I liked that she was able to bring out the emotional aspects of the story. I am certain that her performance added to my enjoyment of this wonderful story.
I would definitely recommend this book to others. This is an epic story that took me on a journey that I will not soon forget. The writing pulled me into the story almost immediately. It is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut novel. I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future.
I received a review copy of this book from Flatiron Books and Macmillan Audio.
I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten
Series: The Nightshade Kingdom #1
Published by Orbit on March 7, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Romance
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In this lush, romantic epic fantasy series from a New York Times bestselling author, a young woman’s secret power to raise the dead plunges her into the dangerous and glamorous world of the Sainted King’s royal court.
When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.
Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.
Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne'er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.
But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.
I thought that this was really good! After enjoying this author’s previous work, I was excited to have the opportunity to read her newest release which is the start of a brand-new series. I must say that I think that this may be my favorite book of hers yet. I loved the magic, characters, and world-building in this story and was thrilled that the story kept me guessing right up until the last page.
Lore works as a spy and poison runner. After things go wrong, she is brought to the palace to spy on Prince Bastian and help the king and his priest figure out what is going on in some of the villages that are being wiped out. Lore is brought to court with Gabe who is posing as her distant cousin. Lore, Gabe, and Bastian were all great characters that were up against an almost impossible situation. I loved learning about the magic system in this book. Lore can use a type of death magic known as Mortem which I found fascinating.
I was never quite sure who could really be trusted and I thought that the politics of the story were incredibly well done. The story was exciting and had enough action to keep me glued to the pages. To say that some parts of the story came as a shock is a bit of an understatement. There is a bit of a love triangle but I didn’t mind because romance is not the main focus of the story and I thought that it was handled well.
I think that fantasy readers will really enjoy this one. I found the story to be very entertaining and almost impossible to put down at times. I am eager to see what will happen next in the series.
I received a digital review copy of this book from Orbit Books.