Published by Simon Pulse
Published on 12 February 2019
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I have never before in my life skipped parts of a book and still finished.
This book was such a conundrum! The good parts were enjoyable, but I literally skipped some boring parts and didn’t miss anything.
There were a lot of points of view in this novel. And I mean, like, the blurb doesn’t even say that it’s multiple points of view, which really annoys me.
We had Veronyka, Tristan, Sev, some diary entries from a long-dead queen, and historical accounts provided at the end of some chapters. Honestly, I really liked the historical accounts. I thought they were a really fun and interesting way to provide more solid worldbuilding that didn’t rely on flashbacks or other infodumping. Some books with lots of different points of view can be overwhelming, and I’m not quite sure who I’m meant to be rooting for. In this book, at least things were consistent, even if it was told from third person point of view so that character voices weren’t any different.
Veronyka was a fun character to be around. She’d had so much grief and loss in her life, and it was really great to watch her character growth and follow her on her adventures going after what she wanted. It was great watching her develop from this frightened, cowed, dominated girl to this strong, confident lass who grew into her ambition.
Tristan’s POV was interesting because he had some really good hurdles to overcome and he wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for certain characters barging in and showing him better ways to do things.
Sev’s POV was so boring I literally skipped parts and didn’t miss anything. I was not into whatever romance he had going on with Kade. I did not care about his relationships with the other characters or his tragic backstory. I didn’t care what he did until quite close to the climax, and even then, I still thought it was boring. I understand why Sev’s point of view was there and I appreciate that the author probably tried to make it interesting with a romance and a backstory and everything but i just didn’t care. i didn’t care that he was an animage in hiding. I wanted to get back to the damn phoenixes.
The phoenixes themselves were quite interesting. They were giant birds, and quite intelligent, able to be bonded by those magically gifted to do so. In a lot of ways, they were very similar to Dragons of Pern, including bonding their bondmates together through sexual activity. I love the dragons of Pern, so it was very easy to adore the phoenixes too.
There were a couple of really big twists at the end of book, one of which I saw coming from a mile off but the other was like whaaaaaaaa. The obvious one was so obvious but I didn’t expect two twists. Well, i expected something else. So I felt a bit blindsided by it which was pretty cool.
It was so weird reading this book and really enjoying Veronyka’s point of view. She was by far the most interesting character. Tristan less so, but his parts were tolerable on account of his clear objectives and even more clear obstacles. Sev’s POV, I just didn’t enjoy. I literally skipped pages of it. I really am not in a place to be able to judge whether or what other readers might enjoy about it. I’ve rated it 3 stars for ‘I liked it’ because I’ve never skipped parts of a book and ended up finishing it, even though Veronyka’s parts were very good.
I know there’s a sequel out there, but because I found Sev’s parts so boring, i’m not that interested in investing my time in reading it.