I’ve been making great progress on my summer reading goal of getting through my arcs, but I’m a bit behind on writing reviews. The good part of that, though, is that you can go out and buy these books as soon as you finishing reading this post!
Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep (July 6)
Princess Gemma of Andvari is known as Glitzma for her love of fashion and pretty things. But what her subjects don’t realize is that this persona is largely a front, and she uses a lot of her trips as an opportunity to spy. Most recently, a string of disappearances of tearstone, an expensive and valuable stone often used in conjunction with magic, has led Gemma to pose undercover as a miner in a border town near Andvari’s mortal enemy, Morta. But the plot she uncovers quickly becomes much bigger than she could have ever expected, and she needs the help of Mortan Prince Leonidas — her onetime childhood friend before he betrayed her — in order to get to the bottom of things.
I enjoyed Capture the Crown so much! Jennifer Estep just has a way of grabbing me and pulling me in and getting me invested on her heroine’s journey, and Capture the Crown was no exception. I was having trouble getting myself to read when I started this book, but I was quickly hooked and had a hard time putting this down to go to sleep! I just really liked seeing Gemma get caught up in court intrigue and spying and growing into her power as a princess of Andvari. And the romance! It was so slow burn it was painful, and I needed to pick up a true romance immediately after finishing this, but it was so good! I can’t wait to see it more developed in the next book. Estep has done a great job crafting a compelling, heroine-centered fantasy and laying down the groundwork for even bigger stakes in future books, and I can’t wait.
There are a few things I wanted to point out that kept me from fully loving this book. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely and will absolutely be picking up a physical copy and pining for the sequel, but I do want to mention that I’m not sure this is that distinct of a book from the first trilogy. I just keep coming back to how masterfully Ilona Andrews continued their Hidden Legacy world while jumping from Nevada’s trilogy to Catalina’s and how different the two of them were while still being incredibly strong, and I’m not sure Gemma is all that different from Evie in the first trilogy? Maybe I’m wrong since I haven’t read those books in a while, but she feels really similar. Though Gemma does seem to be a little overly dramatic in her pronouncements about swearing to kill Leo and never trust him again, and I did have to roll my eyes a little bit. Also, as much as I love Leo, I still have some questions about their encounters as children that don’t totally add up for me? But like I said, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m very excited for book two. Why is May 2022 so far away?!
I received an arc of Capture the Crown from the publisher via Netgalley and purchased a finished paperback copy.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (October 13)
Black Sun is an epic fantasy inspired by pre-Columbian Americas, following two different story lines as an ancient prophecy reaches fulfillment. One story is set in Tova, where the Sun Priest Naranpa wants to restore the glory of her position after a horrible night maybe 20 years earlier when the previous priests slaughtered a large number of one of the four main clans for worshipping their ancestral god rather than the priests. The other follows Serapio as he travels to Tova in order to help him fulfill the prophecy and take revenge on the priests for slaughtering his people. As you can imagine the stakes are pretty high! And we meet a lot of other great characters along the way.
Ok, so this review is suuuuuuuper delayed. I actually got approved for a wish for it, which I was super excited about because of how much I’ve loved Roanhorse’s Sixth World series and how awesome the premise of this was. But then I didn’t read it. And then it was released, and the signed hardcover I’d preordered (which was super delayed) finally showed up. And I still didn’t read it. I think I just haven’t been in the mood for fantasy lately, so it took me way longer to pick up than it should have. But it was there when I was finally ready for it, and I’m happy to report that it was an excellent read!
Roanhorse is such a phenomenal writer. I don’t know how she does it, but I could tell while I was reading this book that it was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it, and I’m dying to know what happens in the next book! Beyond that, though, I’m kind of stumped about what else to say about this book? It was never slow, but it did take me a while to get invested in to the point where I couldn’t put it down. And it’s definitely a brutal book, though it never felt like the violence was gratuitous or too much. Idk. It was just really refreshing reading a fantasy for the first time in so long, especially one that isn’t centered on medieval Europe, and I loved seeing how all of these moving parts that have been in the works for decades finally came together, and how the two main plotlines interacted and built towards each other and the conclusion of the story. There’s been a lot of hype around this book, and I definitely think Black Sun lived up to it. Hopefully the wait for book two isn’t too long! Though if Roanhorse took a break to work on another Sixth World book, I wouldn’t complain!
I received an arc of Black Sun from the publisher via Netgalley and purchased my own finished hardcover copy.
Alright, there are a few fantasy reviews for you. Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t read much fantasy in a while, but dipping my toes back in for these reviews is reminding me how much I love it! Have you read either of these books, or have plans to pick them up? Let me know in the comments!