My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?
The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.
ARC provided by Edelweiss and the Macmillan for an honest review. All quotes are subject to change with the final copy release.
Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.
The cover though…My gosh does this series have such beautiful covers! However, I am torn. There was so much hype building for this book, the first was so amazing! But AHSFAB was a bit of a let down. Hear me out.
The first book had very cool fight scenes written alongside the growth of friendships, possible love, and two brothers. AHSFAB had so much build to it, building character depth and answering questions that readers were left itching for at the end of the first book. But what this book barely has is action. The romance introduced was so slow. I could have read this faster, but there were more heart stopping books on my shelf to read. The slowness of this book could be compared to Heir of Fire, but was still slower. This book is mainly about Grey discovering his own individuality, not defined by Rhen or being a guardsmen. He steps into the role he was born to be, while also building a wonderful friendship with Tycho, Noah, Jacob, and Lia Mara. But whatever love you felt for Harper in the first, just let it go. She is present in about 2 chapters. AHSFAB is told strictly from Grey and Lia Mara’s POV.
Lia Mara: The eldest daughter of Karis Luran, she is like the black sheep to her mother. She has a vision for peace, which is why her sister, Nolla Verin, has been chosen to be Syhl Shallow’s heir over Lia Mara. Lia Mara has been this meek, quiet girl that whenever she has voiced her opinions, gets shut down instantly by her mother with distaste. Lia Mara, in an attempt to bring peace and an alliance between Emberfall and Syhl Shallow, sneaks off to Rhen’s castle. But Rhen, wary of any peace attempts with Karis Luran, takes Lia Mara as a prisoner until he is sure that the treaty she offers is true and not a trick. Lia Mara is very smart, courageous, she reminds me of a Hermione.
Grey: Grey is in hiding from Prince Rhen, using the alias of Hawk. He works for this guy Worwick, and befriends a boy named Tycho who is in debt to Worwick. He tries to keep under the radar and hide his past as a royal guard, lest to avoid being though of as a deserter or news getting back to Rhen that he is alive. He runs into trouble though when he gets into a brawl at Worwick’s Tourney and one of the Royal Guardsmen that is present recognizes him. Taken back to Rhen’s castle as a prisoner, he must now confront the inevitable; Rhen may discover the truth behind Grey’s identity and his magical ability.
Rhen: I hate this guy. Before, he was a broody prince that had been through so much heartache and emotional trauma. Now, he is blinded by his pain and fear from magic and orders all users of magic to be executed. He is troubled that his friend would hide in one of the villages after returning from DC. But when he demands to know why, Grey refuses to tell Rhen the real reason, leading Rhen to act out of his wrath. He has turned into a mad king, hellbent on finding the supposed true heir and practitioners of magic, and willing to go to whatever means necessary.
Harper: She became such a strong character in the first book. She had been overshadowed by her brother for so long, that when she came to Emberfall she had to find her own strength. You get a sense that she will be the tough female character that won’t put up with any nonsense and will stand up for what she believes in. Even in ACSDAL, she knew she had feelings for Rhen, but wasn’t sure if it was true love. She just met the guy and wanted to build on those feelings of affection for him. And it seemed like she had possible stirrings for Grey too…Wrong. She remains by Rhen’s side, even when he brutally whips Grey and Tycho (honestly made him nonredeemable to me). She stays with him when Grey, Jacob, Noah, and Lia Mara sneak off to Syhl Shallow, choosing to stay behind because “Rhen needs her.” Like seriously? You can clearly see he is losing his mind…get out of that negative relationship Harper!
Jacob and Noah They were my favorite characters by far. Jacob tells Grey what he needs to hear.
You don’t trust anyone at all…and I think that, more than anything, is what’s going to bring you down.
He helps Grey get past his reservations of going against Rhen. To realize that he no longer is Rhen’s guardsman, and therefore owes him nothing in return.
He wasn’t your friend, Grey. He had an eternity to be your friend, and he wasn’t. Even when you were dragged back to that castle, even after everything, he treated you like a criminal.
The world is full of men who underestimate women. Men who undermine them.
I loved this quote because it was so powerful. Lia Mara finds her voice to stand her ground against her mother, and it gives Nolla Verin power and strength to not conform to Karis Luran’s orders.
The epilogue though…oh lord it still has me reaching for the third book! Yes, book 2 was boring. But also powerful in the character development. It really is leading up to what seems like a massive cross of Rhen versus Grey/Lia Mara. And we know that Brigid Kemmerer can write a dynamite fight sequence after ACSDAL.
The dedication ❤️❤️ absolutely the sweetest and most moving dedication to the readers that I have read. Thank you Brigid Kemmerer!
Omg I just got an ARC for this and I literally cried!!!!!