Double Header: A Bookdictive REVIEW of the Grimoire Saga, Books 1 and 2Didn't I tell you that times were changin' here at Bookdictive Reviews? I just hosted my first giveaway! I was, well, confused. I'm not a new blogger but I never thought I was ready to host anything. I need a mentor! Which sucks, because I've been getting TONS AND TONS AND TONS OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK from you guys! So before I forget...
Shout-out to all of you who participated in my Grimoire giveaway--way more than I thought would enter!--and who have recently joined the blog. At 100 followers, I'll be hosting my own personal giveaway, featuring a NYT Bestselling author! So get the word out!
Okay, now for the reviews! SPOILERS ABOUND SO YE BEWARE!
Book: Lichgates and Treason, Books 1 and 2 of the Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce
Bookdictive Categorization: NA/Fantasy
Main character is college-aged, and most of the plot takes place in another realm through a magical portal.
Rating: 4/5 stars (Book 1) and 5/5 stars (Book 2)
Procurement: From the author
Recommend? If yes, to whom?: YES, but specifically to those who enjoy high fantasy and YA/NA but want something more relatable i.e. A main character they could identify with. Also to those who don't want frivolity (don't we all though?).
Lichgates (I really liked this cover!)
"Though it may sometimes seem as if life is decided for us, remember that in all actions before this, you made the choices which brought you here. You alone decide where to go next. There is always a choice."
And oh, what a choice! The main character Kara Magari travels through a lichgate (like a magic portal) to the world of Ourea (in my head, it's pronounced like 'aura' and I'm beyond jealous because that's a super awesome name). Kara starts out super tragically though. I found it almost unbearable because immediately, she starts talking about her mom, whom she feels like she killed. And then right away, HER DAD DIES. I can't even imagine. Can we just take a second to just FEEL for Kara? It breaks my heart. Unlike other fantasy books, Kara didn't start as an orphan. She's just living with this immense, dark guilt. And yes, she brings it up quite often. I personally can't handle it but I doubt others have this same difficulty. Okay, so she's in Ourea because she can't go back to the human world, and ENTER BRAEDEN.
Okay, fair warning: You won't love Braeden easily. I did not appreciate him until the second book. He's kind of weak at first, but he really grows over the course of the book. So if you're like "wow this guy isn't swoon-worthy at all" TRUST ME, IT GETS BETTER.
I feel like Boyce did this on purpose, so she can set up the story and have the reader not focus on any romance at first.
I'm not going to try and explain all of the different races of people--even I don't fully understand them. But there's a war going on, there's shapeshifting, and most importantly, the Grimoire.
If you've been following my reviews, you'll know that I reviewed a book a longggg time ago called UnEnchanted. This book featured a Grimoire, so I already knew what it was...well, kind of...this one had nothing to do with the Brothers Grimm but I DID know it was a magical book.
So the Grimoire is what tells Kara about the world of Ourea, and turns her into the Vagabond, which is an unbiased peace bringer and basically the savior of the realm.
I don't want to keep summarizing so I'll start giving my opinion now!
Admittedly, it took me awhile to get into the book. The beginning started out fine, but then in the middle it started to drag. I think part of the problem was because the focus kept shifting to Braeden, and that there were too many species/characters thrown at me at once. However, when the action started and Braeden and Kara started traveling around Ourea, I became more invested.
For the most part, it had a fast pace. However, sometimes it was too fast. I remember being mad at one point because I wasn't given a lot of description. Kara just sort of kept finding these lost pieces of a map that would lead her to the secret Vagabond village waaaaay too easily. Like girl, when is it ever as easy as finding a lost artifact on your first try? There were little things like this that kept happening, but I got over it because eventually, the story sucked me in.
WHICH LEADS ME TO...
...Treason! (Not my favorite cover--I think the theme of the Vagabond symbol should have kept going)
I read Treason way more quickly than I did Lichgates. I'm sure part of it was the blossoming love between Braeden and Kara, but I think it was mostly because I finally started to appreciate the mysticism that Boyce pulled out of thin air. This story is not one that is based on mythology or folk tales (save for the idea of a grimoire and a lichgate) and that is HARD to do!
The other thing that drew me in OTHER THAN THE ROMANCE was the struggle between good and evil. The story focused a little more on Braeden this time, the dark prince struggling to overcome his evil father. Braeden is a good guy who escaped his father's kingdom at an early age, and therefore doesn't believe in torturing people. However, he remains "dark" because he is still a Stelian (his race) and has an inherent enjoyment in killing. Morbid? Yeah maybe, but he's a tortured soul! Why? Because the romance YES THE ROMANCE really is important to the story: Kara straight up tells Braeden that they can't be together because she is the Vagabond and doesn't want him to get hurt. And that's where all of the drama is.
Well, not all of the drama. There's betrayal, deaths, and subplots. I really liked that I got to have more than just Kara's viewpoint. But Kara IS important--there's a spoiler that I just don't feel comfortable sharing because it was the one big WOAH that happened. Every book has one, and like most books, this one is towards the end. You'll know it when you see it.
So, after reading both books, I can proudly say that I got very attached to Braeden and Kara. I'm also super interested in seeing Deidre (the evil bitch who killed Kara's father) and her backstory more. She's an interesting villain. For a first series, I was very impressed. I think that Boyce's story will develop more and more throughout the series, and I cannot wait to see how it progresses!
***these copies were provided to me by S.M. Boyce's promotion team for her blog tour in exchange for promotion and honest reviews***