*I was given a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
Book Blurb (Via Goodreads)
The Anell bloodline is known for their loyalty and dedication to their family, kingdom, and the Crown. When tragedy strikes, the Anells do what they can to put things back together… which means being separated.
Even though she is in love with the king’s half-elf bastard, Caelia Anell is expected to become a Lady of the Court and marry one of the princes—and she will, after she is done upholding the family tradition: become a ranger for the Grey Keep. But when things go wrong during her testing and a dragon spirit bonds to her, Caelia tries to hide becoming a dragonkin—and her newfound magic—while facing a loveless marriage, a broken family, and a crumbling kingdom.
What I Liked
I mean…there’s always dragons! I also enjoy the magic system deployed in this series. I’ve come to enjoy worlds where I can see the nuts and bolts of how the magic exists in the world, especially when there’s a cost to using it.
What to Watch Out For
Trigger warnings for behind-the-scenes sexual assault (the sequence isn’t narrated). On a positive note, I really liked the star power given to a character with a disability in this story.
Sometimes I burn through a book in no time flat because I’m in a hurry to move onto something else I really want to read. This wasn’t one of those times.
I found myself with an exceptional amount of free time to catch up on my TBR last week. This book was one of the flurry that I tore through simultaneously — one audiobook, one print, and one digital (this was a digital ARC copy). Clocking in at 725 pages, I was a little worried I wouldn’t get through it in a decent amount of time, because my track record of late had not been stellar. But then, I got into the story. Like, got into it. It had been a hot minute since I read the first of the series, The Three, so it took a little bit to refresh on the vital elements of the arc in the world (Battle doesn’t directly follow up The Three, but runs concurrently elsewhere in the world). After my refresher, I was all in. I finished this book in four days, which in my view, says something significant.
Caelia is a strong woman leading the cast in this story, and straddles the line between a lady’s expected role and an adventurer who can fight for herself. One of the elements I liked most was feeling that I could genuinely understand what was happening in her mind and heart along the way, as well as those within her circle. On the other side of the coin, I absolutely LOATHED the villain in this story (spoiler free), which is really the point of good storytelling!
While I liked The Three, I LOVED this installment in the series. It felt even more immersive than its predecessor. I had the impression going through this story that Chesney Infalt, the author, has honed her craft considerably from one story to the next. This book is pure, enjoyable fantasy at its finest. I’m absolutely stoked for the next book in the series when it comes out!