Tag Archives: castle

Review: Ruby Moon by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry Jenkins

Ruby Moon by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry JenkinsRuby Moon (The 13 Series #2)
Trisha White Priebe and Jerry Jenkins
Shiloh Run Press / Barbour Publishing
Published on October 1, 2016

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Ruby Moon
In this delightful sequel to The Glass Castle, The Ruby Moon opens as preparations begin for the upcoming Olympiads. Join Avery as she learns that a male runner is needed for an important race and she volunteers so she can get close to the action. . . Can she hide her own identity? One slip-up could mean a trip to the dungeon–or worse. Much is at stake while the kingdom enjoys the greatest games on earth.

My Review
The most intense emotion I felt reading this book was confusion. The Goodreads summary and back cover copy focus on the race Avery runs. She hopes to win the prize—an audience with the king—so she can warn him of what she believes is a plot to end his life. In the book, though, the race happens early on and the scene itself only lasts a few pages.

Much of the book follows Avery as she gathers information about several different things. She tries to find out if the king has a surviving heir. She looks into some mysteries of her past about her family. She searches for clues as to why her friends seem to be going missing all of a sudden.

All of those threads were interesting, but they never really converged or developed into a full-fledged conflict with any sort of resolution. From beginning to end, Ruby Moon was a trail of breadcrumbs that didn’t truly lead anywhere. Most of the questions raised through the story still remain unanswered by the last page.

Ruby Moon doesn’t pause to explain a lot which might have happened in the first book. Avery describes her friends as captives, yet they seem to come and go within the castle pretty freely as well as make a few trips to the outside. So I wasn’t sure why they felt as though they were captives. In fairness, I didn’t realize when I picked this book up that it was the second book in the series. It’s possible the first book answers some of my questions and would make the setup of this story make more sense.

I’m not sure what to say about this book, honestly. I thought the concept was fascinating and loved that the story was powered by its younger characters. It could be that this book suffers from an issue common to second books—being light on plot and serving more as a bridge from the first book to the final series conclusion. If you like the concept—kids trapped in a castle trying to save a kingdom which seems to have wronged them—I’d recommend starting with the first book, The Glass Castle, rather than this one.

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Cultural Elements
Lots of characters with raven hair. No race details given in the story.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
The king believes having his representative win the race will show that he has God’s favor. He’s super invested in this outcome, and rumor has it, if his runner fails, it will be a fatal failure.

Avery retreats to the chapel to pray a couple of times.

Violent Content
Avery’s comrades seem to be disappearing from the castle. She worries what will happen if castle guards or dangerous men living under the castle find them.

Drug Content
Avery believes someone is slowly poisoning the king.

Review: Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

Shadow and Thorn
Kenley Davidson
Page Nine Press
Published March 12, 2017

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Shadow and Thorn
An exiled king.
An elusive thief.
And the treasure they would give their lives to possess…

Alexei is returning to his homeland after more than twenty years in hiding. His kingdom is destroyed, his people dead or enslaved. His only hope to provide sanctuary for those few who remain is the uncertain word of a traitor, a broken man who claims to know the hiding place of Erath’s greatest treasure. To find it, Alexei will have to return to the place where Erath fell, and brave the shadowed halls of a castle that echoes with the ghosts of his past.

Zara is a woman without a future—a treasure hunter, and a thief who hates to steal. Trapped by fate in an abandoned castle, she encounters a destiny she could never have predicted, and uncovers a treasure far greater than she ever imagined.

When their paths collide, Alexei and Zara may both have a chance to atone for past mistakes… unless they kill each other first. Brought together by enemies both expected and unexpected, they will plumb the depths of an unimaginable betrayal and forge the foundations of a love they would risk anything to keep.

My Review
Confession: The characters’ ages make this technically adult fiction, which I almost never review here. I’m making an exception for two (kind of flimsy) reasons. One is that I LOVE this series, and the other is that earlier books fit the young adult genre a lot better, so YA readers who’ve been along for the earlier books may want to know what I have to say about this one.

The only hiccup for me was the opening scene. I was kind of confused by what was happening and I wasn’t sure if I should be able to place it with something from a previous book. Once I got a few chapters in, I realized exactly what was happening in that opening scene, and I appreciated it a lot more.

I remembered Alexei from the third book in the series, and I definitely remember thinking I wanted to know more about him. So finding him at the center of this book was really exciting. I also liked Zara a LOT. She’s spunky and good, which you don’t often see paired together. I was a fan from the moment she walked on scene.

Shadow and Thorn is a re-imagining of the story of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s possibly the most clever re-imagining of that story I’ve ever read (and I do NOT say that lightly because Robin McKinley’s Beauty is easily in my top twenty-five favorite books ever.) because while it retells the story in a different way, it also becomes an origin story. I know that’s vague. I don’t want to give too much away, but there were so many moments as I read the story where things suddenly clicked and I was like, OHHHHHHH! I see what’s happening here! And that made reading it so much fun.

I also liked that Alexei has a team of allies–sort of the way the Beast has his servants in the castle who are loyal and often see things he doesn’t. It rounded out the cast of characters really nicely. The castle appears as a character, too, and I thought that was really imaginatively done. She is ancient and inhuman, and it definitely came across in her actions and desires and added some real complexity to the tale.

I feel like fans of Leah Cypess need to read the Andari books. Seriously. Something about this story reminded me of her debut, Mistwood. If you’re a fan of fairy tales re-imagined, you need to put this series at the top of your reading list. Kenley Davidson has published four books so far, and I’ve loved every one of them. If you’ve never heard of the Andari Chronicles before, check out my review of the first book, Traitor’s Masque here .

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
The Andari Chronicles feel rich with varied cultures. This story focuses mostly on one culture, which had previously been enslaved because of their magical abilities.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between a boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Magical abilities allow some people to do amazing things—manipulate crystals, predict the future, heal others, or control them.

Magical ability can also be used to form an unbreakable bond with someone. When someone shares a bond with someone else, they must stay near each other or risk death if they become too distanced from one another. Also, if one member of the bond dies, the other will follow.

Violent Content
Brief battles. Some soldiers become wounded.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.