Long Live Freedom by Elizabeth Hunt

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Kindle Price: $6.99

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

“When Karter, banished and alone, stumbles across the Kingdom of Conquistado, he finds himself recruited to the Pantasmas -the rebel group living in the forest just outside town. From there, they do their best to thwart Derex Fallon, a man who stole the crown ten years ago and has kept a strangling hold on the populace ever since. When a crazy tradition gives the Pantasma’s leader, Alick, the chance of a lifetime, Karter and Alick embark on a journey to the mountains beyond to find help of a most unusual kind. In this stunning story of a handful of teenagers struggling to fight the injustice of a nation there is mystery, romance, and adventure of all kinds. The Battle for Libre commences and the reign of Derex Fallon balances on the edge of a blade.”

My Review:

Fantasy. A genre that allows us to pretend, if but for a moment, that dragons, unicorns, and weres (oh my!) exist. There are only about one hundred and fifty pages, so Hunt didn’t have a large amount of space (of course, that was by design), but a short book is never an excuse for poor execution.

There was almost nothing wrong with the plot. I did see a couple of holes, a few circumstances and (convenient) outcomes that made me roll my eyes, and unnecessary death(s), but it honestly was a fairly solid plot. I think it could have really bloomed into a fantasy story that I would have loved to visit if some of the issues I’ll mention are addressed.

The characters could have been great. I liked the name “Alick,” it was different and “Karter,” which is (obviously) spelled with a ‘k’. The only issue is that cardboard has more depth than them. Don’t get me wrong, they have tragic backstories, but I wasn’t sold on them. I read them and thought, “Aw.” but that was as far as I felt. There was no conviction in the information they told and therefore I felt none. I knew their cause, what they had been through, but they all fell flat. All of them, Alick and Karter include, lacked character development altogether. If none of your other/side characters have any form of mental or personality or decision-making growth, at the very least, you owe it to the reader, (with few exceptions), to have your main characters grow. It’s the right thing to do. In addition to that, one character is singled out and undermined whenever it’s possible. Alick even said to herself that “It [ignoring them] made it easier to undermine [them].” The character in question was given such a bad attitude that I was/am convinced that they were a villain. Why do such a thing? It didn’t make much sense to me. A leader should never allow, encourage, or participate in the ridiculing of someone who follows them or anyone in general. That is bad form and doesn’t demonstrate leadership skills.

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Wings of Arian (The Solus series) by Devri Walls

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Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Kiora thought she had never heard a lie until she was sixteen. But she was wrong. Her entire existence was based on nothing but. She thought that evil did not exist. Lie. That magic was not real. Lie. And that the land of Meros was all there was. One more lie.
With Aleric telling her that evil is knocking on the door and that she is the only one who can stop them she has a choice to make. Refuse, or start the wildest most painful ride of her life.
She reluctantly dips her toe into her new existence of magic and threads, dragons and shapeshifters, and the person who wants to take control of it all: the evil Dralazar.
However, this journey was never meant to be hers alone. She will be accompanied by a Protector. To her disbelief, and utter irritation they name the hotheaded, stubborn, non -magical, (albeit gorgeous) Prince Emane. They will have to trust each other with their lives, but right now Kiora would settle for a non hostile conversation.
And now it comes down to this, If you had never heard a lie, would you know when you heard one? Is knowing good from evil innate? Kiora finds herself having to decide who lives and who dies on those very questions.

My Review:

I seriously enjoyed this book. It had me screaming with delight at so many points. However, I feel there was, once again, no reason to have a sequel. Will the sequel be good? It’s very possible. Will I read the sequel? No. The ending felt very “fake”, so to speak. As if Walls thought, “Hmm, I know this is written well, so let’s make a cliffhanger and make more books!” Am I saying that Walls did it for the money? No. Maybe she really did want to continue writing it, which is valid. Maybe it can’t fit into one book, and I can respect that. But, besides that, let’s talk about the book.

Kiora FINALLY. A realistic heroine I can admire. Kiora is powerful and she knows it, yet, she feels unqualified and unprepared for such a great burden. She doesn’t see herself as magnificent and magical as everyone else seems to see her and when she makes mistakes she seems herself unfit to lead. I sincerely appreciated that about her. She didn’t know she could do it, she didn’t expect everyone to follow her, she was just herself, slowly coming to terms that she must lead. I admire that she had weaknesses, made quite a lot of mistakes, some that hurt people, had the capacity to feel more than one emotion, and had the “I don’t understand, but I want to.” kind of mentality. She sincerely was a leader, and I would want to follow her. She didn’t insult her looks whenever she could, I don’t remember her insulting them at any moment. Unless, of course, she was muddy and bloody. While she was unsure of her capabilities, she was still willing to try. She did her best, even if it was hard. Kiora holds a past that brings her guilt, it explains why her parents are dead and why her sister is how she is. Yet, she refused to allow it to cripple her. I say all of this to say, Kiora was an excellent heroine. She had flaws, a pure heart, a mind willing to listen to wisdom, and the natural born gift to lead. A completely admirable character.

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