Updated: Mar 6
Hi guys, Sarah here! It has indeed been a moment since we have posted. Apologies for that! Things are so hectic for all of us right now. I will do my best to get back into the swing of things again. Try to post something every other day if possible. That would be glorious~
So usually I let Ashley go ahead first, because her skills at note taking and writing about these books are legit amazing. She really delves deep into it and I love her writing! Also, apologies, our lovely Paige has already read these and her work schedule is a bit hectic so she hasn't been able to post. So you all get stuck with Ash and I! *Insert evil laughter here*
Anywho, I decided to go ahead and make a post revealing how I felt about this book. Like I said, when Ashley finishes she will delve in deeper, whereas I feel I graze the surface. So let us begin!
The third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series. Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose. Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory. Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.
This was honestly my favorite of the whole series so far. And that is including the seven realms series before this. I'm a huge fan of Evan and seeing more of his back story PLUS the interaction with him and Destin made my fangirl heart squeal. The two love one another, but Destin doesn't really like himself and thinks of himself as a monster, whereas Evan is ready to give his heart to him, but since things turn for the worse they haven't seen each other in awhile. But when they do meet up again, there is that comfort, but that knowledge they have alot they don't know about one another.
Also, let's just take a moment and go.....that ending! I want to know about what Lila has planned for Hal who is just trying to get peace in his country so they can get together and go after Lyss. So Hal has his own decisions to make, Lyss is now 'Queen', and what is going on with poor Breon?? He has been silenced this whole time and I want to learn more about what is happening to him in private. He had been doing so well not on Leaf, and now the Empress forces it back upon him along with his silence. How painful is that for him I wonder?
Now, there are some things I still find through her books that are not clarified as much and I feel she needs to stop and explain. Like the amulet. You mean to tell me that Han couldn't communicate much sooner than this? And since we are coming up to the final book, I feel like it's going to just be brushed aside and the reasoning will be " Cuz I can." I also found the part with Queen Raisa being poisoned COMPLETELY rushed and her monologue cringey. Other than that though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am excited to read the finale. Overall, due to the Evan bits-- I score this a 4/5.
Ashley- Oh, Stormcaster, you little naughty bastard. How delightful you've turned out to be. Ah, I give much praise to this third installment in the Shatter Realms series. Straight from the start, Sarah and I may have fangirled. Would you like to know why? Evstin. Ahhh, yes, you heard that right. Nearly the first half of this book was told in Evan and Destin's perspective. Since my favorite is Destin, and Sarah's favorite is Evan, this had us bouncing on the walls.
The central premise of this book is to get the Realms to work together to defeat the empress. The empress comes with her hard to kill bloodsworn army. As we know, the empress has been hunting the magemarked. She also wants to conquer the realms. If Arden and the North can't come together now that King Gerard is dead, and his son, King Jarat has taken his place, then the Realms could be finished.
Hot dang this book had a lot of good moments in it. For one, we get to find out about Evan and Destin's past. Both are quite heartbreaking. Poor Evan was orphaned at ten and picked up by a man named Latham Strangward that crewed a ship. When the empress found the ship looking for him, a fight ensued, which left Evan in the water swimming to land and the other dead or turned bloodsworn.
When we come into Destin's perspective, we find that he and his mother have been on the run for two years from his father. His father disliked Destin and refused to believe that his son was biologically his. He began beating Destin's mom. They start staying in a cabin that they don't know Evan has been occupying since nobody had been there for a time. YES. This is their first meeting *insert googly eyes*. Destin's mom invites Evan to stay with them to help around the place.
After a while, Destin buys Evan a ship, since Kadar, someone he makes contracts with for work, won't give him work since he's mad at him. Yes, this is such a sweet moment!! These two are crushing on each other, though they don't admit it.
And now, the beautiful kiss they share. It's short. It's sweet. I want more!! I hope to get more!! It's the only kiss they share in this book. Also, enjoy this quote that Evan says to Destin, "Say it," Evan said, in low, seductive voice, "and I promise, I'll whisper monster in your ear whenever you want."
Unfortunately, Destin's father does find them. He collars Destin as well. One thing I do hate that Chima does is animal deaths. In this instance, Destin has a dog named Breaker that he loves very much. His father nearly decapitates him the dog, leaving him to die. Not only that, but Destin's father also makes Evan punch Destin in the face. This moment hurt on so many levels for me, but I understood exactly why it went down that way. Destin pretends to scuffle with Evan, slipping his amulet down Evan's shirt. Two guards take Evan to kill him, but he uses Destin's amulet to kill them instead. He is distraught that Destin has been captured and taken to sea, in his rage, to let Destin know he's alive, he sends heavy bolts of lightning through the sky. I was very grateful that Breaker is saved thanks to Evan accidentally giving the dog some of his blood. He now realizes like Celestine, he can create bloodsworn. He does do this when he runs into Celestine and takes some of her bloodsworn and makes them his. He chooses to call them Stormborn, and he knows them from the time he spent with Latham Strangward. We also find out that when Destin and Evan do meet again years later, Destin is the one who sets up the facade for Evan to come to the King with a dragon in tow.
After a time, we do jump into other POV's. We find out that Hal leaves Talbot, heading back to his home to try to convince the realm to help aid the north against this new threat. We get to witness as Hal and Robert go against their father's wishes to try to save the prisoners of the thanes. In doing so, they come across Destin, who devises a plan to help them get the prisoners out. They can succeed in doing this, but Lila, who has been working with them, had her card to play, sending the families to the queen of the north instead of releasing them. She wants the thanes and King Jarat to agree to work with the north and feels this is the fastest way to get that to happen.
There is a weird scene in the book where Raisa gets poisoned, and Ash comes and tries to save her. Raisa does briefly die, but weirdly, of course, Ash's serpent amulet starts thrumming, and Han ends up sort of talking to Ash. Ash places his mother's hands on the amulet, and all of a sudden, she is saved, though her claim to the line is broken, along with her bond with Amon.
We do also get to see how Lyss and Breon are. They are taken her land. We learn a little bit more about Celestine, who claims that she has nine siblings that were stolen when she was 13. Breon being one of them. She has him so doped up on leaf that he can't do much. Celestine understands that her bloodsworn army may be loyal, but they need heavy direction. She agrees to let Lyss not be bloodsworn as long as she becomes captain of the army. After Lyss saying she would, but need competent people, the empress gathers up some people from the north. While alone, Bosley tries to force himself on Lyss for his political reasons. Jenna and Cas see this happening from the sky and swoop in to help Lyssa. Once they get talking, Jenna finds out that Lyss is related to Ash. Not only that but later, Lyss sees her ancestors in wolf form who tells her that since her mother did technically die, Alyssa is the new queen of the north.
That's where we left off—time to dive into book four.