Regular readers will know that I devoured the Cursebreaker series earlier in the year but Netgalley were generous enough to provide the opportunity to listen to this fantastic audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
The final book in the Cursebreakers series is a hard thing to come to terms with. Brigid Kemmerer has been messing with our hearts for 2 books so far and she isn’t about to let us go without a fight! Rhen and Grey are on opposite sides of a war, Harper is (deservedly) super mad at Rhen and Lilith has returned, seemingly unharmed. Is there nothing that can stop the enchantress?
Similarly to the previous two books, A Vow so Bold and Deadly is written from multiple POVs but what I loved in comparison to A Heart so Fierce and Broken is that we got a lot more of Harper! I really felt that Lia Mara took a bit of Harper’s “airtime” in the last book.
I also specifically loved the audiobook version because any third party’s speech within a character’s POV is done in that character’s voice – Rhen voicing Lilith is particularly hilarious.
The characters themselves seem to fall in my favour as we progress through the series and AVSBAD was no exception.
I still loved Harper with her fierceness and her sarcasm. I think the physical journey in the book (this is me trying to not give any spoilers) really spoke to her as a character and her unwavering, loyal nature and the fact that her anger towards Rhen took a long time to dissipate felt very real. I also loved her friendship with Zo but I must admit that sometimes Harper did border on petty – I guess she is fairly young though.
Lia Mara was a great character in AHSFAB, she was a breath of fresh air and I really admired her fight for peace in a violent kingdom. However, shacking up with Grey has made this Queen a wet fish! For a woman who has been raised with the notion that you do not need a man to rule Lia Mara severely disappoints. I really didn’t understand her character in the final book, she was unable to stand up for herself and totally dependent on Grey, even pining after him at times. It was sickening.
Grey has been my favourite in both the previous books, even when he was scary Grey! Don’t get me wrong he hasn’t totally changed and it is nice to see his struggles in gaining the loyalty of people in Shyl Shallow BUT his coldness towards Harper and THAT ending….nah it didn’t sit well with me. The fact that Grey has a claim to Emberfall is bad enough (it seems to be the only Kingdom in the fictional universe which includes bastards in the laws of succession) but to completely disregard Rhen is not the Grey the readers know and love.
Speaking of Rhen, and I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but Rhen has never been my favourite. He has gone from being a tortured prince to a torturing prince to a tortured prince again. He just doesn’t seem to develop. Yes, I felt sorry for him, particularly towards the end of the book but I didn’t love him. I nearly did in book 1 but then he ruined it in book 2 and has never redeemed himself. I particularly felt that the ending held no justice for Rhen – there was a clear path for a happily ever after for all and, while I love a good twist, I feel that Kemmerer’s choice of ending kind of kicked Rhen while he was down.
The ending of A Vow So Bold and Deadly definitely paves the way for a spin off book but that feels like it would centre more around Grey and Lia Mara and so I don’t know how much appetite I would have for it. I’d read it but it wouldn’t be top of my TBR.
Overall I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I had such high expectations after ACSDAL and was willing to overlook AHSFAB as plot filler but this ending fell flat for me. As someone who has read both the book and listened to the audiobook I would recommend the audiobook as it seems to keep you interested in that first few hundred pages where very little happens.