The publisher kindly offered me a reader copy via Edelweiss. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my own opinion.
This series has resided in my mind ever since I read the first book back in early December, 2019. When I say “resided in my mind”, I mean I’ve been thinking about Eva and this world constantly. I have read maaaaany YA fantasy books. I love a lot of them. But some series are special in the way they resonate with your soul, so deeply they’re a part of you, and that when you have a bad day, you think about it and smile with nostalgia and reminiscence. This is what this duology means to me.
Eva is such a strong role-model. I love how strong-willed she is and how opinionated she is. She holds on to her beliefs, admits her flaws and wrongs. She grows from them, she learns from them. It isn’t that she isn’t afraid. It’s her need to make things right that drives her, and that is not only admirable, but also rare.
My favorite kind of antagonist is the misunderstood one. The one who does ‘bad things’ but doesn’t necessarily have ‘bad’ intentions. That has always been Isa for me, and she doesn’t disappoint. She’s a force to be reckoned with. She struggles with what she wants, yet she knows who she is, flaws and strengths. That is also rare.
Aketo, Falun, Bacchia as well as Mother Ysai and Anali complete this magnificent cast. Everyone with their distinct personalities and quirks, they are all so well developed that if you give me a line, I’d be able to tell you who would say it.
The world-building and setting are one of the lushest I’ve ever read. With every page that I read, I kept wondering, How Did Amanda Joy Come Up with So Many Details???? They were expertly weaved into the narration and the story as if they belonged there, like a thread that if you pulled, everything would unravel. The intricacy in this novel blew my mind away, but Bacchia’s humor and Eva’s wit drew me back to the story. That and the feeling of being chased by thousands of the Queen’s Guards.
Myre feels like home to me. Part the characters, part the spectacular world-building, part the excellent writing. But I think what really did me in was the themes. As a person who comes from two countries and cultures, the reoccurring theme of having one foot in one identity and the other foot in another, that went straight to my heart. Amanda Joy weaved that theme so well that I felt understood. A country that was taken from its rightful citizens, freedom stolen away. People who did the best they could to survive and sacrificed so much for a brighter future. The themes in this book make my heart ache in agony for what they went through and smile at the characters’ light and perseverance.
The book does follow a semi-unusual structure, as in we’re moving all the way until 90% in the book. We do receive a well-done and well-deserving resolution. I loved all decisions pertaining the ending. As a huge fan, I got my closure with tears in my eyes as I knew that this is the final book. But I’d have liked to have at least one more scene with Isa to see her thoughts at the end.
Eva, Isa, Bacchia, Aketo, and the others are one of the most delightful casts I’ve ever read. This world, the author’s choices, as well as the core of the story (sisterhood and the beauty of who you are no matter what you look like) make this book stand out from miles away.
A Queen of Gilded Horns is an outstanding conclusion to a mesmerizing duology that will forever hold my heart and thoughts. And the author is an instant-buy for me. I don’t need to read the summary of her next book. I’ll buy it and continue on my merry way, knowing I’ll love the journey.
A million stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Amanda Joy
Publisher: Penguin Teen
About A River of Royal Blood (Book One)