After reading so many great books in February, March had a tough act to follow. Whilst I didn't find a series I like as much as I like Penryn and the End of Days, I did manage to find a series I read just as quickly, and very nearly liked just as much as Penryn and the End of Days. Read on to find out what it was!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 
After watching both her parents murdered, Jude is whisked away to live her life in Faerie - life there is difficult, made even more so by the cruel prince Cardan 

Holly Black is an author I've been aware of for a while due to her connection with Cassandra Clare, who wrote The Mortal Instruments, one of my favourite series ever. I'd seen The Cruel Prince, the first novel in a new trilogy, floating around on social media and it was this that I finally settled on after finishing the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy.

I feel a bit sorry for this book, because I'm pretty sure Penryn and the End of Days will be the best, if not one of the best, series I read in 2018. Because I enjoyed this series so much, it took me ages to get into The Cruel Prince and I didn't enjoy it as much as I think I might have done had I not read something so phenomenal beforehand.

Unfortunately it took me quite a while to get into The Cruel Prince. I found Jude absolutely insufferable, I couldn't get onboard with the way the novel is paced and I really couldn't figure out what the plot line was supposed to be. Eventually, about 75% of the way through, I finally started getting interested in what was happening. I always endeavour to NOT spoil things in these mini reviews, so it's hard for me to explain how I felt by the end but Jude really surprised me and the ending had me desperate to see how things pan out after all.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Alina has lived all her life feeling unremarkable - just a plain oprhan girl with a future in the army ahead of her - but when she is plunged into a life or death situation, her powers are revealed and her life will never be the same again 

For some reason, until I actually downloaded this book, I'd never actually heard of it before, which is weird, because it is so incredibly up my street. I actually discovered it because I'd stumbled across The Language of Thorns, another book by Leigh Bardugo, and my research into this book made me realise I might appreciate The Language of Thorns more if I read Shadow and Bone first.

I am so glad I decided to read Shadow and Bone because it was awesome. From the very first page I was completely gripped. I found Alina so relatable and human. Whilst I often like the characters in Young Adult (YA) fiction, I rarely see elements of myself in them, but Alina felt like someone who had similar thought processes, emotions and fears to me.

Brilliant characters aside, I also loved the twists and turns in the plot of this novel. There were a lot of things I just didn't see coming, the romance was believable and the ending had me desperate for more.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 
The second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy

After finishing Shadow and Bone, I naturally launched right into the sequel, Siege and Storm. Like its prequel, I was instantly hooked. The introduction of new characters was really well done, and I soon found some new favourites. Again, the plot kept me on my toes and I found myself surprised and wondering how certain relationships were going to pan out. I also really liked the way that even though Alina narrates the story, she still keeps her secrets so you don't see some of her plans and schemes until she actually executes them.

My only tiny niggle with the novel was that I would have done certain things that Alina didn't. But I think that's more of a reflection of who I am as a person rather than a genuine issue with the story...

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 
The final book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy

Just as I did with Penryn and the End of Days, I finished Siege and Storm on a Friday evening on the way home from work and when I got home, I sat and read Ruin and Rising in one go.

What an epic conclusion to the series.

I loved the way the novel starts quite slow and than BAM - the action begins and it doesn't really stop until the end. There are some brutal scenes in the final book of the trilogy and some fantastic adventurous journeys. I was well and truly hooked.

I was, I must admit, slightly disappointed with the ending - it's not the way I wanted it to go - but, it was very well done and certainly in keeping with the cheesy ending I've come to know and love in YA fantasy fiction.

Did you read anything fantastic this month?

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Emily Jane has
read 13 books toward
her goal of
52 books.