Sunday 25 February 2024

REVIEW: A Grim and Sunken Vow by Ashley Shuttleworth

Format: Hardback
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: November 28th 2023

The die is cast.

The era of Spring is over.

Riadne’s bloody coup on the Summer Solstice changed Arlo’s life forever. In one fell swoop and a fool’s bargain, she lost both her family and free will to the newly crowned High Queen. Now, with Arlo forced to use her powers as Luck’s Hollow Star to help summon the rest of the seven deadly sins, Riadne stands closer than ever to achieving her dark goals.

And Arlo isn’t the only one trapped in a frightening new role. Her ex-Fury girlfriend, Nausica√§, is determined to do whatever it takes to stay by Arlo’s side, even if that means becoming Riadne’s pet assassin. Aurelian and Vehan, torn apart, struggle to survive on their own.

Meanwhile, Celadon has been revealed as Riadne’s illegitimate son—and heir to both Spring and Summer, the ultimate offense in the faerie world. But the High Prince has secret plans of his own, plans made all the more complicated when the beautiful and deadly immortal Hunter Lethe takes an interest in him…

Five budding legacies will need more than luck if they hope to stand a chance against the greatest adversary the Courts have faced. For nothing’s more dangerous than a faerie tale… except the one who tells it, and maybe what they’re going to need is no longer that story’s hero but its villain.  

I,,,, don’t even know where to start. This book??? Was written for ME. I’ve been in love with this series since I first got my hands on A Dark and Hollow Star, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this latest instalment. Especially because it’s more focused on two of my favourite characters. A certain two people on the cover. 

And oh boy, was I treated after my wait. 

A Grim and Sunken Vow picks up immediately after the harrowing events at the end of A Cruel and Fated Light, throwing us right back in the middle of all the drama. There is a time skip after a few chapters, which I LOVED because it had me stressed and curious at the same time to see what had changed.  

How do I even begin to describe the love I have for these characters? I mean, Arlo is a fellow pansexual, so naturally I would die for her. Nausic√§a is so my type it’s painful. Vehan and Aurelian have that oh-so-special 'we’ve been secretly in love with each other forever and now we’re figuring out how to be more than best friends' thing going on. Which is a GOD TIER trope, btw. And then,,, there’s Celadon and Lethe.  

As a Lethe enjoyer from the very start of this series, I feel SO validated right now. You know how much I’m an absolute sucker for a villain who actually might be a big softie and only has their awfully traumatic past to blame for the way they are. Getting to discover more of his backstory was such a long-awaited treat. Even though it ripped my heart into tiny pieces, I adored every damn second of it.

The slow-burn romance that builds between him and Celadon literally had me climbing the WALLS. I love them so much and I don’t know how I’m going to cope without them. HOW CAN ANY OTHER SHIP COMPARE?     

  • Found family at it’s finest. I say found but some of them are actually related. Either way, the bond between these characters is *chef’s kiss*. Even though some of them get torn apart through the course of this story, there’s very little angst between them. They talk things THROUGH. Which is something we all need to be reading more of in books, actually.   
  • NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!! God, it’s so refreshing to read a YA fantasy series that doesn’t have a love triangle.  
  • The Moon. That's all I need to say. 

So, yeah, too many thoughts for a simple little blog post. I will be thinking about these characters every single day until we get the final book. I am NOT okay after that ending. 

Sidenote before I wrap things up: for anyone who isn’t aware, the UK publisher dropped this series after the second book, meaning we have to ship our physical copies in from overseas. I just want to say how utterly disappointed I am in the publisher for not seeing this series through to it’s end. It has so much important representation weaved in amongst the plot, and it’s made me feel so seen. All I can do is thank Ashley for writing such a beautiful story - I'll finish the series no matter where I have to ship it from.

Royal Rating: 

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