The Hemlock Queen is a slow burn filled with political intrigue, high fantasy world building and interesting magic systems.

It does take a bit of time to really feel like the plot is going somewhere, but it’s entirely worth the wait with how satisfying the story always comes together in these books.

The characters are everything in this series. I continued to adore both Bastian and Gabe, not to mention loving Lore as a main character. And I can’t get enough of the little pre-chapter snippets that typically contain tidbits of history for the world or meaningful dialogue that adds to the readers knowledge of the world and the people. I always feel like it fills in some necessary information or something that will later become significant and it’s such food for thought in inciting theories while I read or clueing me in on something meaningful. They basically act like little crumbs that keep the mind whirling and well fed.

Now back to the characters, something about these books that feels so significant for me is the fact that I am so torn between the seeming love triangle going on. This never happens for me and is such a testament to how incredible the characters are and my strong love for them. I am always very set on my ships as far as romance. I want one couple and that is and all, I will not so much as consider another alternative and will be immensely disappointed if it doesn’t happen (here’s looking at the Darkling and Alina T_T). But let me tell you, I am beside myself trying to decide if I love Bastian or Gabe more. And listen, I would not be opposed to both being the end game. Just when I think I’m all for Bastian, Gabe enters the scene and I no longer know anymore. Then Bastian is in a scene and I’m swooning over him all over again. And back and forth. I’m pretty sure the only solution is for a relationship between all three.

Then there’s the world building. I was so happy to get my biggest wish, that being that the second book delves even deeper into the lore of this world and expands on the world itself. This was one of the largest draws of the first book for me and it continues to hook me into the story and the world it depicts in the sequel, particularly expanding on the gods themselves which was very eye opening and intriguing. This also includes the magic system, and of course another huge draw for myself, the politics of the world which are just as intricate in The Hemlock Queen.

And of course the plot itself has me hooked. With the further delving into both the world and the story itself, I was so enthralled by the second installment in The Nightshade Crown series. And holy moly does the last bit of the book ever amp up. When I was at about the last 10-20% of the book I found myself wondering just how it would wrap things up so fast considering how intense and deeply into things the story gets at that point. I felt like there was no possibly way the current point of the plot would be able to come to some kind of conclusion that quickly. And it definitely convinced me this wasn’t the last book in the series. With that in mind, prepare yourself for one hell of a cliffhanger because the story is left at such an open point right in the middle of a whole heck of a lot going on and a lot of anxiety inducing events that have taken place that I honestly don’t know how I’m going to wait for the sequel. The wait for the third book is definitely going to be even harder than it was waiting for this second one.

The Hemlock Queen is definitely a recommend from me and I will be awaiting the final book in the series just casually biting my nails and wondering what exactly is going to happen to these characters I’ve come to love so much. No biggie.


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