Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, The Tarnished by E.S. Christison

 It's another day of book birthday celebration! This one came out yesterday, so it's very new to the shelves. It's the 2nd book in a series, and I did read the first one already back in 2020 and enjoyed it quite a bit. Since that book ended with a cliff-hanger, I was excited to see what happened next. So, let's dive in and see.

The Blameless, #2
by E.S. Christison
Wildling Press
Young Adult Fantasy
372 pages

Princess Briana has escaped imprisonment and is on the run. Her beloved Predonia is in upheaval as the villainous Vaylec tightens his grip on the Blameless, tearing the kingdom apart in search of the girl who’s evaded him. To regain her people’s freedom, Brie must turn her back on her friends and her new home as she and her uncles race to uncover the secrets of Vaylec’s mysterious and growing power. There is no safety nor rest for the usurped heir to the throne, and Brie must dig deep inside herself for strength to take action as her world crumbles around her.



I did read the first book in this series and enjoyed it quite a bit. This second book (and this needs to be read as a series) grabbed me more than the first.

Brea, thanks to her uncles, has escaped evil Vaylec's grasp, but that's only the beginning, since she now has to find a way to stop Vaylec and help her people. With her amazing uncles, who do have their own lives and responsibilities but give them up to help her, she heads out to uncover the secrets surrounding Vaylec and try to find a way to turn things around.

This is a young adult read, which works well for teens, too, since Brea is only fourteen and also comes across that age. There's a wonderful sense of family and growing friendship. It's like a moment of fresh air whenever the uncles' families hit the scene, since it adds a great balance of calm and security to the otherwise dangerous situations they face. There's also the first signs of a romance, but this stays more on the sidelines, since Brea really has enough on her plate. But that doesn't mean there isn't emotion and moments to touch the heart. Mixed with the action, secrets, and tense scenes, something is always happening.

I did enjoy Brea's character development in this book as she slowly learns to embrace who she needs to be...which for a 14-year-old is a lot to ask. She makes mistakes, is hesitant, and comes across pretty realistic. But then, many moments in this read come across very naturally, which gives it a nice flow. 
It was fun to root for Brea and those rallying around her, and it will be interesting to see where al of this goes next.

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