28 November, 2017

[Review] Briar Queen by Katherine Harbour

Series: Night and Nothing #2
Release Date: 02 June, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal/Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
ISBN:  9780062286727
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★☆
Review Written: 28 October, 2017 
Summary: Serafina Sullivan and her father left San Francisco to escape the painful memory of her older sister Lily Rose’s suicide. But soon after she arrived in bohemian Fair Hollow, New York, Finn discovered a terrifying secret connected to Lily Rose. The placid surface of this picture-perfect town concealed an eerie supernatural world—and at its center, the wealthy, beautiful, and terrifying Fata family.

Though the striking and mysterious Jack Fata tried to push Finn away to protect her, their attraction was too powerful to resist. To save him, Finn—a girl named for the angels and a brave Irish prince—banished a cabal of malevolent enemies to shadows, freeing him from their diabolical grip.

Now, the rhythm of life in Fair Hollow is beginning to feel a little closer to ordinary. But Finn knows better than to be lulled by this comfortable sense of normalcy. It’s just the calm before the storm. For soon, a chance encounter outside the magical Brambleberry Books will lead her down a rabbit hole, into a fairy world of secrets and legacies . . . straight towards the shocking truth about her sister’s death.

See more at HarperCollins's website.

In the continuation of Thorn Jack, readers are shown Jack and Finn trying to find a “normal” rhythm to their lives. Not an easy task when one of you was recently a heartless fae and the other is still obsessed with the fae who attempted to sacrifice her on Halloween. Along with this, Caliban is still lurking about, the fae aren’t telling things, Christy and Silvy are getting entangled in their own supernatural messes, and Jack’s heart might be fading. Finn begins to grow more distant as she continually has nightmares of Reiko Fata and learns that her sister might be alive somewhere in the Ghostlands from a mysterious newcomer named Moth.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Moth, while pleasant with Finn, attempts to murder Jack to “protect” her on the orders of Lily Rose. He then drags her further into the world of the ghosts by pointing out that Lily is alive in the house of the Wolf. The wolf, who just so happens to be Jack’s original master and creator, Seth Lot. While I enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of “is Lily Rose really alive”, it was hard to listen to at points given that Finn continually gets wrapped up in her own head. She could spend ten minutes debating over simple issues and forgetting she’s not immortal and can’t just charge into situations.

Caliban has a bigger role in the book, acting as one of the main antagonists towards the heroic quartet. He constantly keeps readers guessing as to what his motive is (beyond the self-proclaimed one of revenge for Reiko). Jack’s part tends to feel a bit forced in places, though the places where his heartbeat tends to slip were well written. Towards the middle of the book, after having been separated from Finn for most of the book in the Ghostlands, he makes perhaps the ultimate sacrifice by pleading with the leader of the Black Hunt (grim reapers) to take him instead of Lily to the realm of the dead so she can return to the world of the living with Finn. Though he means well, the sacrifice leaves Finn desperate to try and save him so she can have both Lily and Jack in her life.

While I enjoyed the book and had a hard time stopping myself from binge listening to it, the story felt very repetitive of the first book. Where in the first book, Finn had constantly run headlong into danger to rescue Jack, here she ran headlong to try and rescue Lily. At times she was almost neglectful of Jack or completely obsessed with him, depending on which way her mood swung. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the twist at the end, where Absolam noted that Moth had been restored by Finn’s kiss while she had the memory potion on her lips, and has reawakened Moth’s true identity.

All in all, this novel was a good read (or rather listen) and readers who enjoyed the first book should pick it up to give it a chance to continue in the world of Fair Hollow and Finn Sullivan.

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