Title: Dreams Lie Beneath Author: Rebecca Ross Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance Publication Date: November 2nd, 2021 Publisher: Quill Tree Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“A curse plagues the realm of Azenor—during each new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians, who serve as territory wardens, stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians challenge her, she is unwittingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she secretly gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets begin to rise. Clementine must unite with her rival to fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn.” (Goodreads)
I recently read another book by this author that was an arc and really enjoyed it. Her covers are always great and the blurbs always make me curious for the story within. This book did exactly that as well. How can you say no to this cover? Magicians dueling and nightmares? Sign me up! I’m glad I was finally able to dive into this book and the unique plot it had to offer.
The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Clementine. She is an apprentice/partner to her father who is the warden of a small town. A warden’s job is to ensure that all nightmares are written down and every new moon they face one of those nightmares. I have never read any other book with this type of job and I enjoyed learning what the job entailed through Clementine and her father, as well as those they would consider their enemies.
Besides her job, Clementine is a wonderful artist. Although this talent wasn’t a large part of the book, it does play into her choices. I liked seeing Clementine be very human with her feelings, especially when it came to revenge. I think we can all relate to her because of that. We all want the final word and she comes up with a wonderful plan to do so. One that had me intrigued from the beginning and all the way until the end. It made the book very hard to put down.
The plot is not just filled with magicians dueling, nightmares, and revenge. There is romance (enemies-to-lovers if I might add!) and a mystery to solve which will hopefully break the curse that plagues them. Even though there is a lot going on, the plot is still easy to follow and it all comes together nicely. I will say that the romance lacked just a tad bit for me but not in a way that made me dislike or anything. I just wasn’t fully enamored by it. If that makes sense.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read! I liked learning about Clementine and what she would do for revenge. The other characters were fascinating, especially towards the end. The plot is unique and had me reading way past my bedtime. If you haven’t tried this one yet, I’d definitely recommend doing so. It’s also a standalone so you don’t have to commit!
The Zhao Kingdom was about to be invaded by the approaching army of the Wei Kingdom.
Rather than suffer the insult of a defeat, the King of Zhao chose to hang himself. Princess Zhao Xuan woke up to find that she was the only one left out of her family’s suicide plans. Refusing to abandon her people, the headstrong princess decided to pick up the mantle and meet Prince Wei Xing in the battlefield.
A duel for the fate of her kingdom.
An unexpected proposal.
A strained marriage to the prince of the enemy kingdom.
Could love help the unconventional princess survive the oppressive social structures which she had rebelled against her whole life?
Warning: This book depicts scenes of suicide and violence.” (Goodreads)
I saw the cover on Kindle Unlimited and immediately added it to my tbr. The blurb also had my attention too.
When I started reading it, it reminded me of Mulan and how she became a soldier. Xuan does it for different reasons but still resembles Mulan in the way she carries herself and what she likes to do.
Even though this had the makings for a great story, it fell short for a couple reasons.
The first reason it fell short was that the romance and start of the relationship happens very quickly. There is not enough time to get to know Xuan or the prince. He also seems too good to be true and I just didn’t like him that much.
The second reason is that the plot moves so quickly because it is a short book. I wish the author would have made the book longer so that there would have been more from the characters, romance, and world-building.