Book Review | In the Tunnel by Julie Lee

Title: In the Tunnel
Author: Julie Lee
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Holiday House
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Trapped in an enemy tunnel, a young refugee experiences the Korean War firsthand in this searing story of survival, loss, and hope, a companion to the Freeman Award-winning novel Brother’s Keeper.

Myung-gi knows war is coming: War between North and South Korea. Life in communist North Korea has become more and more unbearable—there is no freedom of speech, movement, association, or thought—and his parents have been carefully planning the family’s escape.

But when his father is abducted by the secret police, all those plans fall apart. How can Myung-gi leave North Korea without his dad? Especially when he believes that the abduction was his fault?

Set during a cataclysmic war which shaped the world we know today, this is the story of one boy’s coming-of-age during a time when inhumanity, lawlessness, and terror reigned supreme. With only each other, Myung-gi, his mother, and his twelve-year-old sister Yoomee do everything they can to protect one another. But gentle, quiet, bookish Myung-gi has plans to find his father at any cost—even if it means joining the army and being sent to the front lines, where his deepest fears await him.” (Goodreads)

This was another good historical fiction book by this author. I am glad I got the chance to read it.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Myung-gi and it does have a dual timeline. It follows Myung-gi from the time before he joins the war to him having to enlist at the age of 16. It’s really sad to read about since he was such a young character and having to go through harrowing events for his family to survive. He had a lot of strength and did a lot to even find his father. I wouldn’t be able to do the things he did.

This author always does a great job of getting the reader emotionally invested in the story. You get invested in the characters lives even if they are around for a short time. The dual timeline does a great job of showing the past and present and how it has effected Myung-gi.

Overall, this was another solid read from this author. I’d recommend it if you like historical fiction.


Book Review | The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

Title: The Silent Stars Go By
Author: Sally Nicholls
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Romance
Publication Date: November 5th, 2020
Publisher: Walker Books US
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A beautiful, bittersweet WWI romance lights up an English village at Christmas with harrowing secrets, love lost and found, and the breathtaking power of forgiveness.

Vivid and achingly real, Sally Nicholls’s latest historical romance explores the fallout from an unexpected pregnancy during the First World War. It’s Christmastime, 1919. Three years before, seventeen-year-old Margot Allan, a respectable vicar’s daughter, fell passionately in love. But she lost her fiancé, Harry, to the Great War. In turn, she gained a desperate secret, one with the power to ruin her life and her family’s reputation, a secret she guards at all costs. Now Margot’s family is gathering at the vicarage for the first time since the War ended. And Harry, it turns out, isn’t dead. He’s alive and well, and looking for answers. Can their love survive the truth? Based on the author’s family history, this evocative and stirring exploration of the human and emotional side of war is young-adult historical fiction at its finest, written with the immediacy and understanding of the complexities of the human heart that are the hallmark of the author’s work.” (Goodreads)

This was a book I have had on my tbr for awhile. I had it on my wishlist from library and luckily it was in and I had needed a new audiobook.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Margot Allan. An unexpected pregnancy changes her life and through the book she deals with each situation that arises from it. It also gives a small perspective as to what it would have been like to deal with an unexpected pregnancy in the early 1900’s.

Margot was a very likeable character. She has inner thoughts on the situation and what happened in the past to get her to where she is now. She is very strong for dealing with it all, especially when her parents haven’t always been kind. It felt like it was something they held over her head and even one of her siblings would as well. I felt bad for her. They also wanted to see her life go a certain way when she had other plans. She wasn’t able to make her own decisions but still tries to anyways.

The father of the child was one character I would have liked to slap, haha. It felt like he was more concerned about his life changing than what it had meant for her and still meant. He felt very selfish at that moment.

It is a very short audiobook and even though that is the case, I didn’t feel like I missed anything or that the plot should have been longer. There was also a nice little epilogue that wrapped it up well and gave us a vague but hopeful ending to Margot’s story.

Overall, this was a good audiobook and I enjoyed listening to it.

Book Review | The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

Title: The Davenports
Author: Krystal Marquis
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Romance
Publication Date: January 31st, 2023
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for a complimentary arc to review! All opinions are my own.

“The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.

There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.

Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.” (Goodreads)

I’m so glad I was able to get a copy from BookishFirst because this was a good YA Regency novel!

The book is told from multiple point-of-views and they come from Olivia, Helen, Amy-Rose, and Ruby. They are all connected in some way and their stories overlap quite a bit but they also have their own plotlines as well.

Helen was my favorite out of the four. She had hobbies that weren’t right for her to have and I’ve felt that way before. She also didn’t care what others thought of her and basically danced to the beat of her own drum. Olivia learned a lot from her when it came to that. Her love interest was a surprise and his intentions were even more surprising as his secrets are revealed. I do hope that she gets a happy ending though.

Olivia was very much the child who did what they were told until she meets someone who changes her perception of the world. I liked that she was open to learning and it’s definitely something that everyone should strive to be like. She didn’t let danger dictate her path, or her parents.

Amy-Rose has had a hard life due to her background and also her position in society. I really felt for her situation, especially when it came to her love interest. She struggles a lot with identity and society only makes it harder for her. I will say that she is very persistent!

Ruby is a friend of Olivia and has been around the Davenport family since they were all children. Her family’s status is changing slowly and its partly due to her father’s campaign for Mayor. She doesn’t really have anyone to talk to about it until she meets a certain fellow and he changes her idea of love and duty.

I did like one more, but honestly they were all great characters and I liked their stories for different reasons. The other characters were also good, but some didn’t have as much page time and I hope we will see more of them in the sequel.

This book is definitely more romance than informative on the issues that are talked about. I don’t think it was bad though as the issues did spark my interest and I have done my own google searches because of it. There is still room for there to be more talk though and I am looking forward to it.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read!

Arc Review: The Red Palace by June Hur

Title: The Red Palace
Author: June Hur
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: January 25th, 2022
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the author and publisher for an earc to review! All opinions are my own.

To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood…

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.” (Goodreads)

**The quote may change before publication date**

I was so excited when I got the email from the author saying I had early access to this title! I have read her two previous books and they are so intriguing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, she makes historical fiction a thrilling adventure and I love that she tries to incorporate actual historical events with more information about the specific event at the end of the book. Plus, this was my favorite by far! Her writing gets better and better with each book.

The book is told through one point-of-view: Hyeon. It all begins when her and her friend, Jieun, are handpicked to become nurses in the Red Palace. The name for the palace is quite accurate and this quote is quite fitting for the book:

Uneasiness settled into my bones, and the warnings I’d been given echoed through my mind.
To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood, our medical teachers had whispered. There will be bloodshed. I only hope it will not be yours.

It definitely doesn’t seem like a welcoming place or even one I would want to work at, ha. But, due to Hyeon’s own background, being a vulgar commoner and bastard, Hyeon very much wants to make a name for herself and not be seen by her class or as an illegitimate child. She has put in a lot of hours of studying to be a good nurse. I can respect that! I also respect her willingness to help secretly with the solving of the crime even when it puts her in danger. She has guts!

Like with any book there are characters that I liked less and that award would go to her father and the commander of the police bureau. They were just big dillweeds and I couldn’t stand them. I will say that her father became less of a pain by the end but still not enough to make me feel sorry for him though.

There was one character that did surprise me the most and that was Hyeon’s mother. There is a lot between them as mother and daughter and it puts a strain on their relationship. Hyeon does go through a lot of growth when it comes to this relationship and I loved seeing her realize that the way she perceived her mother wasn’t entirely the truth.

This book is quite intense when it comes to the plot and I do think it is her most gruesome book that the author has written. It does talk about murder and goes into detail has to how they died. Some books can be too much when it comes to things like this but I think the author did it well and it wasn’t over the top. A lot of the characters have secrets so the plot also keeps you intrigued as everything starts to unravel.

Many of the plot twists were surprising and I didn’t even guess who the killer could be! After it was all explained it made so much sense. I do like how the killer was painted it led to some thinking on my part as to the why’s and reasoning behind committing such heinous acts.

Even though this book can be heavy with the topics about murder, there is a slight romance between Hyeon and another character. I did like the moments they shared together as it gave the reader some hope.

The book also wraps up nicely and gives us a taste as to what happened to a lot of the characters that were present throughout the book.

Overall, this was a fantastic read! As always, this author writes historical fiction well and even though it’s not my favorite genre I will literally read all of her books, haha. If you haven’t tried any of her books yet, I’d recommend you at least try one!

Book Review: The Corpse Queen by Heather Herrman

Title: The Corpse Queen
Author: Heather Herrman
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Thriller
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her “aunt.” With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance.” (Goodreads)

This book has been on my radar for awhile now. I kept pushing it off because I was afraid of the lower ratings and didn’t want to be disappointed since I had high hopes for it. I’m glad that my fears were for nothing because this was a very enjoyable book! It wasn’t my usual read as it was very dark, gruesome at times, and there was one scene that I just couldn’t read but, it was well worth it to read the rest.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Molly Green. Her life has been anything but grand as she has lived in an orphanage doing labor for them and getting nothing out of it besides disciplined. She has made one great friend from there, Kitty, but everything changes once Kitty comes up dead. From that point on, Molly Green will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her friend.

Molly is a very likeable character. She is smart, ambitious, and cares for those around her. Her compassion is what made her standout the most because when dealing with corpses she at least did it all with a care for who they were even if she hadn’t known them. All of the other characters only had curiosity on their mind.

Besides Molly, I also liked Ginny and Tom. They help Molly along the way and she even helps them in some way as well. There is a hint of a budding romance between Tom and Molly but it never comes to anything more than friends as they each have dreams they want to accomplish outside of a relationship. I’m actually glad there wasn’t any big romance. I felt like it would have taken away from the overall theme and topics found in the plot.

The ending wasn’t anything I had expected and sometimes I wonder if it all makes sense. Parts of it were a bit rushed but because I liked everything else I overlooked it. I mean, anything is possible! I did like that there was an epilogue to give us a bit more as to what happened to the characters after the big reveal.

Now, if you do not like gruesome details then this book may not be for you. I did at times wonder what I got myself into, haha. On the other hand, it was hard to stop reading as well. The book does deal with a lot of dead bodies and the prospect of murder. It also has morbid jokes but also talks about how we should care for those that have died with the same care as though who are still living. My one big Content Warning would be that there is a scene that involves a dog which I skipped over. Other than that, there wasn’t anything I didn’t read.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

Arc Review: Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Title: Small Favors
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Magical Realism
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.” (Goodreads)

This was a very interesting book! The blurb gives a few subtle hints as to what lurks in the pages but honestly, there were many surprises and it was darker than I had ever expected.

Ellerie Downing lives in a smaller town named Amity Falls. Visitors are few and far between. There are founding families and three make up the council for this town while also holding votes for certain circumstances. All of this makes for an interesting dynamic when it came to the setting and plot.

When a supply run caravan never comes back besides a horse with enormous gashes, things take a dark turn that left me with many questions, speculations, and being afraid to sleep at night, haha.

If it wasn’t for being tired and not wanting stay up past 11pm, I would have finished this in one sitting. Although it was a bit of a slow start and has parts that make it a tad bit slower, once it ramps up it really ramps up! The pacing does even out the farther you get into the book as it is split into seasons to help the readers understand the circumstances and give a bit of a backstory before crazier events take place.

There is a lot I can say about Ellerie. She is loyal to her family and wants what is best for her sisters. She has a twin brother who is debatable at times and her opinions of him do change over time. I do think even though he makes questionable choices, she wants to see him thrive. I also like that she manages bees with her father and enjoyed the moments we read about them. I honestly wasn’t sure how the bees would play into the overall theme of the story but it does make sense by the end.

My one complaint about Ellerie would be how trusting she is of newcomers. I understand the pull to them as you don’t get many visitors but trust should not be freely given. This one issue did make for the romance to be very instant and that wasn’t for me. I did like the love interests character and they do have fun banter but it just wasn’t believable enough for me.

When it comes to the plot, I can’t say too much because it’s better to go in not knowing much about it. It can be quite dark at times but I did like the use of human nature and the things we hide deep in our hearts. It shows that the world can be a cruel place. There is also magical realism tied into it and it added that extra spice!

The ending was the only other issue I had with the book. It is quite open-ended and I am left with questions that have no answers. These types of endings are hard for me to like because I just want everything to feel complete by the end.

Overall, this was a book I really enjoyed and lived up to my expectations from this author. As always, her writing is incredible and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

Book Review: The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Title: The Forest of Stolen Girls
Author: June Hur
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page.

1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.

Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol—Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.” (Goodreads)

After enjoying this author’s debut last year I knew I needed to read this one. I love that she writes about historical events that aren’t talked about often or well known. It teaches me new things especially because she adds notes at the end to give us more information about the topic she included.

Although there is a couple mysteries to be solved, this book is also about the sibling relationship between Hwani and Maewol. They have lived apart for quite a few years and have taken on different roles and of course, have different personalities. I liked how through it all they still managed to cling to one another. Sibling relationships are just the best and I love to read about them.

As for the mysteries, both of them blended together nicely to form one big mystery. I liked learning about each character and trying to figure out why the girls went missing and who would do it. They also had to try and figure out what happened to their father as well. It got pretty intense at times and I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. Not every character is who they seem to be!

Overall, this was another enjoyable book from this author. I am looking forward to the next book which already had a title and a cover. It looks amazing!

Arc Review: Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1) by Claire M. Andrews

Title: Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1)
Author: Claire M. Andrews
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mythology
Publication Date: June 8th, 2021
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review.

Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.” (Goodreads)

I was looking forward to this one as I am always intrigued by mythology. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed in it for a couple of reasons and it just made the whole journey less enjoyable for me.

Daphne is a girl who tries to show her strength to those that think less of her because she wasn’t born a Spartan but has lived among them since her mother died. Strong female characters can be a hit or miss for me depending on a lot of things. I didn’t entirely dislike Daphne and thought she had good qualities about her but the development for her, as well as the other characters, just wasn’t there for me.

Most readers would know and understand who the gods and goddesses are that are mentioned in this book and I’m assuming that is why there is little development for them. It doesn’t make sense as to why it happened to the main character. This caused disconnect for me from the story. This disconnect could also stem from the fact that is more plot-driven and the pacing moves quickly leaving little room for the development that I needed.

Another issue I had was the romance. It was a big miss and I just don’t feel the spark between them as it moved right on into insta-love.

As for the mythology/retelling aspect, I think that it had it’s moments and I liked that the author mentioned in her acknowledgment that she wanted to give a voice to the women that never got it. I can appreciate it.

Overall, it was good during certain parts but ultimately not a book for me and I won’t be continuing on with the series. I do think that other readers will enjoy this one much more than me, especially if you are one who likes plot-driven books.

Arc Review: Luck of the Titanic by Stacy Lee

Title: Luck of the Titanic
Author: Stacy Lee
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Retelling
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3 stars

Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for a finished copy of the book to read and review!

“Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.

Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.” (Goodreads)

There are a lot of good things about this book and one those being the historical aspect of it. I love when an author takes a historical event and adds onto it with their own style while also giving us information that we may not have known about. The author also added a note to give us a bit more information while also telling us where she got the idea from for the book. I actually didn’t know about the Chinese Exclusion Act or that the Chinese passengers who survived were vilified and called cowards for surviving that night. It is interesting to see what is left out of history or even movies that are based on historical events.

The book is told with one point-of-view and that comes from Valora Luck. She is definitely a girl with many hats as she portrays herself as different people on the boat, all for different reasons! Because of that, it showed the issues when it came to the class system and racism. It was hard for me to fully connect with her but I understood her passion for wanting her brother to be with her. Even if her family didn’t always care as much as she did, she still held on and embraced them, flaws and all. I also liked that she cared about those she hardly knew too. It really showed off her kindness.

At times the book did slow in areas and then it picked up towards the end. Some added twists felt unnecessary like the really minor romance for Valora. I sometimes feel like romance is added for the sake of the genre when it comes to YA. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending either. It is definitely heartbreaking though.

Overall, this was a good book. This was my first book by this author and she definitely writes historical fiction well as it’s not one of my favorite genres but I did like it for this one.

Arc Review: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance #3) by Joanna Hathaway

Title: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance #3)
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you so much to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired Southern Sun, Northern Star

Reeling from the tragedy that beset her family, Princess Aurelia has joined the resistance in Havenspur, spying on the Northern leaders who were once her allies and determined to stop her uncle’s machinations for war. Meanwhile, her beloved pilot Athan leads his squadron into battle as the Safire wage a losing war abroad and combat growing unrest back home.

When Athan is sent on leave to Havenspur following the death of a comrade, the pair reunite and rekindle their romance until Aurelia uncovers one of Athan’s secrets, a secret that could save countless lives. But exposing it to the right people will cost her Athan’s trust, and this time, their shared memories of love might not be enough to stop the fateful path of destruction that threatens all they’ve fought to defend.

As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace.

The breathtaking finale to a legendary series. Part war drama, part romance, Southern Sun, Northern Star is the epic conclusion to the Glass Alliance series.” (Goodreads)

I am not even sure where to start with this review. I have many thoughts and I went through a whirlwind of feelings but I will do my best to type it out and hopefully it makes sense.

In the beginning, there is a prologue and I wasn’t sure how it fit into it all but it does show us the tragedy of war and that is quite fitting for this entire book.

As with the other books, there are two point-of-views: Athan and Aurelia. There is also a surprise one (besides the prologue) that is found much later in the book. I enjoyed being back in Athan’s and Aurelia’s mind. This time it was much different as war has really changed them both, especially Aurelia.

Aurelia aka Ali has seen and been through a lot through the course of the books. I have felt for her so many times but it was hard at times to like her in this one. She did a lot of things that didn’t fit who she was but it also made sense as war changes everyone. She had good intentions, but sometimes good intentions lead to bad results.

Athan is the same old pilot we know and love. He is out there doing his job and I loved reading about the plane fight scenes even if they were brutal at times. Thinking about it now, I would say that he has grown and in a good way. As with Aurelia, he wanted what was best for his people. He did have good intentions as well and again, some led to bad results. It’s easy to see the similarities between them, but at the same time he knew where his loyalty was. I couldn’t always say the same for Aurelia.

The romance between them wasn’t as big as the other two books but it worked well for the plot as it focuses more on their jobs and being away from each other. Aurelia doesn’t always make it easy on Athan to love her but he still sticks by her no matter what. I will say that he is very dedicated because I definitely wouldn’t have been so understanding in a few of the situations. I still can’t deny their love though. It’s one of my favorites.

With war comes violence and tragic losses. I’m trying not to cry just writing this out, ha. I was worried who would head to the grave and I definitely felt the losses. I cried for one and it wasn’t even for the one I was most upset about! This is a very brutal book and it will tug at your heartstrings.

When it came to the pacing, there was a few slow moments but it wasn’t hard to continue on because I needed to know what would happen next.

The ending was not what I expected and had me in tears. Don’t worry it was for a good reason!

Overall, I loved this book! It’s hard to put into words what I feel for it. As the finale for a trilogy, it’s hard to say goodbye to the characters and the journey they have taken to get here. I have loved each book dearly. I know these books will remain on my shelf for many, many years and I also know I will revisit them one day down the road.