Book Review: The Stone Knife – Anna Stephens

Book Review: The Stone Knife – Anna Stephens


Series:
The Songs of the Drowned #1
Release Date: November 26th 2020
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 608
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.

As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.

Review

The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens is one of my all time favourite series, so I was incredibly intrigued to pick up the first in a new duology from the author. Set in the land of Ixachipan, this multi-perspective tale tells the story of people from two very different nations – those from the Empire of Songs and those of the free tribes, determined to resist the rule of the empire. Every other tribe has fallen to the Empire of Songs and the magical music that weaves through everything and everyone. The Empire will stop at nothing to make the Tokob and Yalotlan fall in line, but will they be able to resist where everyone else has failed?

This is such a compelling story and one I could not get enough of. Despite being over 600 pages, I raced through this book and Stephens does a magnificent job of weaving the plot together. The story is well paced, giving the reader a chance to get to know this fascinating world that’s full of compelling characters. One of the things I loved most about Godblind was the level of worldbuilding and The Stone Knife is just as well developed. I loved learning about the magic in this world, about the song that envelopes everything and the magic of the tribes. The drowned were also completely fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more in book two.

The story has plenty of action scenes and there are more than a few dark and gruesome moments that fans of Godblind have no doubt come to expect. Stephens does a brilliant job of writing battle scenes that leap off the page, each one creating a tense atmosphere that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat. Where the story shines most is the captivating characters – there are a number of POV characters who are on opposing sides and seeing these characters and their beliefs clash made for some very compelling reading. All the POV characters felt incredibly well developed, each with their own motivations. Generally, I find when I read a big epic fantasy story like this there are particular characters that I am most interested in, but with The Stone Knife I felt invested in all of them and I cannot wait to see where the story takes them. I absolutely loved Xessa and Tayan and while she’s a bit terrifying, I was completely fascinated by Enet.

The Stone Knife is a brilliant, unputdownable epic fantasy story. It was an immediate five star read and I cannot wait to read more from Anna Stephens in the future.

Book Review: Godkiller – Hannah Kaner

Book Review: Godkiller – Hannah Kaner


Release Date:
January 19th 2023
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Kissen kills gods for a living, and she enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skediceth, god of white lies, who is connected to a little noble girl on the run.

Elogast fought in the god war, and helped purge the city of a thousand shrines before laying down his sword. A mysterious request from the King sends him racing back to the city he destroyed.

On the way he meets a godkiller, a little girl and a littler god, who cannot find out about his quest.

Review

Godkiller is a compelling and hard to put down fantasy tale that follows the Godkiller Kissen as she stumbles upon a young girl who has become connected to the god of white lies. Kissen cannot kill the god without harming the girl and so embark on a quest to help separate the two. On the journey, they meet Elo, a baker on a quest of his own. Will the three survive the quest long enough to find the answers they seek?

I loved every second of this book! It features a really fascinating world with intricate world building. I really enjoyed learning about the gods and magic in this story and was so impressed with the amount of detail and history. The world was so intriguing and I can’t wait to see where Kaner takes things in book two. The story is well-paced, there’s plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat but also plenty of time to get to know the characters and the magic. Godkiller felt like such a unique take on the fantasy tale and I definitely found myself hungry for more. Godkiller is a book that’s hard to look away from and I ended up reading the last hundred pages in a single sitting as I just had to know how it was all going to end.

Godkiller has a fantastic cast of characters and I grew quite attached to all of them. They are well crafted, each dealing with their own secrets and determined to do what’s right. Kissen is such a badass protagonist and she was probably my favourite, but I loved Elo, Ina and Skedi too. The relationship between Ina and Skedi is a really fascinating aspect of the tale, they’re bonded together and desperate to find out about their pasts, but as the story progresses their relationship begins to change and it was so compelling to read about. Godkiller is my first five star read of 2023 and it is one impressive debut. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy adventure that you won’t want to look away from, Godkiller is definitely a must read!

Book Review: The Stolen Heir – Holly Black

Book Review: The Stolen Heir – Holly Black


Series:
Elfhame #4
Release Date: January 3rd 2023
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I ordered a copy of this from Book Depository
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

A runaway queen. A reluctant prince. And a quest that may destroy them both.

Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.

Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, and the one person with power over her mother, fled to the human world. There, she lives feral in the woods. Lonely, and still haunted by the merciless torments she endured in the Court of Teeth, she bides her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets. Suren is saved by none other than Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame, to whom she was once promised in marriage and who she has resented for years.

Now seventeen, Oak is charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He’s on a mission that will lead him into the north, and he wants Suren’s help. But if she agrees, it will mean guarding her heart against the boy she once knew and a prince she cannot trust, as well as confronting all the horrors she thought she left behind.

Review

The Stolen Heir was one of my most anticipated releases for 2023. The Cruel Prince trilogy is one of my favourite YA series of all time and I was really excited to return to the world of Elfhame. The story is full of magic and adventure, but for me, I didn’t fall in love with it quite as much as I did The Cruel Prince.

The Stolen Heir tells the story of Suren, once the child queen of the Court of Teeth, she has been exiled to the human realm. She spends her time foraging in the woods, releasing mortals from their bargains with the fae and longing to return to the human family she once lived with. When Suren runs into Bogdana from the Court of Teeth, she is saved by Prince Oak, heir to the throne of Elfhame. Oak requires Suren’s help in a dangerous quest to rescue his father, but doing so will take her back to the Court of Teeth and the life she left behind. Will she survive returning to that deadly place and can Prince Oak really be trusted?

There was lots about The Stolen Heir that I really enjoyed. Holly Black really is the queen of faerie and I love her writing style and the way she brings this world to life. While the story did feel a little slow in some parts, overall it was engaging and compelling enough that I ended up reading half the book in one sitting. There is a reveal that happens at the end of the story that I guessed pretty early on, but I am nonetheless very intrigued to see where the story will go in book two.

Suren is probably what made this book for me. She’s a really interesting and complex character, dealing with a harrowing childhood and just trying to find her place in the world. I liked seeing her relationships develop with the other characters in the story and I can’t wait to see where the story is going to take her. Overall this a fun, entertaining read, full of Black’s trademark writing. If you’ve read The Cruel Prince series and are intrigued by this one I would definitely say it’s worth picking up.

Blog Tour: The Witches of Vardø – Anya Bergman

Blog Tour: The Witches of Vardø – Anya Bergman


Release Date:
January 5th 2023
Publisher: Manilla Press
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. When Zigri, desperate and grieving after the loss of her husband and son, embarks on an affair with the local merchant, it’s not long before she is sent to the fortress at Vardø, to be tried and condemned as a witch.

Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch ­- whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.

Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent to Vardø in disgrace. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?

These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King of Denmark. In an age weighted against them they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.

Review

Set in Norway in 1662, The Witches of Vardø is a beautifully told historical fiction tale about a group of women accused of witchcraft. When Zigri starts an affair with the merchant’s son, she is denounced as a witch and taken to the island of Vardø to await trial. Her daughter Ingeborg is determined to rescue her from a terrible fate, so joins forces with Maren, the daughter of the infamous witch Liren Sand. Will the two girls be able to save Zigri and the other women accused of witchcraft? Those in the witches hole are not the only women captive on the island. Noblewoman Anna Rhodius has been sent to Vardø in disgrace. She has lost everything, but what will she do to regain the King’s favour and return to her previous life of privilege?

The Witches of Vardø is a harrowing tale, one full of cruelty and brutality. The story is well paced, giving the reader the chance to get to know Ingeborg and her family before the paranoia and accusations begin. I really enjoyed Bergman’s writing style and I found myself reading big sections of the book in one sitting. The story has a really captivating setting and the remote, snowy Norwegian landscape really comes to life in Bergman’s writing. Bergman also does a great job of increasing the tension as the story progresses and I was completely glued to the book for the last hundred pages to find out how it was going to end.

The characters in this story are certainly compelling and you really feel for the horrendous way they are treated. Both points of view characters are really interesting, they’re both such different people but are ultimately trying to get back what they’ve lost. I did prefer Ingeborg’s POV to Anna’s, however, both were really engaged and concluded in a way I didn’t expect. I also thought Maren was a fascinating character, she was fearless and determined to stand against those in power. Bergman does a fantastic job showcasing the relationships and loyalty between the female characters in this story, particularly as they are tested in the most horrible ways imaginable. Based on true events from history, this is a thought-provoking and beautifully told story, one that historical fiction fans won’t be able to put down.

Book Review: The Guilty Couple – C. L. Taylor

Book Review: The Guilty Couple – C. L. Taylor


Release Date:
June 23rd 2022
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from my local supermarket
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was wrongfully convicted of plotting to murder her husband.

Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals: repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, clear her name, and bring down her husband – the man who framed her.

Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her? Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…

Review

As a reader I’m not someone who reads crime thrillers very often, however C. L. Taylor is without a doubt one of my auto-buy authors. Her latest release follows Olivia Sutherland who was convicted of plotting to murder her husband. Olivia swears she is innocent and now she has finally been released from prison, she’s determined to do everything she can to fix her relationship with her daughter and clear her name. But will she be able to uncover the truth about her husband in time and how far will he go to protect his secrets?

When it comes to C. L. Taylor I have pretty much given up attempting to guess the plot twists. This book was razor sharp, fast paced, and had lots of surprising moments. How Taylor manages to continually come up with endings you won’t see coming I’ll never know, but once again I was left guessing right until the very end. Taylor’s writing style is very accessible and it’s so easy to get completely caught up in her clever stories. The Guilty Couple is no exception and I was absolutely hooked on seeing whether Olivia would be successful in clearing her name.

The story is told from both Olivia’s and her husband Dominic’s perspectives and I enjoyed seeing things from both points of view as the tension continued to build. Taylor has a knack for crafting these really believable characters and it was particularly apparent as we see Olivia attempt to rebuild her life and her relationship with Grace. Olivia is a really compelling protagonist but my favourite character had to be Smithy who stole the show just a little bit.

The Guilty Couple is an addictive and compelling tale, one that thriller fans will find difficult to put down. If you’re a fan of C. L. Taylor or you’re looking for something that will have you turning pages long into the night, this one is not to be missed.

Book Review: House of Hunger – Alexis Henderson

Book Review: House of Hunger – Alexis Henderson


Release Date:
September 27th 2022
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 292
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was gifted a copy of this book for Christmas
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a strange advertisement in the newspaper, seeking a ‘bloodmaid’.

Though she knows little about the far north – where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service – Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery – and there, at the centre of it all is her.

Her name is Countess Lisavet. Loved and feared in equal measure, she presides over this hedonistic court. And she takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, charismatic, seductive – and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home – and fast – or its halls will soon become her grave.

Review

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson was one of my favourite reads of 2021 so I was incredibly excited for her newest release, House of Hunger. This dark horror story follows a young woman named Marion, who lives in the slums of Prane. She hates her job as a maid and struggles to make ends meet with her sick brother living at home. When she happens upon an advert for a bloodmaid she decides to apply for the position – a life of luxury in exchange for the noble lords of the north drinking her blood. Marion finds herself indentured to Lisavet, the Countess of the House of Hunger. Lisavet is quickly taken with Marion, and Marion finds herself quickly falling for her new mistress. As Marion attempts to find her way in this new elite world, she soon discovers that the secrets of the house of hunger might be even more disturbing than she could possibly have imagined.

I must admit that prior to picking up House of Hunger I was in a bit of a reading slump and struggling to find something that would keep my attention, but this book hooked me in almost instantly. I really enjoyed Henderson’s writing style, it was full of vivid descriptions and there was so much atmosphere. The story is pretty quick paced and that had me turning pages quicker and quicker because I was so captivated I just had to know what was coming next. The chapters in the book were often quite short so I found myself saying ‘oh just one more’ and ended up reading for much longer than expected.

The story is a dark one, with a few twists I didn’t see coming. The characters in the story are particularly intriguing and I really liked our main protagonist Marion. It was fascinating to see her adapt to this new world of opulence and luxury as well as watching the relationship unfold between her and Lisavet. The one thing I wish was that the story was a little longer – I would have liked to see the friendships between Marion and the other bloodmaids explored a bit more, especially towards the second half of the book as tensions begin to arise.

House of Hunger is my first read of 2023 and it was the absolutely perfect book to kick off the year. It’s gothic, dark, and utterly unforgettable. If you’re looking for a tense, claustrophobic horror to keep you captivated, look no further than House of Hunger.

Blog Tour: The Witch and the Tsar – Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

Blog Tour: The Witch and the Tsar – Olesya Salnikova Gilmore


Release Date:
December 8th 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

In this stunning debut novel, the maligned and immortal witch of legend known as Baba Yaga will risk all to save her country and her people from Tsar Ivan the Terrible—and the dangerous gods who seek to drive the twisted hearts of men.

As a half-goddess possessing magic, Yaga is used to living on her own, her prior entanglements with mortals having led to heartbreak. She mostly keeps to her hut in the woods, where those in need of healing seek her out, even as they spread rumors about her supposed cruelty and wicked spells. But when her old friend Anastasia—now the wife of the tsar, and suffering from a mysterious illness—arrives in her forest desperate for her protection, Yaga realizes the fate of all of Russia is tied to Anastasia’s. Yaga must step out of the shadows to protect the land she loves.

As she travels to Moscow, Yaga witnesses a sixteenth century Russia on the brink of chaos. Tsar Ivan—soon to become Ivan the Terrible—grows more volatile and tyrannical by the day, and Yaga believes the tsaritsa is being poisoned by an unknown enemy. But what Yaga cannot know is that Ivan is being manipulated by powers far older and more fearsome than anyone can imagine.

Olesya Salnikova Gilmore weaves a rich tapestry of mythology and Russian history, reclaiming and reinventing the infamous Baba Yaga, and bringing to life a vibrant and tumultuous Russia, where old gods and new tyrants vie for power. This fierce and compelling novel draws from the timeless lore to create a heroine for the modern day, fighting to save her country and those she loves from oppression while also finding her true purpose as a goddess, a witch, and a woman.

Review

This absolutely stunning book captured my attention right from the very beginning. I was completely hooked and did not want to put it down. The story follows half-goddess Baba Yaga, who mostly keeps to herself in the woods, helping those who seek her out. When her old friend Anastasia comes seeking her desperate for help, she knows she cannot hide in the shadows anymore but must embark on an epic adventure to protect Russia from Tsar Ivan the Terrible.

The Witch and the Tsar is the perfect read for a dark winter night. Full of gorgeous writing, this is the kind of book that when you put it down you are just itching to pick it back up again. Full of folklore and magic, The Witch and the Tsar is a very impressive debut novel. The story is well paced and the vivid descriptions of the wintry landscape really came to life in Gilmore’s writing. The story is full of political intrigue as Russia is on the brink of chaos. I loved the way the author mixed folklore and Russian history to create such a rich story. The story felt incredibly detailed and well researched and fans of Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy are sure to fall in love with this one.

The characters in the story are well crafted, and Yaga makes for a fascinating protagonist. Having lived a long time she has seen and learned much and she was such an interesting character to read about. I loved the relationship she had with her three companions and I was absolutely rooting for her right till the end. The Witch and the Tsar is a beautiful, well plotted historical fantasy retelling that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. If you’re looking for something that will keep you reading long into the night, this one should definitely be on your wishlist.

Blog Tour: The Stars Undying – Emery Robin

Blog Tour: The Stars Undying – Emery Robin


Series:
Empire Without End #1
Release Date: November 8th 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A spectacular space opera debut perfect for readers of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, inspired by the lives and loves of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

Princess Altagracia has lost everything. After a bloody civil war, her twin sister has claimed not just the crown of their planet Szayet but the Pearl of its prophecy, a computer that contains the immortal soul of Szayet’s god. Stripped of her birthright, Gracia flees the planet—just as Matheus Ceirran, Commander of the interstellar Empire of Ceiao, arrives in deadly pursuit with his volatile lieutenant, Anita. When Gracia and Ceirran’s paths collide, Gracia sees an opportunity to win back her planet, her god, and her throne…if she can win the Commander and his right-hand officer over first.

But talking her way into Ceirran’s good graces, and his bed, is only the beginning. Dealing with the most powerful man in the galaxy is almost as dangerous as war, and Gracia is quickly torn between an alliance that fast becomes more than political and the wishes of the god—or machine—that whispers in her ear. For Szayet’s sake, and her own, Gracia will need to become more than a princess with a silver tongue. She will have to become a queen as history has never seen before—even if it breaks an empire.

Review

The Stars Undying is an epic space opera debut that follows Altagracia, a young princess that lost everything when her twin sister claimed the crown.  With no choice but to go on the run, Gracia soon runs into Matheus Ceirran, the deadly Commander of the Empire of Ceiao. Gracia knows Ceirran could be her ticket to reclaiming her birthright, but only if she can win him over first.

I must admit that two of the main things that drew me to this book was the absolutely stunning cover and the tag line that the story is inspired by the lives of Julius Ceasar and Cleopatra. It has been a while since I’ve read a science fiction book that completely captivated me, but that’s exactly what The Stars Undying did. The story is quite quick paced, with really beautiful writing. It’s the sort of book that you think about even when you aren’t reading it and I often found I was itching to get home at the end of the day to find out what would happen next.

The world building is incredibly detailed and it did take me a little while to get to grips with the different worlds and their beliefs. While I know bits and pieces about Ceasar and Cleopatra, I don’t know loads about their history. I noticed some parallels but I think even if you knew nothing about the historical figures, you would be completely gripped by this story. The story is told in alternating points of view and I was fascinated by both Gracia and Ceirran. Both characters felt so well crafted and developed – it was so intriguing to watch their relationship progress as they’re such determined and power hungry characters.

The Stars Undying is a richly told, unforgettable space opera that I could not put down. If you’re looking for a science fiction retelling that will have you on the edge of your seat, look no further. This is an incredibly impressive debut and without a doubt my favourite science fiction book of 2022. I cannot wait to see what happens in book two.

Blog Tour: Widdershins Series – Helen Steadman

Blog Tour: Widdershins Series – Helen Steadman

Book One – Widdershins


Release Date:
July 1st 2017
Publisher: Impress Books
Pages: 250
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

‘Did all women have something of the witch about them?’
Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world.

From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft.

Inspired by true events, Widdershins tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.

Review

Widdershins is a beautiful, thought-provoking tale inspired by true events. The story follows two main characters – Jane Chandler who is learning how to be a healer, using herbs and lore to cure the sick. Meanwhile, John Sharpe has endured a hard childhood – his mother died during his birth and his father blames him for this. After enduring vicious beatings from his father he is sent to stay with his Uncle, a pastor. He finds purpose in becoming a witch-finder and rooting out all trace of witchcraft.

This story fascinated me right from the very beginning. The story is well paced and full to the brim with atmosphere. I really enjoyed Steadman’s writing style and was captivated by these two vastly different characters and how their stories would converge. I was really intrigued by the fact the story was based on true events and this made parts of the story all the more heartbreaking. I felt the characters were well developed. I ended up reading the book mostly in one sitting because I just had to know where the story was going to go next. If you’re looking for a compelling historical fiction tale will keep you turning pages long into the night, this series should definitely be on your wishlist.

Book Two – Sunwise


Release Date:
April 1st 2019
Publisher: Impress Books
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe.

But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft.
Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

Review

Sunwise is the second installment in Helen Steadman’s Widdershins series, focusing on the witch trials in England and Scotland. Following on from the events in book one, the story follows Jane as her lover Tom returns to find her married to the worst person imaginable. She’s stuck in an impossible situation, still trying to cope with the loss of her mother at the hands of John Sharpe and find a way to protect her daughter. As Tom tries to find a way for them to be together, Jane knows the witchfinder is still out there and John will stop at nothing to rid the world of witches and their magic.

I ended up picking up Sunwise almost immediately after I finished Widdershins, partly because I was so keen to see where the story was going to go next and partly because that cover is just beautiful. I really enjoyed both installments in this series but I must admit that this second book was my favourite of the two. Having gotten to know the characters I was absolutely hooked and desperate to see where the story would take them. Both main characters are really well developed, Jane is trying to do her best to protect those around her and John has become this dark and despicable person. The atmosphere was even tenser in this story and I loved the way Steadman’s writing brought the sights and sounds of the 1600s to life.

This historical fiction series feels incredibly well researched. I loved all the details surrounding the herbs and rituals, It’s a compelling story, one that historical fiction fans will absolutely fall in love with. While this is my first time reading from Helen Steadman it will definitely not be the last and I cannot wait to read more from his author.

Blog Tour: The Last Girl to Die – Helen Fields

Blog Tour: The Last Girl to Die – Helen Fields


Release Date:
1st September 2022
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The island watched and wept…

In search of a new life, sixteen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.

Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.

The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?

Review

The Last Girl to Die is the latest gripping thriller from author Helen Fields. I read The Shadow Man by Helen Fields last year and completely devoured it so I was really intrigued to read more from the author. Set on the Isle of Mull, the story follows private investigator Sadie Levesque as she travels to the island in search of a missing girl. The police don’t seem to be doing much, believing she has run away and will turn up in a few days. When Sadie eventually finds Adriana’s body in a remote cave, with a seaweed crown on her head, she becomes entangled in a murder investigation. Determined to find out the truth of what happened, Sadie delves deeper into the island and its secrets, but will she be able to uncover what’s going on before it’s too late?

The Last Girl to Die is a rollercoaster ride of a book. I read it practically in one sitting, staying up late because I just had to know how it was going to end. Fields has plotted a really intricate and clever story – with so many surprises I just did not see coming. It’s a dark tense story and thriller fans definitely should not miss this one.

The Last Girl to Die has the perfect remote setting and having visited the Isle of Mull a couple of times I was so fascinated to see the familiar names and places come to life. I thought the setting really added to that tense, uneasy atmosphere that Fields created. A word of warning there are some pretty gruesome moments in this story, but don’t let that put you off, this is an addictive and thought-provoking story.

One of the things I particularly liked was our main protagonist Sadie. She’s determined to uncover the truth and not afraid to stand up to the police when they aren’t getting the job done. All the characters felt well crafted in the story and I was so gripped as the secrets of the island and its inhabitants were exposed. The Last Girl to Die is a compulsively readable thriller and if you’re looking for something to keep you hooked on a cold autumn night, this one should absolutely be your next read.