Friday, April 14, 2017

#BlogTour: #CageofDarkness by @AuthorJennifer with excerpt and #giveaway #ya #yafantasy #BookReview @GCReading

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Book two in the REIGN OF SECRETS series
Release: April 4, 2017

While traveling to Fren, Allyssa and Odar and hijacked by a ruthless assassin who divulges a stunning secret that changes everything.

Trying to come to terms with this newfound revelation, Allyssa is taken to Russek and delivered into the hands of a malicious and twisted royal family. She finds herself an unwilling pawn in a risky political game that will either end with her death or the annihilation of her beloved kingdom. Unsure of where the lies end and the truth begins, she must survive the brutal family and escape the fortified castle, all the while coming to grips with her feelings for Odar.

In a kingdom filled with darkness, Allyssa enters a game where one wrong move means death, secrets hide around each corner, and it will take every ounce of cunning she has to survive.


About Book One:

Sixteen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their kingdom and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

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“Why do you care?” she countered, taking a step back and putting more space between them. He wanted something from her—and she had an inkling it had nothing to do with the upcoming war. “What use am I to you?” Whatever game he played or line he toed, she had a sick feeling it was far more deadly than being locked in the dungeon. She needed to tread with caution.
“What use is the heir to the Emperion throne?” He tilted his head to the side, his eyes dissecting every inch of her face. She refused to flinch or show fear before this man, although he made her cower inside.
He lowered his voice to a whisper. “I think you should be asking yourself this—what can the heir of the Russek throne do for you?”
A chill slid over her skin. They were on dangerous grounds. Staring into his eyes, she didn’t see a cruel soldier standing before her, but a man hinting at an alliance if she was brave enough, strong enough, and cunning enough to forge it. However, she had to proceed with the utmost caution. For all she knew, Kerdan could be as cruel as Soma. “I am suddenly lightheaded from all the activity.” She wanted an opportunity to think without him watching her every move. “I’d like to rest.”

He leaned down close to her ear. “You play your part exceedingly well. You are just what I need.” He stepped away from her, and his face shifted, becoming stern. “Allow me to escort you back to my room,” he said, his voice loud, clear. He scooped up her tunic and boots and exited the tower, leaving a very stunned Allyssa there with her thoughts in a jumble. Apparently, he also played his part exceedingly well.

I read Cage of Deceit two years ago for a blog tour and was excited to see the second title in the series available for a new tour. Jumping on the opportunity, I realized I needed to read book one again and I'm glad I did. Reading both books back to back really enriched my reading experience by keeping the story continuous. The only problem now is I desperately want to get my hands on book three!

In Cage of Deceit, the author creates a rich fantasy world with Emperion and its outer lying kingdoms. When the threat of war is born, main character Princess Alyssa is forced to utilize her education and combat training, while she's also made to grow up faster than others her age. Being born into a royal family has its own set of rules and expectations which Alyssa accepts quite convincingly. The sixteen year old princess understands her role in everything that unfurls, displaying wit and grace. Her occasional outbursts are understandable (especially when dealing with her father and Jarvik), making her a sympathetic young woman. She is also pretty tough and can take care of herself.

While I couldn't fully accept Alyssa being able to get out of the castle for years, since the kingdom lived in peace during that time enabled me to believe it. That's the cool thing about fantasy. Readers can suspend their beliefs grounded in realism in order to fully accept someone else's world and rules. Alyssa's friendship with a commoner boy, Garvik, was touching and their nightly runs to capture rule breakers showcased her fighting skills. When Prince Odar arrives--another prospective husband--Alyssa notices his good looks, but she wants more from someone she'll call 'husband.' What she gets is someone almost as stubborn and outspoken as she is in Jarvik, the prince's squire. Their discussions turn into disagreements and one thing becomes apparent: these two have an intense chemistry. I enjoyed their scenes together. Watching them fall in love was a special treat we don't always get to see in some YA books in this age of instant love and gratification.

Cage of Deceit is a highly enjoyable fantasy featuring an intelligent princess who accepts her role and responsibilities with dignity and aways with a touch of spunk. Davis keeps the action flowing, the growing attachment interesting, and the conflicts intriguing. Cage of Darkness is a totally different story and I mean this in a GOOD way. I read it in one evening with only two short breaks. It's soo good. And I can say the author doesn't hold back. 

What do I mean? Things drastically change for Alyssa after that cliffhanger ending of book one, and readers are privy to everything. Every thing. Just as Alyssa was taught, one in a position of power has to withstand the hardships along with the good. The princess reminds herself of her father's teachings as a way to endure what she is forced to undergo as a captive in Russek. At times hard to read, the author had me in her corner from the beginning. What happens to Emperion's next in line is gritty and it helps shape her to become the woman she does in these pages.

I won't reveal anything else except to say I loved Cage of Darkness. Taut and exciting, the story contains some welcome surprises along with a new cast of characters (many to hate). This second book continues Alyssa's journey in many unexpected ways. Our princess always rises to each and every one. From her dealings with Odar, the introduction of a new, unexpected friendship with a supposed enemy (who is quite formidable), to a heartbreaking climax and another cliffhanger ending (Ms. Davis don't do this to us unless book three is releasing soon!), the second book in this engaging YA series truly delivers. I was once a member of Odar's fan club, and now I'm conflicted, wondering about my new allegiance to a certain Russek prince. Hmm, I will patiently wait to find out in book three. 

Rating: Cage of Deceit: 3.5  |  Cage of Darkness: 4.5
Cover comment: I love the NEW covers! They reflect the book contents a lot better.
Book source: I received promotional copies to read for a blog tour.

Jennifer Anne Davis is the award-winning author of the bestselling TRUE REIGN series. After graduating from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential, she married her high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three highly energetic children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review, excerpt and post today. I'm excited to read these books back to back!