Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald – ARC Review

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara FitzgeraldSummary:

A dark, queer YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.

Cunning and unapologetic, Emanuela Ragno is a socialite who plays by her own rules. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.

But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In her city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has obeyed this law for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.

When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Before everyone in Occhia dies of thirst, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the source of the watercrea’s power and save their people—no matter what it takes.

Review: 5 Stars

I have had this book on my radar for a long time now. When I first read the blurb I knew I wanted to read it, but I had no idea just how incredible this story would really be. Beyond the Ruby Veil is a very dark and fast paced read. I tore through this book in a day and was incredibly impressed with Mara Fitzgerald’s debut. I loved every minute of this twisted book.

Of course I didn’t turn myself over to the tower. My sickness couldn’t kill me. One little mark on my skin wasn’t going to kill me, either.

Nothing is going to kill me. I won’t let it.

The writing captivated me right away, The story is told in first person from Emanuela’s point of view and her voice brings this book to life. Emanuela was a morally dark character who was ruthless in pursuing whatever she wanted. She came off as a bit of a villain at times, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with her character regardless. Her best friend Ale is softer hearted and their friendship was one of my favorite parts of this novel, even the darker parts of it.

“… You’ll just use me and betray me, because you don’t care about doing good. All you care about is yourself.”

The plot took off really quickly and the pacing of the book made it hard to set down. If I didn’t have to work I would have finished this book in one sitting. It is not very often that a book grabs my attention so quickly and captivates me until the very end, but Beyond the Ruby Veil was just so riveting that I had a hard time doing anything other than reading. This is a dark book and many horrifying events were described vividly, so if you prefer your books light and fluffy, this book might not be for you.

“I have something I believe in, too,” I say. “I believe in myself. I believe that I can change things no one else has ever been able to change, and do things no one else has ever been able to do. I don’t care if people love me, or if they think what I do is good. But rest assured, they’re going to know I was here”

She draws back. She’s looking at me with revulsion.

“So all you care about is whether or not you come out on top,” she says.

I shrug. “It’s where I deserve to be.”

I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, but I was really impressed with it. I love dark books with gothic vibes, but I love dark characters even more. Beyond the Ruby Veil just had so many incredible aspects to it that it’s hard to put my love for this little book into words. The world built in the story was so original and fascinating, the characters were vivid and three dimensional, but it was the voice captured in the writing that really drew me into the story and kept me reading. If you enjoy morally grey or dark characters I would highly recommend you check out Beyond the Ruby Veil. This is not a story that I will forget anytime soon and I can not wait for the sequel to come out!

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