Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen — ARC Review

gilded serpent book cover for 4.5 star book reviewSummary:

From bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen comes a thrilling new novel in the Dark Shores world, a series that Sarah J. Maas called “everything I look for in a fantasy novel.”

THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY

Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.

His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.

BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.

Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.

Review: 4.5 Stars

I can’t believe it took me so long to finally pick this book up. At first I delayed reading it because it had been a while since I read the previous two books, but I shouldn’t have let that stop me because I was quickly reminded where the previous book had left off. It did take me about five chapters to fully sink into this book, but once I did I found I could hardly set it down. Gilded Serpent reminded me why I loved the first two books so much because this truly was an addictive read.

It was so great to have all the characters I love finally together in one book. Since this series is a bit unconventional, the first book follows Terianna and Marcus and the second occurs at the same time, but follows Lydia and KIllian. In this book you get all four points of view and follow the two plot lines. The plot lines don’t converge in this book, but it’s pretty clear that they will in the next. It was really interesting getting to see the characters side by side, because I thought that Lydia was my favorite, but in this book I wound up favoring Terianna. Terianna is more bold and brave and Lydia is more sweet and bookish. I am able to relate to Lydia’s bookish personality and love her pure heart, but it was Terianna’s bold moves and bravery that really had me captivated in this installment.

While this series is really action packed, it’s the characters that take this series up another level. Their motives and conflicting interests really make for some interesting relationship dynamics. Marcus and Terianna’s enemies to lovers relationship was my favorite. In the beginning of the book they couldn’t trust one another, but they wound up on a perilous journey where they grew closer and their relationship really grew. Killian and Lydia have some big relationship issues in this book, partially because of Killian’s honorable nature. At times it felt like everything was pushing them apart when I just wanted them to be together. Both relationships have some really amazing moments along with some that are heartbreaking. I felt like the characters all grew a lot during their journeys in this book and I was incredibly invested in this emotional roller-coaster ride.

As I mentioned before this book is action packed and filled with some really great plot twists. I loved how every moment felt important and that even moments of levity foreshadowed twists in the plot. The two plot lines are both really great, but I enjoyed Marcus and Terianna’s plot line more because it was more adventurous where Lydia and Killian’s was more political. There were so many scenes that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could and others that had me screaming in frustration. I tore through this book pretty fast despite having lots of other things to do because I just kept sneaking in reading time whenever I could.

I also have to mention that I really love that Danielle Jensen expands upon the world building in each installment. In the first book we dove into the world and learned about the Six and the Marked, and in the second we got to see the horrors of the blight and learn about the Corrupted. While these things were still a large part of this story we also got to see mimics, wolves and more of the world. Every part of this story played out vividly in my head because Danielle Jensen did a fantastic job balancing world building and storytelling. There are no tedious info dumps and the reader is never overwhelmed with unnecessary descriptions.

I’m pretty mad at myself for waiting so long to read this book. I would recommend this series to fans of action packed fantasy, complex character dynamics and enemies to lovers romances. I could gush about this book for ages, but just trust me and go pick up this series.

Check out my review of book one Dark Shores and my review of book 2 Dark Skies!

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