[As a side note before I post the books' information and reviews, I should mention that this blog tour is particularly special to me because Knight (one of my top favorite authors) is teaming up with Tricia Mingerink (one of my other top favorite authors) for a dual book release and blog tour. Knight's books, Bitter Winter and Lacy released yesterday, December 14th, and Mingerink's book, Decree, releases on the 18th. I'll review Decree here on the 20th.]
Without further ado, I present part one of the Knight and Mingerink—Ilyon and Acktar blog tour!
~ Bitter Winter ~
Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.
Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.
Available now on Amazon!
I had an eager-nervousness as I began reading Bitter Winter. Would it be as good as the previous books? Was it possible to love the characters any more than I already did? I soon learned the answers to my questions—yes and yes. Bitter Winter went far beyond my hopes for the book. It was a breathtaking read. I simply could not put it down! At times I was fighting tears nearly as much as the characters themselves. Other times my heart raced with the same adrenaline that urged the characters on. Still more times I hung on every word to find out the fate of the Resistance.
While Bitter Winter was a bit slower paced than the others in the series, that didn't lessen the intensity or sense of danger closing in on the characters. The plot remained gripping all the way through. Even though I enjoy the fast action of the previous books, I was appreciative of the break from the heaviness of the persecution the characters are facing. They still endured trials and tragedy, but I wasn't left feeling quite as heavy-hearted.
Concerning the setting, it remained detailed, realistic, and intriguing. As implied by the title, the setting took on a semi-major role in this novel, to the point of becoming one of two main villains. I thought it was excellently portrayed in this role.
Regarding the characters, Knight has always done a wonderful job of creating realistic subjects that are extremely relateable. They have depth and true personalities, complete with wonderful strengths and genuine weaknesses. I have only one minor complaint—I feel that there are too many characters starting relationships. Even though it may be realistic, considering all the characters have similar backgrounds of persecution for their faith and are dwelling in a small hideout together, it seems that in the first few books there was no or very little romance, while now half the characters have a significant other. Don't get me wrong—I adore sweet romances and wouldn't mind a few, but it does seem like there has been a huge increase in the number of characters in relationships all of a sudden.
All taken into account, I still grant Bitter Winter five stars. Though I felt some areas fell slightly short, others went far above and beyond my hopes so I believe it evens out. :) It kept me flipping pages and very connected with the characters. I'm already eager to reread it. :) Congratulations, Jaye, on another outstanding addition to the Ilyon Chronicles!
~ Lacy ~
The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.
When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.
An Ilyon Chronicles novella.
Available now on Amazon!
Lacy was a pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't been aware of its existence, and I'm normally not as much a fan of novellas as I am lengthy novels. However, Lacy swept me up and pulled me in. I was drawn toward the characters and their plight. The struggles they faced were not petty issues, but a topic that has always moved my own heart. Plot, setting, characters, themes, they were all beautiful in this story. Genuine and deep.
*I received free ebook copies of these books for the purposes of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.
~ About the Author ~
You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.
Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!
Be sure to enter the incredible giveaway they're having and visit a few of the other blogs on the tour!