Sunday, May 21, 2023

Fall of Ruin and Wrath by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Long ago, the world was destroyed by gods. Only nine cities were spared. Separated by vast wilderness teeming with monsters and unimaginable dangers, each city is now ruled by a guardian―royalty who feed on mortal pleasure.

Born with an intuition that never fails, Calista knows her talents are of great value to the power-hungry of the world, so she lives hidden as a courtesan of the Baron of Archwood. In exchange for his protection, she grants him information.

When her intuition leads her to save a traveling prince in dire trouble, the voice inside her blazes with warning―and promise. Today he’ll bring her joy. One day he'll be her doom.

When the Baron takes an interest in the traveling prince and the prince takes an interest in Calista, she becomes the prince’s temporary companion. But the city simmers with rebellion, and with knights and monsters at her city gates and a hungry prince in her bed, intuition may not be enough to keep her safe.

Calista must follow her intuition to safety or follow her heart to her downfall.

I finished Fall of Ruin and Wrath in less than twenty-four hours, and I'm still thinking about it a week later. Talk about a book hangover! I just wish there had been more worldbuilding and that it hadn't ended on a massive cliffhanger. I'm going to have to wait an eternity to find out what happens next. 

I think I liked this one so much because of the similarities to ACOTAR, but they weren't overly obvious. There are mental shields, a very big stay-with-the-High-Lord vibe, and some questionable word choices. This book has Starborn, which is similar to SJM's Crescent City series. The elite class is also known as Hyhborn (very cold and unfeeling, ancient and powerful), while ACOTAR has Hybern. These are easily overlooked, but I can see where it would be problematic to some, especially as more details and descriptions are revealed. 

Calista is the main character, but I really wish we'd seen more of Grady and Naomi. I think there's a lot of potential for secondary character growth that we just didn't see in this one. Additionally, Thorne has his own cabal of friends (also similar to Cas and Az from ACOTAR) that I wish we'd seen more of. I think the book was too focused on Calista and we miss out on seeing so much more of the world JLA has created. 

I also wasn't fond of some of the language used. It was a direct contrast to the world and time period depicted. Everything felt fantastical, but the modern day language and expressions were distracting. It would take me out of the moment, which is never ideal. The book also has no business being this large. The spacing and the size of the font were a bit excessive - a lot of wasted space per page. If condensed to reflect what a normal book looks like, it would probably be a quarter of the size. 

However, despite the issues I found with Fall of Ruin and Wrath (a title I'm still not sure accurately reflects the book), I really enjoyed it. It's been a while since I devoured a book so quickly. I wanted to know about Thorne and his background. I wanted to see more of the world JLA created. Unfortunately, we don't really get a lot of information and explanations. A lot is alluded to, but I have a feeling it's being saved for book two. All of the questions formed during this book... hardly any are answered. 

I do think this one needs some more fine-tuning before it's published (spelling, grammar, inconsistencies out the wazoo), but the book as a whole is a gem. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next book addresses a lot of the issues in this one. Also, it would be nice if things felt a little less rushed... the pacing was weird in certain parts. 

The one FF scene was short-lived and too subtle. I would have enjoyed some flashbacks of certain people engaging in activities together. The dinner table scene was unbelievably hot (more of that please and thank you). The slow build and tension were there, although I think maybe seeing things from Thorne's perspective would have helped. It doesn't have to necessarily be duel POV, but maybe a chapter here or there that helped us see inside of his head. (★★★⋆☆)

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes used in this review are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.