*I received a free finished copy of this book from the publisher. These are my personal, honest opinions. Thank you.*
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publisher/Imprint: Clarion Books
Edition: Hardcover, 324 Pages
Publication Date: November 09, 2021
A Spine that Shines? Quite Well!
The past never forgets…
Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.
Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer… one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.
They knew what hunted them. A threat that could neither be seen nor heard nor felt, until one turned around and there it was.
-Makiia Lucier, Year of the Reaper
Hello, bookworms! How is your holiday season going? Are you reading anything good? I finished reading Year of the Reaper earlier this month, and I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would! I’m excited to share my thoughts with you here today.
Here are some of my initial thoughts:
- If you are looking for a standalone fantasy, I recommend this one! It has a dash of romance, mystery, and wonderful characters!
- This book deals with a big plague outbreak and its aftermath in a kingdom healing from war. I found it interesting that the author actually started writing the book before COVID entered the U.S. The plague in this book was modeled after the Black Plague from medieval times, but I think it still hits close to home for some.
- The characters in this story are what really brought it to life! I loved the characters. Each had their own distinct personality. Even in parts where the plot drags slightly, the characters were interesting enough to pull me through.
- The world-building was pretty good too, and I could definitely feel the political tension between Brisa and Oliveras.
- It takes a little while for the mystery to really get going, but once it did, I didn’t want to put the book down!
- I also loved the humor sprinkled throughout this story! There were definitely a few laugh-out-loud moments. Even though this book gets dark at some moments, there is a bit of humor and hope to balance it out.
Characters & Romance
Here is a brief overview of some of the characters and the romance:
- Lord Cas is returning home to Oliveras after being in a Brisan war prison for 3 years and essentially suffers from PTSD. I loved his character. There were moments when my heart both broke and rejoiced for him. Cas also has an interesting ability that allows him to see some ghosts! I would’ve liked a little bit more information about this ability. Still, it was quite cool!
- Lena is one of the king’s historians – and also much more. (I don’t want to spoil anything.) I really enjoyed reading about Lena and Cas’s first surprise encounter, and I really admired Lena’s intelligence and loyalty. Together, they must figure out who is going after those closest to the Queen.
- Lord Ventillas is Cas’s protective older brother. I really admired his devotion to his brother and all that he tries to do to take care of Cas. He is also very loyal to the Queen.
- Queen Jehan married King Rayan to end the war between their kingdoms. Even though some of the Oliveran populace still disliked her, I admired her compassion and kindness. She is even willing to give a gentle bath to a dirty, lonely young girl.
- Regarding the romance, I really liked the romantic pairing of Cas and Lena. The romance isn’t the focus of the story but it is there. I wish there could’ve been a few more romantic scenes added, but that is just my personal preference.
I was glad that the big twist actually turned out to be more surprising and not as predictable as I first thought it was going to be. The ending is wrapped up pretty well, although I did wish the final showdown had been a little longer. It seemed a little shorter than I was expecting, but I did enjoy the fast pace in the final portion of the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed Year of the Reaper and will definitely plan to check out this author’s books in the future! I recommend this book if you’re looking for a character driven standalone fantasy. I liked it so much I even purchased a copy of the UK edition for myself! Happy reading 🙂
*Content Warnings: Action violence; dismemberment of a hand; flashbacks of imprisonment; discussion of wounds/scars; discussion of human experimentation; death by fire.*
Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)
A Note on Storiarts Literary Products
I purchased the tea towel in my photo above from Storiarts. In case you didn’t know, I’m currently a rep for Storiarts. They make beautiful classic literary products such as scarves, gloves, tote bags, bookmarks, tea towels, and more! If you’re interested, you can receive a 10% discount on most of their items by shopping through my affiliate link. (I also earn a small commission if you shop through my link.)
Up Next on My TBR: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves (ARC) + Gilded