*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
This book… (No. This SERIES!!) left me a hollow shell. No surprise there.
I was an absolute mess before the book was even in my hands, now imagine when it was? (Non-stop ugly crying) As soon as every one of these books are in my hands, I drop everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that I’m doing in order to read it. My review queue list goes out the window where Elise is concerned. This series is my life and it keeps earning the number one spot in my heart over and over again.
Why, you ask?
Because it breaks me beyond repair but it also makes me cherish the rays of sunshine with a selfishness so intense, that I scare myself. Elise Kova’s characters are… the most phenomenal and complex ever, for lack of better words. They aren’t perfect but I love them with my entire being, as if they were.
This book is, hands down, the most devastating book out of the series. (So far) It takes place 2 months after the heart-breaking cliffhanger that was Earth’s End and we see a change in Vhalla that made me feel unbelievably proud. Her character development is one of my absolute favorites because it feels as genuine as they come. The hardships she has to go through in order to grow in this power-hungry world is terrifying. It makes the reader feel utterly helpless. You are rooting for her to succeed but sometimes, the world isn’t, which she pays for dearly.
I was crying from the very first page (no exaggeration there) and the tears didn’t stop. I actually wrote down, “Please stop, this hurts” on my notes. If that doesn’t tell you how much I hurt inside, I don’t know what will. Anyway, it was complete torture to get through this book. Not because it was awful… far from it. It was torture because things, irreparable things, were happening to my adored characters and I couldn’t close my eyes to them. I couldn’t reach in and fix everything. I also couldn’t be in denial because the situations were as clear as day and they ripped me apart at the seams. My wounds from previous books were torn apart again and made worse.
The plot line of this series is one of the most devastating I’ve ever read and the sadist in me loves Elise for it. It’s what makes a series as memorable as this one. This series keeps tearing pieces out of me and there’s no hope of ever getting them back. Writing this review is its own form of torture as well for making me relive all the emotions I went through in this book.
I absolutely loved how we got a closer look into the backgrounds of other beloved (and not-so-beloved) characters. There were some resurfacing wounds from book one and we got to see both of Vhalla’s worlds collide. Not only do we see a phenomenal character development in our amazing Vhalla, but we also see it in everybody else. I loved how Elise keeps us on our toes through it all. Just when you think you know who somebody really is, they remind you that you should never assume you’re right.
The pace was slower in this one but the world-building more than made up for it. We keep learning new things about this beautifully devastating world and I devoured each detail like it was the last.
This book was full of tragedy, betrayal, growth, heart-break, tenderness, and chaos. It was so intense that my heart was frantically beating out of my chest from cover to cover. I was put through the mother of wringers and my eyes hurt from crying excessively. I can feel the phantom pain with the release around the corner and it’s not fun.
A word of advice: Have tissues at the ready. I definitely needed them.
Also, I gave up on rating these books. All you need to know is that this series is worth at least a million times more than the measly 5 stars you see on here. Elise Kova is the queen of fantasy, in my opinion, and I will treasure the ground she walks on even after the end of time. I devour her words with the intensity and loyalty that no other author has sparked from me. (Sarah J. Maas is close)
I can honestly say that as much as these books have destroyed more and more in their own way, Crystal Crowned will add up all of those feelings and multiply them tenfold… I am unbelievably and utterly terrified to read the conclusion to this beautiful and epic series.. but I am ready.
More than 5 stars/5 stars!