Review + Cover Reveal: The Crown’s Dog (Golden Guard #1) by Elise Kova

Guess what? Dragon Darth Elise Kova is coming up with not only one, but TWO new series! Every new novel she publishes in a single series comes out around every three months, which is an incredible fact on its own, but to think she will actually have two series coming out at the same time with this pacing is purely jaw-dropping.

Today I will talk about one of them, because I was lucky enough to be able to read it in advance. Furthermore, today is cover reveal day for this novel, so make sure to keep scrolling down! Let’s give a few info first (I enjoy creating suspense):

Title: The Crown’s Dog (Golden Guard, #1)

Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Author: Elise Kova

Genre(s): Young Adult, High Fantasy

Summary:

A coastal summer is turned upside down by a violent murder, and a quest for lost pirate treasure turns into a hunt for the killer.

Jax Wendyll is the crown’s dog. As punishment for the unspeakable crimes that tourment him to this day, his life has been conscripted to the Empire Solaris. However, in an Empire afflicted by peace, his duties are relegated to unquestioningly aiding the antics of the youngest prince, Baldair.

Erion Le’Dan, a nobleman’s son, expects a quiet summer visit to the Imperial Palace, his only agenda to visit with his unlikely friends. But Jax’s discovery the legendary pirate Adela Lagmir’s old workroom inspires a hunt for her long lost treasure.

The pursuit of Adela’s truth takes the three men to the Imperial summer manor, built along the old pirate mainstays. When Adela’s trident is branded into a murdered servant, Prince Baldair’s summer amusement of treasure-hunting becomes a hunt to find the killer. But, as mysteries compound, the ghosts of Jax’s past may not be the only things haunting them.


If you’re familiar with the Air Awakens series, you might have realized by now that this new series is a prequel to it. And I’m sure if you’ve read Air Awakens you  must be squealing in excitement right now, because Jax, Baldair and Erion are some of the fans’ favorites (and believe me, there are many in Air Awakens), and what can be more exciting than a prequel seeing them as the main characters? Well, maybe having them as real-life BFFs, but I guess the technology for that hasn’t been invented. YET. *rethinks life goals and career path*

So, ahem. Anyway. Are you ready for the cover? *drum rolls*

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Ta-daaa!

Isn’t it beautiful?! 💖 Isn’t HE beautiful? Look at that half man-bun.  Of course, the guy on the cover is Jax, “the Crown’s Dog”. I was so excited tonight when I got to see this cover. I was very curious to see if the art was going to match that of the main series, and I was not disappointed. Merilliza is such an amazing artist, and captured Jax perfectly in my opinion.


As I mentioned, I was sent this book in advance for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

★★★★

First of all, you have to know I adored Air Awakens. I was not a reviewer yet at the time I read it, but I find myself thinking back to it and all of the amazing things that happened in those five books. Anyway, one of the many great things about it were the characters, and little did it matter if they were main or secondary ones. Among the side characters, Jax and Baldair were two of my favorites, and I’m glad to say The Crown’s Dog was very satisfying in terms of fangirl love.
It is told in third-person point of view perspective, with the PoVs being Jax’s and Erion’s.
Erion is an Air Awakens character I’ve always been intrigued about, but I felt like we didn’t get to know him fully in the main series. I really enjoyed his perspective here, and it was interesting to see how his cultural and familial background were always present in his mind, in the way he interacted with Baldair and Aldrik (eep! Yes, we get a little scene with Aldrik!) and the way he viewed magic.
Jax was my favorite side character in Air Awakens (together with my cutie pie Fritz). We didn’t get to hear his full backstory until the last book in the series, and that story is mentioned and it is a big part of what goes on in this novel. Some of the events that happen here bring back his memories and we get a glimpse of his…I don’t know if I’m allowed to say almost madness, but that’s what I always thought about him. Some secrets can really mess with one’s brain, and seeing things from his perspective was illuminating and brought me further understanding of his character. We also see him struggling with the South’s prejudices about magic -which he possesses in form of fire- and one of the things I found very interesting was seeing how his Firebearer’s magic felt physically, since in Air Awakens we mostly saw magic through a Windwalker’s perspective.
While we didn’t get Baldair’s PoV, he was a constant presence in his story, and we did see some of his, ahem, antics, that eventually (as we know from Air Awakens) got him the title of Heartbreaker Prince.
The plot involved a pirate queen’s curse (I love pirate plotlines!) and a murder in the coastal town of Oparium that our team of three decides to solve. It was very fast-paced, but it allowed many moments of introspection, to better get to know our characters. Although the three have been friends for some time already at the time this novel takes place, this new adventure really sets the foundation for the Golden Guard (thus the series name). I found the relationship between these three characters was very well written, and I liked how they all came to it from different backstories and roles. Their friendship is genuine and knowing how it evolves (if you’ve read the main series) makes it even more interesting to read about in this prequel.

I really can’t wait for more people to read this and Air Awakens. If you haven’t yet, pick both up!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

square headshot 1Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

Follow Elise:

Preorder On:

AMAZON | KOBO | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOOGLE PLAY |

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This or That Book Tag

Thank you

I want to thank icebreaker694 so much for tagging me! I’m really new to blogging so it was the first tag I received and it made me happy 💗

Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks)
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to.
  • Tag (10) other people to do this tag to spread the love!

Reading on the couch or on the bed?

Couch all the way!

Male main character or female main character?

This is hard. I think overall I read/have read more books with female main characters, but some of my all-time-favorite books actually see a majority (if not all) of male main characters (I’m thinking Captive Prince, Raven Boys, Six of Crows…). I really can’t decide on this one!

Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Mmh, I typically don’t snack while I read, but if I have to choose, I’d probably say sweet snacks.

Trilogies or quartets?

I’ll go with trilogies simply because I have only read one quartet (The Raven Cycle). In general I think it doesn’t matter how many books a series has, as long as it makes sense for the story and making it a quartet or a five-books series is not just a way to spill more money out of readers.

First person point of view or third person point of view?

I’ve enjoyed many books in first person, but I definitely prefer a third person point of view.

Reading at night or in the morning?

Night night night. I’m a night owl and I can focus better after 11pm, and I find there’s an almost magical atmosphere when I read something that keeps me up after everyone else has gone to bed.

Libraries or bookstores?

Bookstores. I typically don’t go to libraries because we already have so many books in my house and at my grandparents’ house, and if I want to read some classics I can generally find them there. If I want to read YA I’m pretty sure I won’t find much of it in the libraries we have here.

Books that make you laugh or make you cry?

I haven’t read any books whose only purpose is making me laugh. I’ll have to say books that make me cry and laugh are my favorite.

Black book covers or white book covers?

These questions need to stop messing with my brain. I just can’t choose! If I absolutely have to, I’ll say black covers.

Character driven or plot driven stories?

Well, finally! This is an easy one for me: character driven 5ever. If I love the characters, I don’t even care if the plot is somewhat lacking (I’m looking at you, Raven Cycle).

I tag:

Sarah @theyabooktraveler
erubooksandrecs
Emma @cornreviewsbooks
Sarah @ampersandprincess
Raneem @arayofbooks
Sabrina @unicornsreadtoo
Chelsea @romweasley
Emma @adreamerslibrary
Megan @bookslayerreads
Jordan @herpaperadventure

Review: The Fairy’s Assistant by Sasha L. Miller

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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This story is a gay-friendly Cinderella retelling seen from the point of view of Hayden, assistant to Lily, a fairy that helps other people in need. That’s everything that fairies do in this fictional world: they appear to be sensing other people’s needs and desires and they help them achieve them, but they can’t really work alone. They need to be bound to a human to have the energy to do their magic, and after some time they bind themselves to someone else. Fairy-magic is not the same as mage-magic, but all magic is outlawed in this kingdom. For this reason, Hayden needs to keep Lily hidden, especially since a knight named Sidney has already tried to catch him a few times in different towns where he’s helped people through fairy magic.
Hayden begins to work for a family where the person Lily has chosen to help also works. Her name is Renee and she’s our Cinderella: stepdaughter to the lady of the house, but only a servant now that her father has died.
The story sees Hayden as he helps Lily prepare the magic necessary to bring Renee to the masked ball, and the way his relationship with Sidney develops.

I think the premise to this book is great. I generally don’t care for the original fairy tales, but I do love their retellings, especially when they’re done in a gay-friendly way. So I was really expecting to like it, and while I did like a couple of things, I didn’t really enjoy my reading experience overall.

The characters were really flat in my opinion. I guess stereotypical characters fit in a fairy tale world, in a way, but I like my retellings to have some more grey-area people in them. The protagonist felt like a teenager, and only around half of the book is it mentioned that he’s actually twenty-seven. Mh. Okay.
The world building was very simple, but I found it fit well in the story, and we were given all the information we really needed. I especially liked the take on fairies and magic: Lily wasn’t described to be an all-powerful being, she has her limits and needs to be bound to someone to be able to do her thing, and even then, the things she can create out of thin air are very few, and she usually needs some base to work from. Overall, the world building was the part of this book that I enjoyed the most.
The plot was very lacking, and I find it more so the more I think about it. It was really simple and it did nothing to create an atmosphere or a deeper understanding of the characters. At one point, Hayden tells Renee he will tell her about the people he’s already helped with Lily in other towns, and I was hoping he would actually do that before the end of the book, but nope. That didn’t happen, and I wonder why the author would even include this dialogue if she didn’t intend to build on it. That’s just one example, but I could mention the way the bad guy gets dealt with (you’re left thinking Really? That’s it?) and the pacing of the story that seems to be really off.
Even with all these problems, I was at the very least expecting to enjoy the romance. I’m sad to say that didn’t happen. It made me feel nothing, and I don’t like feeling nothing when I should be smiling from ear to ear.
But let’s get to the worst thing about this book: the writing. I was so annoyed and disappointed with it. First of all, the use of the personal pronouns. Or should I say lack thereof? Really, in every page there were at least two or three sentences where a certain name was repeated over and over where it could have easily been written as him/her or himself/herself. Then, there was a lot of tell instead of show. And the internal monologue of Hayden was either a constant repetition of itself or an endless list of things that could go wrong/suppositions/things that did nothing to improve my curiosity about what was going to happen next.

With all of that said, I give this book 2/5 stars instead of 1 (you can check out my rating system if you want) because I think that there are some people that might enjoy this book, specifically occasional/inexperienced readers that are looking for something light. I wouldn’t otherwise recommend it to other types of readers.

★★✩✩✩

My rating system

Since I’m going to start reviewing books on my blog too, I thought it’d be helpful to copy-paste (sorry but I’m lazy) my rating system from my goodreads page. I know we all have our personal opinion of what a 2-stars or 3-stars book means, so for the sake of not repeating myself over and over in future reviews, I’m just leaving this here. Just note that a book starts being “bad” for me from 2,5 -3 stars down.

★★★★ 5 stars: I absolutely adored this book and I think everyone should read it. This kind of rating often stems from a purely subjective/emotional reason. The book might have flaws but I didn’t care enough about them and they didn’t impact my reading experience.
★★★★✩ 4 stars: I really enjoyed this book! I found some minor flaws that at times made my reading experience slightly annoying, but overall I had an awesome time reading this!
OR: The book was objectively perfect and it had all the elements to be enjoyable but I didn’t feel that spark, that little added something that makes it a 5 stars book for me.
★★★✩ 3 stars: There definitely were flaws that I wasn’t able to overlook. I still enjoyed most of my reading experience but I wished some things were different. OR: I finished this book even though I realized objectively it has no major flaws but it just wasn’t a book for me.
★★✩✩ 2 stars: I didn’t enjoy this book for a number of reason: it was too similar to other books without adding anything to the genre, the characters weren’t well developed and/or weren’t coherent to themselves, there was no character development and/or world building, and so on. I didn’t give it 1 star because I think there might be someone out there (for example an inexperienced reader) who might be able to enjoy it.
★✩✩✩ 1 star: That’s a no-no. I didn’t like it at all, the whole book was a major flop, I wanted to carve my eyeballs out, and I likely couldn’t bring myself to finishing it (DNF). I wouldn’t recommend anyone to read this.