July 7, 2023


Nicki Pau Preto.

In this book we meet Wren, a bonesmith and the daughter of House of Bone’s leader. Born out of wedlock after her father’s quick fling with a woman during the war, Wren has a hard time earning the respect she deserves from her family. Her only chance is to become a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior. But things get out of hand when Wren is sabotaged, causing her to fail the qualifying trial. Banished from her home, Wren is lost for hope. But when a prince from the House of Gold gets kidnapped, she sees her chance for redemption. Her quest to save the prince, however, turns out to reveal secrets that may change everything Wren has ever thought to know. 

This book was a nice surprise. I didn’t know much about it going in, but I found the reading experience enjoyable. 

It’s a fast paced and action-filled story with an interesting world that I loved getting immersed in. The plot keeps a steady pace forward, making it fun to keep reading. There were rarely any dull moments.  The characters are okay, a bit flat perhaps, sort of cardboard-cutout, standard YA characters. They were rather predictable, but I found the plot enjoyable enough that I didn’t really mind it. It’s meant to be an “enemies to lovers“ kind of situation, but I couldn’t really buy into the whole romance aspect of the book. There wasn’t enough “enemy” here and there was just a little banter and then love without tension. Wish that part would have been done a little better. 

The plot was good, but as with the characters, it was a little too predictable. Which is why this ends up being a four instead of five star review. I knew from the start where this would end up and what every twist presented would be. I still found the world interesting, and the concept of the Smiths and the magic was so fun to read about that I wanted more. 

The writing is easy and fast to get through, and there’s a lot of exposition and explanations that perhaps could have been cut or at least trimmed. It felt a little too obvious at times what would happen and certain things that was explained felt more like the author telling things to the reader than it being from the POV of Wren. Wren wouldn’t know or care about some of the things that was explained in detailed to the reader. 

I also struggled a little with the sudden inclusion of other character’s POV. There wasn’t a lot of them, but suddenly in the middle of the book we get a chapter from Leo, the Gold Prince. But there’s really nothing that tells the reader that this is his chapter at that point, which makes it hard to keep up. A bit farther in, there’s also some chapters from the other male companion, Julian, also without anything clarifying at the beginning that we’re swapping POV’s. In some instances when we swap back to Wren’s POV again, there’s inconsistencies in the POV and some “headhopping” within the paragraphs. Things like that annoy me a little more than they should perhaps, but still, they made me have to stop reading and go back to check whose POV I was actually reading. And I hate having to stop and re-read things since that breaks the flow and immersive feeling of being in this world with the characters.

But all in all, this was a good read, and a solid 4/5 stars. I can highly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy that’s on the darker side. 

Wrap Up


  • 8.5/10
  • 7.5/10
  • 8/10
  • 8/10
  • 8/10


  • Interesting world
  • Good plot
  • Great magic system


  • Too much exposition
  • Somewhat flat characters
  • Some confusion with POVs

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