Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West ARC Review

Realm Of Ruins by Hannah WestRealm Of Ruins by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #2)

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Pages: 464

Available Through The Book Depository: Realm Of Ruins

Summary: Valory’s power is different . . . it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. But can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos? 

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies—including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger—Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Readers are back in land of Nissera in Realm Of Ruins, the spin-off/companion to West’s 2016 debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!  Valory Braiosa is sent on a quest to not only clear her name, but take down a darkness that threatens to ruin her world! This YA Fantasy melds so much from action, magic, fairy tales, quests, dark powers, royalty, & so much more! If your also looking for wholly unique twists on the classic fairy tales, West’s books are the ones to check out!

*Before I get into my review–just want to say I’m so happy to be back posting on the blog! 😍💞✨📚🎉 Finals are coming up and that’s why this book took me a bit longer to finish than expected! But happy to be posting my first review (finally) in December!

Back in the early days of my blog, I fell in love with West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! So, of course I just had to get an ARC of it!

Realm Of Ruins takes place generations after KOAAB! To start, I loved that the story was plotted that way because throughout the novel we explore this idea of those who came before us, legacies, how history plays a role into our future, & so on!

Now the plot itself has a lot of different elements to it and weaves in a lot throughout this single book–so sorry if my review is all over the place!

Valory Braiosa, descendant of Bristal & Anthony from KOAAB is a royal, but not exactly an Elicromancer–unlike her other cousins and family members.

As a student of a magical academy, she’s joined by her best friend Knox, and cousins such as Melkior (who isn’t exactly nice to her) and Ander!

There’s a scene in which Val is in classes and we learn about the school, history and how its shaped the ways of magic in her time now and the way West makes it such a seamless, but integral part of the story was one of my favorite elements when it comes to the world building!

On a quick side-note, often times in YA fantasy books (when it comes to future books in series or spin-offs) there isn’t always much explanation or exploration from previous installments and how they really shape numerous aspects of a world from its politics, magic system, beliefs–and I felt West really made it clear how important that was to the world!

Especially reading about the academy in general, because in KOAAB Elicromancers are somewhat on their own and guide each other. But, seeing how the world has grown to meld elicromancy into the everyday and train new generations was so fascinating to read about!

But of all her family members, her cousin Ivria is practically her best friend and they are always honest with each other–or so, Valory thinks!

During Val’s birthday dinner, she finds Ivria having run off and head towards the Water through a magical portal.

The Water is what allows an Elicromancer to get their fully harness their abilities. It chooses them and with that, they get an Elicrin Stone which also symbolizes their power.

Ivria has the ability to sense danger and fears she will never fully grasp her powers. So, she heads to The Water alone to see for herself.

However, Ivria is set on getting to the Water & as Val jumps into save her, she realizes Ivria didn’t make it & the Water has disappeared!!

Now being seen as a murderer and forced to go to trial by the Conclave to the Realm Alliance. This requires a journey away from her kingdom and with those she though were on her side, now against her. Also, a neutralizer (by the name of Brandar) to keep her powers in check, doesn’t help either!

When Valory’s grandmother joins and mentions something about people in white cloaks & masks, they also learn of a mysterious (possibly looming threat) known as the Summoners!

As stops along the way allow Valory to visit her cousins (Gliselle, Perrenia, & Ambrosine) they convince her to talk to their brother Deovrian–there we learn of a mysterious tablet & how the Summoners may be involved?

When the tablet unleashes a dark force, Valory learns more about what the Water left behind (that now resides within her–some dark & dangerous power) and the journey she will have to undergo to clear her name.

I love how this story really takes on an anti-hero vibe through Val as we see the extent of her powers near the end!

Val goes through so much in this book where it looks like the world is stacked against her, but with her cousin Glisette, fellow princess friend Kadri, & mysterious Mercer who we learn time-traveled from generations in the past!

Now they team up to help Val on her journey to learn more about the mysterious force known as The Summoners which are spreading illness and death wherever they go!

We soon learn that Mercer may have the answers as he has the ability to see visions! This leads to even more being uncovered about the Summoners, Mercer’s past (like his brother Tilmorn) & how this all ties to a mysterious elicromancer known as the Moth King!

Similar to West’s debut, fairy tales are twisted in such unique ways that really bring even more magic to the world of Nissera! From The Little Mermaid (seen through Kadri’s boyfriend who’s a prince who loves sailing & becomes interested in finding a mermaid who saved him), even Beauty & Beast (when Devorian’s cost of unlocking the tablet turns him into a beast).

The fairy tales are uniquely woven, but also into the story and have such distinct details mentioned that really make them their own. For ex. there’s mention of Devorian keeping mirrors closed to not be in contact w/ his sisters, even a sea witch & mermaid who are reminiscent of The Little Mermaid)

The characters all have their own flaws and secrets that make them feel real and I love how their imperfections or fears really allowed me to see their growth by the end!

I love how this journey isn’t exactly linear! While it seems that way in the beginning, the way West plots her stories allows for the story to go in so many directions, yet all tie together as it progresses. From numerous royal families, fairy tale homages, dark magic, quests–West packs so much into this standalone tale!

Also what made the magic so interesting was seeing how Val, a person who wasn’t born with magic, inherits this magical ability from the Water which we learn has the power to destroy, but also create! The Water itself becomes a pretty major part in the magic system as the story progresses and I love how it was explored! This also allows for her to explore, throughout the book both before and after she touches the Water, the legacy her ancestors left behind and how she questions whether she’s even capable of such things that family members who came before her managed!

Also there was one particular thing that really surprised me and that just brought back all the memories from KOAAB! We meet a very interesting Elicromancer who has ties to Bristal and I loved how that story line tied into the major plot! The references and ties to West’s first book was just something I did not see coming in the way that it did-but I loved how it was explored!

Time-travel was explored so well in this novel and I loved how it tied into the main story.

The world itself is incredibly vast and you sense that through the journey Val takes and just the way West describes the little details of the kingdoms. However, there were a few moments where a lot of the locations did get a bit confusing & could have had differing explanations when it comes to their depth. But overall, you can tell West has built such a vast world!

Now on to some of things that did lower my rating! Personally, I found the pacing to be rather slow for me and it dragged quite a bit from the middle on-wards. There were also some plot points explored when some time passes & Val returns home, which I wish had a little more explanation (b/c while it does make sense with the story) I found for me personally it came a little out of nowhere and I was a little lost as to how all that happened in that amount of time!

There were also some side characters, one’s that take on a villain role & at times the villain himself, that I wish had some more development b/c they become so important later on–that I found there character at times just needed a little more!

Returning to the plot, as the story continues I loved how it becomes clear what the goal is (to destroy the Moth King), but the uncertainty as to if Val & her friends could do it, made it all the more interesting to figure out!

Another element which made this fantasy book so unique too, was how it concludes after the battle (which I won’t spoil). Just seeing how characters naturally go their separate ways and explaining all the work left to do after all that’s happened really left it on a note where your satisfied with the ending, but still know there’s much more to explore! ( Valory’s ending was really epic & kind of ambiguous, but I loved that).

Realm Of Ruins is a YA Fantasy that weaves in classic fairy tales, while also delivering a wholly unique story all its own! From journeys across magical lands, dark magic, royalty, & the importance of self and how you can shape your own destiny! West’s spin-off continues to build on her magical world of Nissera and leaves opportunity for future installments!

Book Bytes I #10

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

As a part of my 2018 Bookish Goals, I really want to continue w/ my blog features & Book Bytes is one that I sadly hadn’t kept up with in 2017!

Also with so much Young Adult book news recently, I thought it was the perfect time to bring back this feature!

I’ve also decided to update it from previous Book Bytes, by adding categories, other than just dates to have it more organized and make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d want to read about!

If there’s any YA Book news I may have missed, definitely let me know in the comments below!

Adaptation News

781.The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly Starring Cast Announced

Stephanie Oakes 2015 debut novel, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly was announced to have been picked up as a TV series adaptation for a 10-episode series w/ Facebook Watch.

Announced March 2 by Deadline: “Elena Kampouris (Before I Fall), Kevin Carroll (The Leftovers), Kiana Madeira (Dark Matter), and Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) are set as leads in Sacred Lies (working title)..”

2.Netflix picks up rights to There’s Someone Inside Your House

Announced March 15, Stranger Things Producer Shawn Levy, 21 Laps, and James Wan are teaming up to adapt Stephanie Perkins’s novel into a movie for Netflix.

No release date has been announced.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han3.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Movie Coming to Netflix in 2018

Variety announced that Netflix acquired the rights to Jenny Han’s To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before film.

Filming had occurred in 2017 and as of March 21, 2018 the film is set for a Summer 2018 release date!

However, there hasn’t been an official release date announced yet!

4.The Darkest Minds movie Stills + Trailer

As of March 26, EW released the first look of The Darkest Minds movie and also giving some background to the upcoming film.

The Darkest Minds film is set to be released August 3 of 2018 and as of March 28, the The Darkest Minds movie trailer was released which you can check out on the movies official twitter Here!

5.The Hazel Wood picked up by Colombia Pictures

On March 27, The Wrap announced Ashleigh Powell, who wrote the screenplay for Disney’s upcoming film: The Nutcracker And The Four Realms, has signed on to adapt Melissa Albert’s debut novel The Hazel Wood.

Also picked up by Colombia Pictures, no other news has been announced.

Book Deals

1.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Set to be released by Henry Holt pub. in 2019, The Kingdom is set in a fantasy theme park and follows “Ana, a human-android hybrid whose only purpose as a “Fantasist” is to make dreams come true, until she’s accused of murder.(announced March 13)

2. I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

Set to be released by Scholastic with June 2019 release date, I Wish You All The Best is “about a non-binary teen who is kicked out by their parents after coming out, but learns that sometimes from disaster one can build a happier new life. ” (announced March 28)

Cover + Title Reveals

1.Crown Of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi 

The sequel to Onyebuchi’s 2017 debut YA Fantasy novel, Beasts Made Of Night, had its cover revealed on PenguinTeen’s site March 2.

Crown Of Thunder is set to be released October 16, 2018!

2.Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram’s debut novel, Darius The Great Is Not Okay, had its cover reveal on PenguinTeen’s site, March 4.

The cover reveal also included an interview with the author and cover designer, Samira Iravani.

Darius The Great Is Not Okay is set to be released August 28, 2018!

3.The Wicked King by Holly Black

The sequel to Black’s The Cruel Prince, which is titled The Wicked King, had its cover revealed, which also included an excerpt, on EW on March 8.

The Wicked King is set to be released January 8, 2019!

4.Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Revealed on March 15, Sarah Beth Durst revealed the cover to her latest YA Fantasy, Fire And Heist, on her website!

According to her website this novel is a “contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.”

Fire And Heist is set to released December 4, 2018!

A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma5.A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

A Room Away From The Wolves Cover + Excerpt was revealed March 15 via Bustle!

“Along with her mother, Sabina escaped her abusive father as a child. But when her mother settles down with a man and his two daughters, it pulls on the seams of their precarious relationship. Ten years after their escape, Sabina is 17 and alone, after being kicked out of her stepfather’s house. In search of refuge, she heads to New York City and secures a room at Catherine House, an all-girls boarding house in Greenwich Village. But she quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right about the house… or anyone who lives there. But is there a sinister underbelly to Catherine House — or has Sabina been lying to everyone around her?”

A Room Away From The Wolves is set to be released September 4, 2018!

6.Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West

The companion to Hannah West’s  debut YA Fantasy, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars had its cover reveal (+ giveaway) on YABooksCentral!

Realm Of Ruins is set to be released October 2, 2018!

7.Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

On March 21, the cover to Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s YA Thriller, Last Girl Lied To had its cover reveal + excerpt on Paste Magazine!

Last Girl Lied To is set to be released April 16, 2019!

8.Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

On March 23, EW revealed the cover + excerpt to the sequel/finale to Julie C. Dao’s Rise Of The Empress Series.

Kingdom Of The Blazing Phoenix is set to be released October 23!

9. Warcross #2 by Marie Lu Title Reveal

On March 26, the title for the sequel/finale to Marie Lu’s Warcross duology was revealed through Penguin Teen’s twitter!

The finale to Warcross is titled:

Wildcard

Wildcard is set to be released September 18, 2018!

10. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera + Becky Albertalli

On March 28, EW revealed the cover + a Q&A w/ both Adam & Becky of how What If It’s Us came to be!

What If It’s Us is set to be released October 9, 2018!

Book Bytes 24hryabookblog BannerEver since I created Book Bytes, I’ve always used this feature image! But because I’ve gotten more used to newer sites for editing and creating banners since then, I don’t think I’ll be using this particular one anymore.

I feel not only will it help my blog because the newer banner will follow similar theme to my other ones, but I also feel that giving it an upgrade shows how much I’ve grown as a blogger!

Let me know your thoughts on the new image!~ 

And that’s the YA Book News for March! Lets discuss in the comments!!~😄✨📚

Thoughts on March’s YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚💻📰✨