BOOK REVIEWS: EVER THE HUNTED (CLASH OF KINGDOMS #1) and EVER THE BRAVE (CLASH OF KINGDOMS #2) BY ERIN SUMMERILL
For my second post of #Blogmas I bring to you my book reviews for the first two books in the Clash of Kingdoms series by Erin Summerill, the second of which released today! SO, a HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to Ever the Brave.
The covers of these books are BEAUTIFUL and have a holiday vibe, almost, although the books have nothing to do with the holidays. Regardless, here are my reviews:
EVER THE HUNTED
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)
Author: Erin Summerill
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing: December 27, 2016 (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Source: Featured book in subscription box
“Bravery is a choice that is yours to make. Don’t let fear steal your will.”
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
I received Ever the Hunted in a book subscription box, which typically means the book goes on the ginormous TBR pile until I have time to get to it — eventually — unless it is one of my highly anticipated reads. This one was no different.
I was not part of the book community at this time last year when Ever the Hunted released, but I followed a good number of bookstagrammers and knew that this book had some pretty good reviews. When I hit a random Springtime reading slump, I decided this book was going to get a major boost to the top of my reading list, and that decision was largely because its cover is so stunning (sorry, not sorry).
I have no regrets!
Like I touched on before, can we just take a minute to appreciate the gorgeous cover?! It’s simple, but so pretty! Seriously, well done, HMH Teen!
Now, onto the writing! Ever the Hunted is the debut novel from Erin Summerill, who has a degree in English. She is, however, a photographer by trade and worked on her book in her spare time. Not kidding, guys, her Insta is amazing because, well, she’s a professional photographer!
I enjoy Erin’s writing. I found Ever the Hunted very easy to read with a nice flow. Writing is agreeable to me when I can just read. I don’t like having to backtrack to make sure I comprehended what I read, and I did not have to do that here.
Also, it didn’t hurt that I LOVED THE STORYLINE! Granted, I am not a fan of how noninclusive the synopsis is. I would have read and enjoyed Ever the Hunted either way, but I legitimately find the synopsis to be important in whether or not a reader chooses to read a book and in influencing a reader’s thoughts as they read the story. The synopsis here just doesn’t cover enough.
Anyway, back to the plot! Without getting into specifics, I think this book has a lot to offer. The story has a great fantasy setting, epic adventure, fierce characters, betrayal and conflict, and SO MUCH MORE!
Our main characters, Britta and Cohen, won me over. Both are strong, believable, and flawed! They are both terribly stubborn, and I love the dynamic that adds. Both have experienced a lot in their short lives, and they wear those experiences like badges of honor. There is some wishy washy, back and forth thinking that had me wanting to shake Britta, but I still like her!
Just a warning: there is a solid amount of romance in Ever the Hunted. That is part of what I enjoyed, but I know a lot of YA Fantasy readers aren’t huge fans of books being doused with a lot of love. I, personally, don’t think it’s over the top, but it’s still very much present.
Of course, a lot transpires, the plot arcs nicely (considering this is the first book in a series), and then we are left on the edge of a cliff! CLIFFHANGERS WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME!
Everything altogether led me to really anticipate the release of Ever the Brave in 2017!
EVER THE BRAVE
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: Ever the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2)
Author: Erin Summerill
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing: December 5, 2017 (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Source: ARC from publisher
“Loving yourself, and believing you are good and capable, is a journey.”
Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.
Ever the Brave was in my top 3 most anticipated book releases of 2017 after I got sucked into the fantasy world Erin Summerill created in Ever the Hunted. I needed to find out what was going to happen next after the way book 1 ended, and I needed more Britta and Cohen.
I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet because: 1) I covered some basics above; 2) I have no intention of revealing spoilers; and 3) I need to get back to moping till Fall 2018 when book 3 is slated to release.
So, we pick back up where we left off at the end of Ever the Hunted, but this time we get to see the story from multiple POVs, which I love love LOVED! Ever the Hunted was solely Britta’s POV, but we now get the added depth of a POV from Cohen and Aodren. I prefer having the multiple POVs, so I was extremely excited when I saw this formatting in book 2.
As much as I enjoyed Erin’s writing in book 1, I feel like I could really see an improvement in Ever the Brave. Everything flowed even more easily. This was such a simple read that I absolutely did not want to put down!
The plot was action packed and full of unexpected happenings. I found myself saying “OH MY GOSH” more than once! The wonderful arc continued, and I was left with a completely pleasant feeling at the end.
For those that have issues with certain tropes — beware of a love triangle! I don’t mind love triangles, and I didn’t think this was a typical one, so it might even be tolerable to those who aren’t fans of that literary trope.
Along those lines, though, I really enjoyed getting to see more of Aodren in Ever the Brave. Cohen is still my fave, but I dig Aodren, too. There is a moment towards the end with these two and Britta, and *swoons* Guys, you just need to read this book!
I truly feel like Ever the Brave had everything Ever the Hunted had plus more! I am so glad it lived up to my high expectations!
Overall, I would highly recommend the Clash of Kingdoms series! If you love young adult fantasy with a dose of romance, go get Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave! Keep an eye out for a Clash of Kingdoms book, Once a King, following Aodren and one of the side characters, Lirra, which is expected to release Fall 2018!
Until next time…xo
*Thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book. Please note that it, in no way, had an effect on my opinion or review.