Guys, I am obsessed with this book. When it says The Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses, they weren’t lying. I think that is one of the most accurate taglines I have ever read and I cannot emphasize how good this book is. I read it in one day because every second I wasn’t reading, my mind drifted to this book. To what was happening. And I had to know what was going to happen next. And now that I’ve finished it … I need the next book immediately!
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This is an honest, spoiler free review, and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan
Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Clarion Books (previously HMH Teen)
Genre: YA Fantasy
From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes.
Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.
Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.
Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.
The first thing I thought of when reading this book was that it reminded me a lot of a Cinderella retelling. We have Brie, our main character, living in a closet with her little sister. Forced to pay off a debt to her aunt after she took her in, which includes serving her two female cousins. Then, one night, it’s revealed that the Faerie Prince is hosting a ball to find a human bride, and while Brie doesn’t want to go to get a husband, she goes to save her sister from the Unseelie King, who purchased her contract and took her to his lands.
It’s like a Cinderella retelling mixed with faerie folklore and I love it. I am actually obsessed with this book and I would like to kindly request the sequel be given to me now please!
As I continued on though, the Cinderella vibes lessened and the story took on a life of its own. As most of us who read Faerie fantasy know, the world of the Fae is full of trickery and deceit – something that even the cleverest protagonists end up learning the hard way. This fact made it so much more fun, because Brie is such a good main character. Though she’s too trustworthy at times, I was so absorbed in her story, in the two men fighting for her heart, that even I was blinded at times.
Sebastian is the perfect anti-hero. A villain, but not a villain. And Finn, a man who doesn’t want to come across as a good guy, still somehow acting like the good guy, even when he’s very clearly bad! These two not good-not bad love interests were addicting to read, especially with Brie’s too trusting and yet untrusting feelings towards her relationships with them. I could go on and on about how much I loved these two relationships and how they perfectly balance what’s going on in the book, but if I say anymore, I will probably start screaming!
Alongside these perfect love interests, we have the dangers of the faerie world, which Brie gets up close and personal with. Getting to read stories about the fae, and learning about the different creatures that roam the land, is one of my favorite things about these kinds of stories – every book is different and so are their monsters. The monsters in this book are intense and definitely terrifying. Though we don’t have endless battle/scary scenes, the encounters we do get with these otherworldly creatures is enough to persuade me to never go to visit the fae!
This review is so hard for me to write, because all I want to do is scream about how good this book is. I knew from the get-go that things were not what they seemed. Every new layer added onto the trickery and confusion made me rub my eyes a little more to see through. At times, it was hard to see who was truly bad and who was truly good. When I got to the ending, even though I called what was going to happen and had a strong feeling I knew what was going down, I still sat there slack jawed. I immediately texted my friends that they have to read this book and would accept nothing less. The ending made me gasp, left me speechless, and sent me into a whirlwind of emotions – I desperately need the next book!
If you pick up one book this summer, this needs to be the one. I’m not joking when I say I’m obsessed with it and this is the best book I’ve read this year. Or, at least one of them. Absolutely fantastic – everything I could wish for in a fantasy novel!
Do yourself a favor and read this book. You’re welcome!