(Enviable photoshopping skills, I know.)
Release date – 13th September 2018
Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
You know a book is good when it has your heart racing, your palms sweating, and you fighting the urge to read ahead because you just need to know what’s going to happen.
Reign of Mist is one of those books. I finished it and just sort of stared at my kindle, trying to digest everything that happened.
(Warning: this review is gonna contain a shit load of gushing.)
We pick up right where Heart of Mist left off, with Bleak arriving in a land that holds the key to her forgotten past. But the land hides more than just Bleak’s secrets; it hides a false queen who resides in a forgotten castle, and an underground rebel movement, determined to save their prince from the queen’s clutches.
While Bleak is trying to figure out her place in the upcoming war, we also follow Henri, Swinton and Dash as they all move into their roles in the war.
Henri journeys to the winter land of Havennesse, where she employs the help of the Queen Eydis, after King Arden’s threat against Henri’s kindred.
Swinton journeys with Princess Olena to Battalon, where she is to marry Prince Nazuri, who is ten years her senior. Swinton has been tasked with gaining the prince’s confidence and getting him on the King’s side.
Dash is still at Heathon, learning to live with Olena’s absence. He still writes letters to the princess, still helps his dad around the stables, but Heathon is thrown into panic when a plague hits the capital.
Characters Old and New
I loved these characters in Heart of Mist, but I love them even more now! The chapter POVs are the same, but we get to find out lots more about Bleak and Swinton’s pasts, as well as being able to see different sides to all of the characters.
I particularly love Bleak’s addiction battle; while in the first book she was doing everything possible get her hands on some alcohol, to quiet the voices in her head, in this book she embraces her magic, and fights her addiction. I love the way that Bleak decides that she wants to stop drinking, but she still struggles a lot with her cravings.
While Bleak is definitely my favourite character, I absolutely adore her relationship with Henri! Their relationship has grown so, so much and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s a scene where Henri and the kindred stand with Bleak, drinking water instead of wine during a meal, because they say they’re stronger in numbers and it gave me so many chills! I love how Bleak has gradually wormed her way into the kindred’s lives, how they support her – I live for strong female friendships, and Helen’s books have them by the bucketload.
“Not all wars were fought with blades and shields. Not all courage was found in the heart of a battle.”
Swinton and Fiore’s friendship is still going strong too, and Swinton finally opens up to Fiore about his past; about his son, about his lost love, and about his magic.
While I do love Dash, I’m not really gonna comment too much on him because his storyline is something that I totally didn’t see coming, so I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. I will say, however, that I’m desperate to see where his character will go to in book three.
And we have new characters! Queen Eydis is one, who is an absolutely fantastic character, and there are a few who I’m not going to name because I don’t want to spoil anything but rest assured; they’re awesome.
Helen’s female characters are all incredible; a lot of authors seem to think that in order to be a strong character, they just need to be able to kick somebody in the face, but that’s definitely not the case here. They have so many qualities, they’re so realistic; they argue and they clash and they have their faults, but that just makes them all the more charming.
So I warned you at the beginning of the review that I was gonna be gushing a hell of a lot through this review, and this section is gonna be no different because I love Helen’s writing. It’s completely enchanting; it’s so vivid and colourful. I usually have a difficult time imagining all these different fantasy lands, and they often all blend together, but that didn’t happen with Reign of Mist at all. The pictures I had of the settings were detailed and vivid, but still easy to conjure.
Often when I’m reading a book on my kindle, I’ll end up checking the time and what percentage of the book I’ve read, which is why I always prefer reading a physical book. But every now and then I’ll find a book that’s so gripping that I don’t care how much I’ve read, because I don’t want it to end, and this is one of those books. Helen’s writing is addictive, and so clever; she weaves little hints (hints that seem insignificant at the time) about the plot and character identities into the story, and allows them to build up before bringing them to the forefront in a way that makes you want to go back and reread passages. It’s marvellous, but we’re still waiting for a few answers; like whether or not there has been a betrayal within the kindred, whether she has manipulated her way to the top.
What I also find refreshing is the lack of romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance in books, and I would love it book three did have romance, but I also know that I wouldn’t be disappointed if there wasn’t any in the next book, because the characters are strong and brilliant by themselves.
So it’s pretty obvious that I love this book, and I’m absolutely desperate for book three! There are a few things that I really need answers to, like the betrayal I mentioned earlier and also more about that ending.
But if you haven’t read this series yet, then I highly recommend it; fabulous characters, brilliant world-building and gorgeous writing. What’s not to love?
*thank you to Helen Scheuerer, who was lovely enough to send me an e-arc of this book!*