This post may contain affiliate links. Disclosure here.
“Human or vampire, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.“
Oraya, the adopted daughter of the Nightborn vampire king Vincent, has carved her place in a world meant to kill her. The only chance for her to become something more than prey is to enter the Kejari. A legendary tournament held by Nyaxia, the goddess of death herself.
Winning won’t be easy as Oraya competes with vicious warriors from all three of the vampire houses. To survive, she must make an unwanted alliance with a mysterious rival.
Everything about her mysterious tournament partner, Raihn, is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, a killer, an enemy to Vincent’s crown, and her greatest competition. Yet, what horrifies Oraya the most, is that she finds herself drawn to him.
However, there is no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything Oraya once thought she knew about the place she calls home. Raihn may be the only one to understand Oraya more than anyone else, but their slow-building attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.
Thoughts on the Plot
So many aspects of this story reminded me of my younger self when I was obsessed with The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Twilight. However, we are definitely no longer in Forks and Raihn is a much-needed Edward Cullen upgrade.
Something I found I really liked was that while the characters are a big part of the story, they don’t carry it. The plot holds its own really well.
There were so many schemes and I found myself instantly intrigued and pulled in.
In my opinion, the world-building was a little overwhelming. There were individual kingdoms that were easy enough to separate, but getting down to the grittier geographical details, for some reason, made my head hurt.
There is a pretty interesting political system which I enjoyed getting a peek into, but still didn’t fully understand.
If anything, my biggest gripe is that there were so many key details left out of this book. A lot of the questions in the first book are answered in the second book, but it was annoying to have to wait for a whole other book to learn almost anything.
For instance, without spoiling too much, there is a big source of conflict between the kingdoms, but we are barely told anything about why or the cause of it. We get some insight but it doesn’t feel like enough.
As much as I genuinely enjoyed this book, I do wish we had been given a little bit of info-dumping here and there just to fill in some of the giant gaps in the story.
Thoughts on the Characters
Let me start off by saying, that Oraya is a badass FMC and is best described in this book as anger incarnate. 🔥
But what I love about Oraya as a character, is that she is filling in these gaps with us, the reader.
She goes through so much growth and we stan!
Opposite Oraya, is our MMC Raihn, who as I mentioned earlier, is a much-needed Edward Cullen upgrade.
He isn’t shiny. No, Raihn is rock-hard and the perfect leading man to match Oraya.
They have such a slow burn and even though they are technically allies, enemies, to lovers, I loved every single second of them. Together and as individual characters.
Although Raihn does have a saying and he uh, says it a lot.
Oraya’s relationship with her father, Vincent, is one that is strained. Loving but tense. There is a lot Vincent has yet to tell Oraya and this is obvious. But also incredibly frustrating.
Vincent often times felt like he was being secretive and covering his tracks by being “protective”.
There is also Mische, the lovable and protective best friend to Raihn, who I 110% wish I could hang out with in real life! She reminded me quite a bit of Alice from Twilight since I’m making character references.
Overall though, this had an interesting cast of characters. I love the chemistry between Oraya and Raihn. I loved the friendship between Mische and Raihn and the one that developed between Oraya and Mische.
Despite the sometimes confusing dynamic between Vincent and Oraya, at the end of the day, I wept during certain scenes between the father-daughter pair.
There are plenty of other characters that play their roles well, but you’ll have to read the book to learn about them.
This book was definitely brutal. The Kejari has compassion for no one. And with a reward so big, it has to be ruthless and cutthroat. This book was quite stabby.
This book has a fair amount of spice too. Their slow burn was just *chef’s kiss*.
I would absolutely not recommend this book to anyone, not a grown adult. There are just so many adult themes and trigger warnings I could not sleep at night knowing a younger person read this.
At the end of the day, this book is not for the faint of heart, but with a strong plot and intriguing cast of characters, this book definitely can hold its own within the romantasy genre.
I’ll give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I truly enjoyed reading this and was so happy to have seen it recommended as a “what to read after reading Fourth Wing”.
If Fourth Wing put you in a reading slump, definitely consider giving this book a try. Yes, there are vampires. But like I said, this isn’t Forks and Edward Cullen walked so Raihn could run.