A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
Book 1 Review: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Book 2 Review: A Heart so Fierce and Broken
Recommended: if you made it this far…
Look, if you’ve already read book 1 and book 2, just finish it here. All characters get a perspective, so no matter who you’re most interested in, you’ll get something from them
Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.
Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.
This is the last book in a series, and I think it did fine in that position. Unfortunately, “fine” is kind of a let down for a series that was on FIRE for so long. There were things I liked and disliked in each book, but it seems like book 2 was so epic to me and this one was just so… not.
One double edged sword issue with this final book for me was that we get chapters from all 4 of the main character perspectives: Rhen, Harper, Gray, and Lia Mara. I would say there’s maybe the most from Gray, then Harper, then Rhen, then Lia Mara. That might not be totally accurate, but that’s my best guess.
It’s worth noting that I don’t care at all about Lia Mara though and really never have. She’s a dud to me, so those chapters felt more obligatory than desired. I also never particularly liked Rhen, so I was always a bit annoyed when his came along because he seems like such a fickle prick to me. Gray and Harper were best and tended to move the story along. So in a way it’s good that every character gets heard one last time and can wrap up loose ends, but if you’re not interested in all of them some portions of this are less engaging.
Now, the plot. The crux of the plot. Without spoilers (yet), I just don’t really understand the Big Problem that, to me, seems like it has a very obvious solution. And it feels like that ends up where it goes, but only after unnecessary strife and idiocy. This meant that the whole way through in moments that should have been tense and nerve wracking where the characters were torn and panicking, I was confused like “WHY IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING JUST DO X!!!”
► SPOILERS: what they should have done, and also thoughts on the romance ties
Because forgive me, but what the shit was the issue?? If Rhen wasn’t going to push to end up staying king, then why the fuck didn’t he just hit up Gray and be like “Bro let’s join forces and take this bitch out” or send Harper or literally anyone if you’re so worried about it. But again – Rhen is an idiot and a prick so maybe no surprise. /sigh. The amount of times he went “I swear I’ll trust Harper more” to icing her out on a ride to town like a child was too many to count. It feels sooo much like an abusive manipulative relationship between them, and I can’t get behind it. THEY don’t even like or trust each other for basically the whole book, and while a happy ending is slapped on I don’t really buy it.
The brief acknowledgement towards the end of Harper being like “Gray and I could have been a thing if stuff played out differently” was appreciated at least to acknowledge that entire subplot from earlier books. However, it felt… dismissive. I think we knew it wasn’t going to happen between them by this point, but I wish there had been a little more of them discussing it rather than just Harper thinking “Oh well.”
And, ultimately, I didn’t care much about any of the characters anymore. Maybe that’s because I waited fairly long between the books to read each that the tension had drained away. Maybe it’s because I had to slog through Lia Mara chapters of insecurity and dullness. Either way, the ending of this series was… fine. But it certainly didn’t blow me away.