Last Halloween I actually left the house to do something social, but there was no way I was going without SOMETHING bookish – so I chose to don some ears & become an elf, just like Pirate Captain, Shae Lara. So, you could say I like this series. But really, I absolutely f’ing love this series & I command all of you to stop what you’re doing (after you’ve read my review of course) & read Sophia’s work immediately.
I was sent a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.
⚠️ This book contains slavery of a fantasy race, graphic violence (a bit of gore), death, graphic sex scenes, parental death, suicide/assisted dying, graphic sword fighting & some drowning ⚠️
You can read my review of book one, The Veiled Threat, here.
The opening chapter of The Veiled Descendants was wild & so, so incredibly strong. I was able to reconnect with the characters & story really quickly, & was also instantly curious about the next stage in Shae & Jo’s lives. The Veiled Descendants doesn’t follow directly on from the end of book one so, once again, Shae has secrets from everyone, including the reader. I thought it was brilliant that the characters had this mysterious period of time that we know nothing about because it makes the world & characters feel almost autonomous & self-sufficient, like the universe is a real, living entity, independent of the pages of a book.
I spent a lot of this read feeling protective of Shae, whilst also glaring at the pages, willing her to not give in to her self-destructive personality by making terrible decisions. I have a bit of a crush on Jo, so I was stressing a lot over how Shae’s actions could impact Jo & their relationship. Truthfully, Sophia is super good at keeping readers on their toes with characters that are completely unpredictable, irrespective of how well you think you know them, which adds so much to the story. Additionally, there were lots of other characters I was excited to meet again as well, & Shae’s crew always give me such a warm, happy feeling. We’re also introduced to a lot of brand new characters & each one was written ridiculously well, with detail, passion & depth. There were new characters for me to love, & new characters for me to hate & I felt all of those feelings so intensely. This book also reinforced my love for how many fantasy creatures exist alongside one another in this series, & their inclusion always makes me feel like I’m surrounded by an aura of glittery, golden magic.
Throughout all 523 pages of the book, things are pretty tense but as the story progresses, the tension continues to build & there was lots of teeth grinding from me towards the end of the book. Characters that I absolutely adored died in really sad circumstances & their deaths really put me on edge because Sophia made it clear that anything could happen. Moreover, I was utterly terrified of what kind of ending the book would have because it was obvious there was going to be another cliff-hanger, & I’m genuinely devastated that book three is still so far away. This review has been a incoherent rant of how much I love this series so I apologise for how badly written it is, but also kinda’ don’t apologise because this series is great???
Okay so I’ve ranted about how much I loved this book & how much I love this series (seriously, I love it LOADS) but now I need to talk about S E X. Despite the fact that this book may seem like it’s aimed at a Young Adult audience, it’s really aimed at a New Adult audience, & that is really important for y’all to know. There is a lot of (sword) fighting in this series, & it can get pretty brutal at times, but I think it’s definitely Sophia’s incredible sex scenes that up the age rating. I genuinely LOOOOOOOVE the sex in this book – it’s realistic, inclusive, diverse, detailed & hot hot hot 🔥 (there is a SEX TOY in a FANTASY BOOK – how many books can you say that about?!) however, my reviews are always honest so I need to talk about the one scene that made me uncomfortable.
This book is full of queer relationships so the m/m scene that I was a bit unsure of is not the only queer sex scene in the book, which I think it’s very important I make clear. The reason the scene made me uncomfortable is based on how old the characters are & how detailed the scene is, so I reached out to Sophia to discuss it. Sophia was really lovely about me raising my concerns & she was more than happy to explain why she chose to keep the scene, despite her & her editor being unsure about whether or not it should stay. Here’s part of what she said:
“I had so many conversations about deleting this scene but in the end I felt it deepened the connection between the two characters, portrayed their true ages as young adults, and further progresses who they will become in the third book […] I know the scene is detailed but I have always been a firm believer in describing sex with positive monickers, realistic sexual intercouse, and providing avenues to young adults and new adults who are actively having sex so they can be informed of safe practices.”
I think sex scenes in Young Adult stories are always going to be received in mixed ways – some readers like me wish for more detailed sex in YA, whilst others don’t want any, & both of those things are okay. The reason I think this scene shocked me initially is because I read a lot of middlegrade, YA & adult books, but not a lot of New Adult books. This means I’m only really used to reading about sex in adult books, with adult characters so reading about older-teens was a new & strange experience. But, when Sophia explained to me why she felt it was important to include the scene I was able to see it in a different way & now I completely accept (& encourage) it’s inclusion in the book. Nevertheless, I felt it was important for me to talk about it in my review & to make my readers aware that this book is for older readers who like a bit of sex & gore (although the two don’t cross over in this series… yet…).
This incredible book ended in such a satisfying way & promises an incredibly fierce third instalment; I love how this world just keeps on expanding & becoming more complex, & how Shae’s past is gradually revealing itself to both the reader & to her. I dream of this series a lot; I dream I’m on Shae’s ship, The Veiled Duchess, & I’ve started to imagine myself in Dari & Phoebus’ home whenever I’m having a panic attack. This series is so important to me & I would love to see it on a screen one day. Please dive into this series with me so I have people to share my love for it with:
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