In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world. Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.
A book with a trans MC? A fae book with a trans MC? Oh yeah, sign me the heck up. Even though I was bit nervous about this book, simply because of my history of not liking a lot of fae books, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Making deals with the enemy, witches and fae, and a throne to secure is incredibly intriguing and I was ready to give it a shot. Trigger warnings: transphobia, abuse (verbal and physical), blood, gore
Alright folks, buckle up, because I’ve got some screaming to do.
I have tried a good number of fae books and I think I’ve discovered I do not like straight fae books. Because the last two that I have read have been queer as heck and they immediately jumped onto my “favorite books of all time list”. Yes, this is about this book and A Dark And Hollow Star.
This book was so good.
I guess I will start with the fact that this book has the modern world and a fantasy world in play, simply because I’ve talked before about how I usually do not like that. Well, I loved it in this one. I think because the modern world was pretty much on the fringes the entire time. But, it makes it’s mark in different ways, most noticeably in the way that Wyatt acts. He loves chicken nuggets, uses language that I see on social media, and is basically an all around feral teen boy. In short, he is wonderful, but more on him later. The modern world takes a back seat to Asalin, the place where fae live. It’s embroiled with it’s own problems, and they reflect the ones plaguing our own. It has dragons and cool food and sprites and there’s witches and fae with wings and horns and all kinds of cool stuff. But there’s also a hatred towards witches, a corrupt Guard, and people stuck in old ways. It is wonderfully crafted and the there’s even more to be discovered. The darkness lurking just beneath the surface, just behind a door yet to be opened, wow is it alluring.
I guess characters can be next, and I guess I’ll start with Wyatt. I’ve already mentioned that he’s awesome, but wow is he awesome. He’s angry and sad and dealing with so much trauma, but he’s also hilarious and caring and SO gay. Brair was wonderful; gorgeous, fierce, strong. Emyr took my breath away a bit. He’s steadfast, loyal, and wants so badly to do the right thing. There were also other side characters that I adored, Jin and Boom and Tessa others!
The way this book is written was also one of my favorite things. There were lines that I just got on a fundamental level, that just spoke to a deep part of me. I also noticed that there were lines that I didn’t quite get exactly, but I still understood in other aspects. Wyatt is not bothered by some things, because he just doesn’t see the use in being bothered by it. And just, yes, I have done that before. It might be exactly what Wyatt does, but I’ve done that with other things. On a less heavy note, this book slips in phrases and lines that are just so teen-like. He uses pop culture phrases (I think that’s the correct term) and makes jokes about how gay he is. And just, please, more of this. It’s so relatable and honestly, simply downright hilarious at times.
This book also deals with anger, pain, and fear. Wyatt deals with guilt and darkness that seems to consume him. This book burns. And I can’t wait to see the flames it brings upon the world.
Overall, this book was amazingly incredible. Seriously, when I finished it I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to laugh or cry. I decided to do both. It’s wonderfully queer, full of anger, super gay, has incredible friendships, magical creatures, and is just an all around spectacular book.