Aug 24, 2020

ARC Review--Greythorne by Crystal Smith

Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d'état on the night of her brother’s coronation.

With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?


I received this ARC while attending YALLFest last year. My review is completely honest and voluntary, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Crystal Smith returns to the world of Bloodleaf with Greythorne as Aurelia and Zan’s story continues, for their story didn't end happily ever after like we had hoped. In fact, things ended before they could start and Aurelia’s life has only gotten harder.

Well, it seems the fairy tale elements of this story are over if the cover change is anything to go by. Though this new cover screams typical YA Fantasy, don’t let that deceive you. It’s actually far from typical; this story is rich in magic and enchantment. The characters in this story are, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about this story! And I will say, that despite things taking a very un-fairy tale like turn there is a bit of comeback at the end, and that’s all I will say on that matter! Lol.

Aurelia is doing what she can to take care of the people of Achleva in Zan’s absence, though being that they are more of the magically inclined, not many people are willing to help, including Aurelia’s own kingdom. With her little brother, Conrad, about to take the throne, Aurelia watches from afar and tries to take care of him at a distance. But when she manages to secrete herself at his coronation, a new enemy rises to the stand. Arceneaux is a woman set against anyone and anything magical and with the Tribunal at her back, she can basically rule through Conrad due to his young age.

Aurelia manages to escape Arceneaux but at a cost to herself. Using her powers continues to weaken her. I suppose it surprises no one that Zan is in fact alive and mostly well. He and Aurelia find each other again and just as Aurelia tries to get past his pretending to be “dead and gone,” they discover that being together will be the death of them for when Aurelia healed Zan it took a piece of her to do it. And if she dies, then yet another person involved in the blood spell will die and after losing her mother, Aurelia is not willing to lose anyone else, including her guard and friend, Kellan.

So it would seem that once again, Aurelia and Zan must separate as Aurelia works to to find a magical object that could be the key to ending the blood spell magic. In turn, she’s fighting to keep the Malefica, aka untold evil, from reigning supreme over the kingdoms. Should be easy, right?

I think one of the hardest parts of this book was when Aurelia went into “the Grey” which was a sort of magical land of unknown. And then towards the end we added time travel into things and while it was very enlightening in some aspects, it was a tad confusing as well. Not overly confusing, but like those movies that show you a hidden moment or two that happened “off-screen” that ended up changing the course of everything that happened...or you know set it on the course that we saw where if things were otherwise the outcomes would have been disastrous! So that sort of time traveling twistedness.

I will also admit that I disliked Aurelia and Zan being apart so much. I loved watching their relationship grow and develop in the first book, the falling in love and all. They should’ve had some happier moments together despite the chaos reigning over their lives, but alas, that was not the way. Here’s to hoping that third book will allow more togetherness for them. I am still not quite certain how things will stand between these two, but I have the hope born of fairy tale happy endings, so let’s hope that the thin thread of fairy tale vibes that still occur in this series holds onto that!

While I did enjoy Greythorne very much, I couldn’t help but want more from it. I guess I was still clinging to the idea that this was something of a fairy tale, like The Goose Girl held for the first book in a loose sense. This book really had no fairy tale driving it. It sort of becomes like those standard fantasy reads we already have. 

The magic here is very different and the characters are what kept me riveted throughout. Aurelia isn’t perfect, she’s flawed. And from a reader’s point of view that’s a good thing! I like when characters are bit more flawed and make you scream with the choices they make.

Things ended in a very strange way with this one. I feel like there was a tiny wink to a fairy tale or two in these last moments. I’m very, very curious as to what the third book will hold. It seems like we might have reached a turning point for the HEA ending, but since there is that last book to get through, you just know there’s going to be more chaos before we reach those three final words (hopefully!) and I for one, cannot wait to read that next perilous journey!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

Greythorne releases on June 2, 2020

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