Aug 20, 2022

Review--Ebonwilde by Crystal Smith


When Aurelia awakens from her magic-induced sleep, it is to the face of a rescuer she didn’t expect, in a body she doesn’t understand, and into a world she no longer recognizes. Desperate to know what happened to Conrad, Zan, and Kellan after the events at Greythorne Manor, Aurelia follows the threads they left behind straight into the forest, where she finds herself caught in a web of magic, intrigue, passion, and betrayal that stretches across centuries and ultimately reveals that Aurelia is the final piece of a deadly apocalyptic plan that is only days away.

All Aurelia wants is to reclaim her life and reunite with those she loved and lost; but with the end of the world looming, she’s forced to unravel the dark secrets of the distant past before she can get that chance.

With the fate of mankind on her shoulders, Aurelia must venture into the heart of the Ebonwilde and face the darkest parts of the forest—and of herself.

Ebonwilde is the thrilling conclusion to the epic Bloodleaf series, which Laura Sebastian called “a phantasmagorical wonder” and Sara Holland described as an “eerie, immersive, and fascinating” read.


At long last, I finally read the finale to Crystal Smith's Bloodleaf trilogy, Ebonwilde! This has been a remarkable fairy tale retelling of The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm. While the first book was more so where the fairy tale retelling lied, the rest of the series has been pure fantasy magic, with hints and nods to the other fairy tales we all know and love!

This story was told a bit differently this time around. We get flashbacks from many of the characters of the series as to what they were doing one year ago, after Aurelia went into an enchanted sleep. Needless to say, a lot was going on. Zan was mourning the loss of Aurelia, her brother Conrad was trying to figure out how to rule a kingdom at ten-years-old while dealing with a powerful enemy who has the power to manipulate his mind, Kellan has gone a bit AWOL. And then...Aurelia wakes up, but not by who she expected to see.

Dominic Castillion was once her enemy, then reluctant ally, and now he's back again as a willing ally. In fact, he's being overly helpful. So much so that Aurelia is starting to suspect there's more to his motives than meets the eye. A lot has happened in the year she's been gone and while she struggles to keep up with what has happened, she still wonders what happened to Zan and why he wasn't there for her. Her worries for her brother are also very present in her mind and there's just too much to do and not enough time to do it.

There are only a handful of days until the winter solstice. A powerful man by the name of Fidelis is gathering support and allies as he plans to raise the goddess, Empyrea. Unfortunately, among them is Aurelia's brother, Conrad, but as we learn, Conrad is not exactly Conrad anymore, for Fidelis has the ability to manipulate people's minds and take away their memories, their very identities and shape them into who he wants them to be.

The clock is ticking and Aurelia is going to need all the help she can get if she's to stop Fidelis. For if she does, she will have to defeat an even more powerful goddess.

This book was definitely interesting. I'll admit, it was a bit overwhelming to be reading so many flashbacks. It's not so much people reflecting on the past as we're seeing the past in action. You begin to connect some dots here and there, but it was a bit busy. I mean so much had happened while Aurelia slept and then every once in awhile we got back to the present to see what Aurelia was doing, which was mainly trying to find her people; Zan, Conrad, Kellan...

There was also a bit of the book's own myths coming to life. We learn of a starcrossed lovers Adamus and Vieve--I can't quite remember if their story was mentioned in the previous books, I want to say they were as it's a famous love story for this world--and their connection to the present. It involves Aurelia, naturally, and another being the reincarnations of these two people from the past. But it goes beyond a simple goes way beyond that!

I will say that the action doesn't really kick into gear until the last hundred pages or so. That's about how long it takes until all the characters come together in the present. It was a suspenseful wait, I will tell you that! I did enjoy seeing what was happening with everyone in the year that Aurelia slept, it was just hard sometimes to connect the pieces as at one point I felt like we went backwards a bit. But it was also a busy work week and I couldn't read this as much as I would've liked every day! But the ending was everything one could hope for! It was fast paced, filled with battles galore, shocking surprises, tender romantic moments, heartache...and everything you would expect from an epic fantasy read! The epilogue though made it all the sweeter!

All in all, this was a terrific finale to an amazing trilogy! This was a series that was just amazing from beginning to end! I loved all the characters throughout and their journeys. It's a series that will hold you captive until the very end...and like with most fairy tales, you get the idea of what ending you're going to see before it happens. Through all the heartache of this series caused me, I can smile fondly on it now!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars






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