Thank you to Random House Children’s and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Warmaidens (Gravemaidens 1) by Kelly Coon
Release Date: December 15th 2020
Tags: Young Adult | Fantasy | Found Family | Marriage
Trigger/Content Warnings: Mentions of attempted rape | Blood | Death | Murder | Mentions of hangings | Mentions of decapitations
Other books in this series I reviewed
Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.
Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.
Last year I read Gravemaidens, and while I felt somewhat mixed about parts of it, for the most part I liked it. I feel more mixed about the conclusion to this story.
Where Gravemaidens had a very tight plot, Warmaidens kind of flopped around. The goal was to kill Uruk but on the way we went from left to right, from up to down and more sideways. I was being dragged around for the ride and I’m not sure if I enjoyed it. It was a bit of a mess and I kind of lost interest.
The plotting on the parts of our characters did not exactly go well. Especially Kammani seemed to refuse to want to listen to others. She second-guessed herself and others endlessly. Making a decision, any decision, seemed to be one of the hardest things to do and none of her endless thought cycles made it any easier to read. The group of character is also very split, and while the discussion of what is a ‘worthy’ price to pay for the choices they are making in this war, I felt like a lot of them weren’t actually listening to each other. Which created much more mess.
On the other hand I loved the fierceness of her sister in this, even if she was more put to the sideline. She had taken her new chance to learn something new and was working hard to be good at it. Dagan was also such a sweetheart and didn’t deserve some of the distrust he received from Kammani.
I also think that the discussion around marriage and what would make it equal was a good one to see throughout the book. Traditional marriage, especially the way marriage is portrayed here, is not always equal. Often leading to sacrifices to the women and less the man. Even in today’s age there is some of that.