By Zoraida Cordova
(Hollow Crown #1)
I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people. Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace. When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace undercover and complete Dez's top-secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it. But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! ABORT IF YOU HAVENT READ IT YET!
Love triangles people, love triangles!
Okay, Zoraida, I see you, I see you.
My goodness was that an intense story. The characters, the worldbuilding, the action. I will admit it is a slow-moving book at least in the beginning but girl, once you pass that mark everything just starts flying at chu. Glass gets broken, people get tortured and my Latina fam is getting reignited once again. Shall we start from the beginning (geez BK, we'll start from the end? Shut up, I was watching BTS videos so forgive me if that fried a bit of my neurological goo) From the first sentence it literally grabbed me by the weave and didn't let go.
"Celeste San Marina dug a grave that night."
How in the H-E double hockey sticks am I not supposed to get interested from the get-go? We get introduced to the Whispers and Prince Castian the evil villain (my weakness) someone dies, people cry. My heart starts pounding so fast I almost had a heart attack when that scene was happening. And so, later on, we get acquainted with the main protagonist Ren. Oh and also Dex. Her dear sweetheart. And the- wait, if your reading this it means you've already read the book. Soooo what in the world am I doing this for? You mean to say I've already done a couple of reviews and I could've cut the crap and done a What I liked/ What I didn't like section and be over with it? Excuse me for just a moment as I go scream into my pillow...* five hours later* Hi. Now that my mental health is, let's say, not as bad as when I read the ending of Stars Above by Marissa Meyer lets start all over again. Renata, oh dear Renata, sometimes I ask myself if the world is too dumb for you or if you're too dumb for the world. All that self-pity, allllll those moments when you were so up in your feels you couldn't even see the things that were about to happen!!! Endangering your so-called 'friends' who let's face it, were as fake as they come. Although they WERE honest when they said they didn't like her so yeah, basically enemies. When I met Dex I was a bit infatuated. He was kind and loving and gentle and could kill anyone in less than five minutes. So that's an added bonus! Dude, don't judge but people who know how to fight, especially as well as assassins have a special place in my heart (when they're fictional, obviously). But then they had to ruin their sweet romance doing the deed. You know what deed I mean. The Deed that you should not do in a forest, the Deed that could distract you and make you not notice critical things because you're noticing some other stuff. And lo and behold this book nerd is correct. They get attacked in the morning. Let me just breathe in for a sec. HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE ALERT WHEN YOU'RE HAVING AN INAPPROPRIATE GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER?!?! *insert annoyed heavy breathing* Okay fast-forward. The bad guys are with Prince Castian. I get informed that Prince Castian and Dex had a fight in which they both were impaled by the other's sword so that was a fun experience. Prince Castian's group captures Dex and the others can't help him because he uses his power mojo to paralyze his friends. Oh and I forgot to mention how lovely I thought the idea of Ren taking one of Dexs' memories while he was asleep to bring him peace was. Baby, that finger in the butt you did, caused him to forget the dang password he was supposed to input into his prison cell! Oh my gosh, people seriously need to get their IQ's up. Girl, you need to ask your lover or anybody how they feel about you entering their sleep and literally eliminating a memory THAT COULD SAVE THEIR LIVES! Sometimes, I'll admit I was a wee bit frustrated at how certain things turned out. Take for example, when Ren and Prince Castian finally met once again. Him appearing like a bloodied angel and then fighting each other because Ren thought (rightfully so) that he had decapitated Dex. Which, hellooo? That scene brought tears to my marzipany heart and afterward? when Ren literally broke down? At that moment, I actually grew to like her. Back to the fight scene, they fought, bled and man was that hawt. The things that got a little under my skin was how the author made Ren discover that she knew Castian. I think it was a bit too quick for my liking. Also how she revealed that Dex and Castian were brothers, sadly, I saw that coming a mile away. I didn't know how, but I did. Including Margo's betrayal that really pissed me off which I believe was the purpose of her character. Annoy the crap out of people. HA! I know some people like that in real life. Closing off this review with a good note, I must say that even though it hooked me from the start and after that, I was a bit meh, I actually really enjoyed how the author created a world with people who had powers unbelievably real because believe me, some authors don't get it right.
Ren and the woman who had raised Castian. That scene was so heartfelt until Alessandro had to input his vomit-inducing self into the equation. Ugh.
Ren and Castian's last scene when they were in a cave and Castian was looking all handsome and ish. Butterflies, commence elimination of common sense.
The scene where Castian and Dex are fighting each other.
And last but definitively not least, The part when Esteban's grandmother was being all sweet with Ren. Obviously before having to give her to the guards. *sigh* Life is never simple, is it?
Dear Zoraida, I hope you finish the second book because regardless of the pandemic that is happening all around the word I need to be entertained. Also, please, don't screw up the love triangle. I beg you from the bottom of my tar filled heart that you do justice to the love triangle trope community. And thank you, for letting us readers know about the great potential you have as a writer.