Published: November 9, 2021
Genre(s): young adult, fantasy
Read as: hardback, owned, FairyLoot
The past never forgets . . .
Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.
Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.
TWs in this book: death of a loved one, torture, abuse, death of a child, grief
You often see specific books talked about on social media, on blogs, booktube, and wherever else you consume media when you are a part of the bookish internet. Some catch your attention and you find yourself adding them to your TBR. Others just aren’t for you. Then there are the ones you see everywhere but something about the description or the cover or just…something doesn’t pull you in. That was how I felt about Year of the Reaper. I had seen it pretty much everywhere but something about it just didn’t really tickle me so I had never bothered with it. Then, it came in a book subscription box and I am so very glad it did.
This book, this story, was amazing.
From page one I was drawn into this world that Makiia Lucier created. Sometimes (but not often enough) the worlds in books just feel real and you can get lost in them for many happy hours. Every page, every moment of this story just felt so alive.
Cassia also held my interest which is incredibly rare for a male lead character. This young man has been through hell and back and it has left him a broken husk of his former self. But, he doesn’t let it eat him. He knows he has changed from the person he was before his horrible trauma and tries to take things in stride. For instance, he cannot stand to be touched and is aware that it is a reaction from the trauma. He shares his problem with someone he trusts and works mentally to overcome the issue and acknowledges that it is hard. Cassia does many brave and honorable things in this book but it is his willingness to try to heal and the moments he allows himself to be weak that make me love his character.
Then there is Lena who is another wonderful character. She is brave and fierce and curious and intelligent and just so many things that I appreciate in a character. Her relationship with Cassia is also respectful and understanding. It would be hard to care for someone who has been through such hardships that has changed their character but she doesn’t judge him for how he copes or doesn’t cope. She cares for him as a person, exactly how he is, and is respectful of his struggles. That was absolutely lovely.
Overall, this story just touched me. There was love and hardship, war and a hard won peace, and bitter feelings that changed the very heart of people. There was also just such grief. The population had been decimated by plague and there were so many dead. Not a single character you met had not been touched by death in some way and they all coped with it differently. This is a story of humanity, the desire to heal, and the strength people find within themselves along the way.