Author: Tricia Mingerink
Series: The Blades of Acktar #2
Audience: New Adult
Release Date: November 30th, 2015
~ MY REVIEW ~
**Beware of spoilers, particularly if you haven't read Book One, Dare, yet.**
Deny is the fantastic ... absolutely heart-wrenching ... sequel to Dare. This is no fluffy tale, my friends; but even so, you don't want to miss THE BLADES OF ACKTAR series! It's unique fantasy telling a powerful story.
Leith Torren, now promoted to First Blade, is within the enemy line, caught up in a web of lies. Renna Faythe is hiding again; struggling with her lack of faith. Though they've already been through untold horrors because of King Respen, much more is ahead of them. Adventure. Trial. Romance. Terror. Who will withstand the tests? Who will come out alive? And is there any room for young love in this perilous time?
Once again, Tricia Mingerink swept me away to the fantasy land of Acktar. Danger lurks, hiding in the shadows as the Blades - King Respen's trained assassins. Secrets are uncovered ... trust broken. Faith is tested severely. And in the midst of the dark chaos, romantic love blossoms. Eep! <3 It was beautiful, terrifying, amazing, and heart-rending all in one!
Leith Torren is like ... the best assassin-turned-hero ever! ^_^ And though he found faith and redemption in Dare, he still hesitates to embrace life. He's kind of torn. In this book, I think we see even more of the dangerous side of him. It's exhilarating, but also very grim. But he's just gallant, and wonderful, and quite ninja-like! *grins* Deny has me hoping and cheering for Leith more so than ever. But ... Poor guy. *hugs him* *tears* (So much to process as I think back over everything that happened in order to write a review!)
Renna is definitely a favorite character. Her struggle is so real to me. I can relate. And I've thought about some of the situations she's forced to go through ... and wondered how I would react. With strength from Him? Or paralyzing fear? I LOVE her journey. <3 It's hard. Harsh in the deepest sense of the word. Agonizing even. (I told you this wasn't a light read! It's very deep, real, and thought-provoking). But in the end, it's so beautiful. Even as it hurts, there's this crazy, beautiful, unfathomable hope. Reach out and catch hold, Renna! And never let go! But yeah. Renna is a great character. So real and relatable. I must admit, I'm slightly concerned about the direction this series is going ... (Eeek! Tricia, how can you do this to us?? *wink*) But I'm sooo excited too! Very much so rooting for dear Renna!
And Brandi!! She brings humor, life, and laughter! A splash of color amidst the dark of fear and danger. I love how she lightens the story up here and there, and ... I just love her. *smiles* Was getting a bit worried at one point ... But Brandi is Brandi. She has a beautiful faith, and her Lord holds her securely! ^_^ Can't wait to see more of her journey too! *Thinks about the end of Deny* ... Oh, Brandi!!
And the other characters, fabulous as well! I'm particularly curious about Martyn. Hmm ... And Jamie!!! I love him! *grins* He's hardened, yet still innocent-of-sorts, and awkward, but sweet. <3
The romance that was hinted at in Dare advanced into something quite obvious and sweet in this book. All the Leith and Renna moments!!! <3 <3 *fangirl squeal* It was all so adorable and swoon-y. And tender and a bit uncertain. Renna's reactions and thoughts concerning her feelings were realistic. Really enjoyed that! It's not instant-love or perfect; but it's perfectly lovely! ^_^ I can't wait to see more. Beautiful love story unfolding! But lot's trying to get in the way of it! Eek!
On the romance note, it was definitely a step up from Dare as for content. But clean, sweet, and suitable for the Young Adult or New Adult audience.
So remember the bit about Deny not being a light read? There's quite a bit of violence and gory detail in this book. Some scenes are pretty bloody ... even if they're not as dire as they seem. So big cautions to anyone squeamish. There are some pretty brutal executions touched on too.
It was intense. And heavy. At one point, my heart felt like a rock in my chest; pain gathered, tears brimming. But, it brings across such a deep, meaningful message to us Christians. Faith, even in fiery persecution. Perseverance, even unto death. What a journey. Whew. For a moment, I was wondering if everything was going to crash to an end ... but the close of Deny promises more exciting and profound adventures to come in Book 3! I can hardly wait!
So yes. Epic and thought-provoking. A series for fantasy lovers. And even if you don't like fantasy, you should still give THE BLADES OF ACKTAR a try. Non-magical. Great fantasy world. Poignant Christian themes. Incredible characters. Sweet romance. Action, adventure, danger ... And tears. And hope. And holding your breath; simultaneously terrified and thrilled for the next book! *grins*
I received an ARC of Deny from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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