Title: Hiss (The Unnamed Trilogy #1)
Author: Amaya Ash
Date of publication: October 1st 2020
Print length: Kindle Edition, 364 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Edition: ARC, ebook
You can buy this book from Amazon
Writing Quality 5/5, Character Development 5/5, ‘Couldn’t put it down’ – ness 5/5, Intellectual Depth 5/5, Diversity 5/5, Originality 5/5, Overall 5/5.
Trigger Warnings: murder, violence, captivity, abuse.
Since the very first time I laid my eyes upon the cover of Hiss, I knew that the story was meant to be remembered. I wanted so bad to get a review copy, but as I was going through Amaya Ash’s website, I could not find any email address. I gave up hope a few days later, but then the author contacted me in hope of giving me a review copy! I was over the moon, and for a good reason! I finished the book in just a few hours, and now I cannot get over the story!
That’s because the true power of magic is not to send random objects careening off across the room. The true power of magic is to make ordinary people bow.
Some of the most important things that make the story as good as it is are the writing style, pacing and the course of actions. There was not any point in this 300-page book when I found myself wondering what in Gaia’s name was happening. Also, the pacing was perfect; the actions weren’t happening too fast, nor too slow. At some point, towards the ending, I felt a bit as if the story started to loosen up, but right after I reached the middle of the last chapter, the balance was reestablished.
Even if I couldn’t speak directly into someone’s mind, like Herman, I still had vocal cords which could change the pattern of the flowing air molecules, which could bump a specific message into someone else’s brain, through their ears… Wasn’t that wonderful too? What was so much better about telepathy?
The writing style amazed me through my reading. The book was easy to read and quite grabbing; I always found myself chucking through the house only because. Despite its lightness, the writing was complex. It is to be appreciated, knowing that it also deals with marginalization and other heavy subjects. I feel like Amaya portrayed trauma in a way that did not romanticize the term. You have no idea how much I stand by this book and how much I love the novel at this point.
It was a death lottery, a matter of holding your breath and waiting for the screams to come, wondering who was going to be killed this time, and praying it wouldn’t be you.
The characters are well developed and rounded. Leonie is the protagonist of the book, and she is just amazing. She is depicted as powerful and ruthless. Princess Leonita goes through a lot of shit and does not take no for an answer. She’s clever, and you’ll be amazed by her way of solving problems. She used to be thrown aside due to her lack of powers, and she spent her childhood reading and dreaming into the castle’s library. Armand is the Knifecloack who accompanies her through the journey. He’s also the love interest of Leonie. Armand, as the name suggests, is very closed into himself and does not let his emotions shine through. Herman and Hiss are Leonie’s brothers, and both of them have a huge impact on the protagonist. There is also a bunch of other side characters, but they are not as important.
Or maybe the problem was Armand, who, hooded and mounted on his tall horse, looked as warm and friendly as death.
I have always had a thing for the forbidden romance trope, as some of you adore the love triangle. Hiss is one of the best books when it comes to forbidden romance. Leonie and Armand made me chuckle and scream because of how cute they were. Even if they are physically close to one another almost all the time, I think it is safe to say their romance is a slow burn. Amaya knows how to write a good story, but she’s even better when it comes to romance; the forbidden love was immaculate!
“A needle through the heart kills just as well as a sword.”
The world building was good. I liked a lot the names of the characters, and everything related to the magic. I expect a lot more magical elements and a bit more information about Arilloa form the next books in the series.
Once they thought they had seen through the first lie, they wouldn’t suspect another one. A clumsy disguise, pointing to yet another disguise, is often best. People seldom expect to find two levels of deception.
When I first wrote this review, I thought all of the characters were white, and I had no idea Amaya is POC herself. I wasn’t quite happy with the diversity of the book, but Amaya contacted me and explained the situation, so I knew I had to correct my mistake. Hiss is written by a POC author, and all of the main characters are brown, so it is a 5/5 star read. She didn’t put a lot of accent on the colour of skin, and I must have missed that detail at first. I am so sorry for the mistake I made, and the book is just great.
After al, wanting to kiss someone could mean anything from a shallow physical attraction to real love; there were so many shades in-between.
Also, I think that the chapters were a bit too long. Hiss had a grand total of twenty three chapters, some of them having over 40 pages. I tend to read books with shorter chapters faster than the ones with longer ones.
“She had to help me clean up Mama. She hasn’t been the same since.” I didn’t dare to ask what he meant by ‘clean up’.
Overall, this book has been everything I wished for. It had action, a grabbing love story, a handful of twists, all packed up in a beautifully written book. At this point, I would sell my soul just to get a sneak peek to the next book in the series. I highly recommend it, but be mindful, the violence scenes twisted my gut a bit, and I am a horror fanatic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I’ve wanted to be an author for as far back as I can remember. As a little kid, before I even knew how to write, I drew picture books. When I was eight years old my books became novellas. When I was twelve they became novels. As an adult I sold my first book to a traditional publishing house under a different name. It was chosen as one of the Booklist Best Books; was nominated for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults; was a finalist for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards; and was featured in the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review, Booklist in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. Now I’m self-publishing for the first time.