Title: Armand (The Unmagic Trilogy #2) // Author: Amaya Ash
Date of publication: October 22nd 2020 by Amaya Ash // Print length: ebook, 269 pages
You can buy this book from Amazon
Leonie is struggling: she’s still recovering from the events of the previous book, Armand won’t talk to her, and somebody has just tried to kidnap her, though she doesn’t know why. Suddenly, Armand runs away from the palace without explanation.
Leonie is determined to find him before the other Knifecloaks can hunt him down and kill him for desertion. She discovers that he’s smuggled himself into a magic-fearing island called Izuli, and when the island’s Chancellor invites Leonie to visit as a diplomat, she accepts the risky opportunity to track Armand down. The Chancellor, however, has her own hidden motivations for inviting Leonie to the island, and Leonie soon realizes that she’s more of a prisoner than a guest.
Trigger Warnings: child torture, death, blood, violence, abuse, PTSD
Diversity Tags: POC representation (most characters from the main cast are brown) + the author is POC.
Writing Quality 5/5, Character Development 5/5, ‘Couldn’t put it down’ – ness 5/5, Intellectual Depth 5/5, Originality 5/5, Overall 5/5
Armand was another exquisite book in an enchanting trilogy, and I can’t explain how heartfelt the entire book was. Just like Hiss, Armand was full of action, easy to read and overall fantastic. The only difference (as I might call it) is the way the characters were pictured. Both Leonie and Armand grew up from the events of the last book, and it was just a blast to see them again.
The only thing more dangerous than an adolescent King, I thought sometimes, was one who had to pretend to be grown-up.
Let’s pave the way with the writing style and the course of action. As usual, Amaya’s books are easy to read and grabbing. The book started with a little overview of what happened in the last book, and if you are like me, you will enjoy being reacquainted with the universe. I tend to read a lot, and sometimes it happens to forget certain details. A start like this makes sure that you begin the book without misunderstandings and questions.
Troubled, I subsided. Six months. Was that the time limit for keeping a boy’s attention? No matter how eagerly they pledged themselves to you, if you left them to their own devices for half a year, could you expect to come back and find they’d glued themselves to a Mildred?
I had a feeling that Armand was a tad more brutal than Hiss when it comes to trigger warnings. If you recall the review I wrote for Hiss, you’ll remember that I flinched multiple times as a result of the violent scenes, in this book though, I feel like everything was more specific, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I do love details, and I do believe that they made the story even better. If you, as a reader, are sensitive to the trigger warnings I listed, you might want to pass this book. However, if you keep on reading, you won’t regret it for a second!
That was what had puzzled me so much these past few months, in fact: that death could exist in the same world as life, that my sporadic cheerfulness and my wild mourning could squeeze into the same mind, that killers like Hiss could also giggle and hug. Maybe Armand had his share of the uneasy inner balance, too. The world was so tangled up. If I’d been the one who’d made it, I would have separated everything out neatly: one evil world, and one good one, so that you always knew exactly where you were. And who you were. Because if nothing was pure, didn’t the two halves cancel each other out? The kindness that existed in the world was balanced out by the amount of evil, life was swamped by death, and happiness always seemed to end up turning into sadness eventually.
The characters were just as good (if not even better) than I remembered. Leonie, for the first time in her life, put herself first, and I loved that for her. Sometimes I still felt like hugging her, but unlike Hiss, the ending was a tad more hopeful, but still left room for interpretations. The Chancellor was a nice touch to the entire story, and I feel like Amaya portrayed her hypocrisy perfectly. She was the head (if I may call her like that) of the Izuli Island, and what is interesting about it, is the fact that all of its inhabitants are immune to magic. The Chancellor even said how much she hates magic, but even so, she is working on developing artificial magic.
I must not cry. If I cried, I’d go mad. If I cried, I’d never stop. I took a deep gulp, fighting against the dizziness, trying to order myself back into sanity.
The second book of The Unmagic Trilogy was one of the best fantasies & romances I have ever read. If you are looking for a new series to love (with diverse characters), I highly suggest you give it a try; you won’t regret it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My previous book was published by 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.
Some editorial reviews for my previous book:
- “Frankly spellbinding.” – The New York Times
- “Eye-opening and inspiring.” – The LA Times
- “Thrilling. A breath of fresh air.” – Publisher’s Weekly
- “Unique… Feels like a breeze in the desert.” – Booklist
- “Exhilarates and refreshes.” – Kirkus Reviews