Hello happy readers! So today I'm pleased to be reviewing a new Ink Monster release, the latest in the Beholder series by Christina Bauer, Cherished (Beholder #3). I have reviewed the previous books Cursed and Concealed and of course have loved them so I was eagerly looking forward to this one. I always look forward to new books by the author. Cherished is out Tuesday May 30th so make sure to check out your copy! I received an early ARC from NetGalley and the publishers for an honest review. Spoilers for the first two books, duh.
When we left off in Concealed I was a bit heartbroken. I didn't see how it was possible that Rowan had betrayed Elea like that. That he could be so sweet and amazing to her but really be engaged to her friend Amelia. Our Elea already has trust issues given what her former best friend, Tristan did to her. Still they defeated the Tsar and the Vicomte and she is back home on her farm where she wanted to be. Running Braddock Farm is supposed to be her life but after the past few years it's a bit less than she's used to, even with her flirty friend Philippe there to keep her company. So when someone comes calling trying to kill her it gives her a bit of the excitement she has grown used to. Shujaa is a Changed One who has hybrid magic and promises he will ruin her and kill Rowan. While seeing him is the last thing she wants to do, if hybrid magic is involved she knows he is her best chance of defeating this new evil. That's all, not that she still has feelings for him or anything.
I admit when the last one ended, while I loved the book and series I was a bit heartbroken and didn't understand how Rowan could have done what he did. I had no idea how things could be fixed, how he would be able to redeem himself in my eyes after that. I was well and truly worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy Rowan again. I clearly didn't have enough faith in the author because the way this story plays out I totally love Rowan still. So yes Elea and Rowan, I still ship them and love them so hard. Elea is still strong as ever and no matter how much her training tells her to not show emotions or be ruled by hear heart she isn't very good at that. I love that she is one to think with her head but she also lets her emotions show unlike a good little Necromancer. She has an entire army she brought back from the dead that want to follow her and she wants nothing to do with that. She isn't power hungry like so many other leaders she just wants to find her own slice of happiness. While Rowan is the leader of his people who are fickle to say the least and still even when they doubt him and cheer for another to rule he is strong and continues to fight for his people.
The chemistry is there from the start. Even before they see one another again you can feel it in the air and while you hate that he is engaged to Amelia I kept hoping he was right and there was an explanation that would make it better. I just love the magic these two create and not just the hybrid magic. One thing I love about them together is that they are equals, they may want to protect one another but they are equals. I really enjoy a romance that has each on equal footing and where the man accepts his partner is kick butt and doesn't need to sit the fighting out.
We also get to see more into Caster life. Some of the traditions and prophecies they live by. It becomes clear that some things have different meanings and rules. We also get to meet more of the Casters including Rowans brothers and even his mother. Some we clearly like more than others. For instance I just adore little Jicho. Zoriah not so much. Anywho this is all because of Viktor, yes even banishing him for a second time hasn't stopped his destruction as he left behind totems to continue his work. This man is seriously one bad dude.
There is plenty of character moments for sure as Elea fights to figure out what life she really wants but this is a battle story and there is lots of action and fighting happening. These characters we love so much never get a break because they are always needed to face some big bad. I love this story so much and while there is still so much that has me concerned from the ending I can't wait to see what happens. I also have a few questions left unanswered. So I'm ready for book four, Crowned.
Until next time…