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The Bright & the Pale

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Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left. That is, until he is brutally murdered. A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot. And it has waited years for release. CW: death of a family member, discrimination, childhood trauma, work camps


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Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left. That is, until he is brutally murdered. A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot. And it has waited years for release. CW: death of a family member, discrimination, childhood trauma, work camps

30 review for The Bright & the Pale

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    i see some readers have tagged this as a retelling. even after looking at other reviews and doing some googling, i cant tell you what its a retelling of. to me, this just feels more inspired by russian folklore and myth in general, not a specific story. regardless, its that influence that kept me reading. i like the atmospheric tone it lends to the story - i think this tale of the pale and bright gods has a good blend of mystery, magic, and danger. i also think the plot itself is interesting and i see some readers have tagged this as a retelling. even after looking at other reviews and doing some googling, i cant tell you what its a retelling of. to me, this just feels more inspired by russian folklore and myth in general, not a specific story. regardless, its that influence that kept me reading. i like the atmospheric tone it lends to the story - i think this tale of the pale and bright gods has a good blend of mystery, magic, and danger. i also think the plot itself is interesting and the characters have some depth to them. overall, this has a lot of things going for it, but i just couldnt quite connect with this story as much as i was hoping to. cant really put my finger on whats preventing me from feeling anything more than just a basic enjoyment, but i have no doubt that other readers will love this. ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I’m tired of getting these beautiful books and they aren’t my cup of tea!! I loved Alik a lot and was hoping there would be more stuff with him but there just wasn’t much of anything. Whatever! I’m glad for those that loved it!! My March FairyLoot Box! Click on the spoiler under the picture to see the goodies! I love everything in this box!! Fingers crossed for the beautiful book!! (view spoiler)[1. The beautiful monthly tarot cards and spoiler card art 2. A headband inspired by Something Dark and I’m tired of getting these beautiful books and they aren’t my cup of tea!! I loved Alik a lot and was hoping there would be more stuff with him but there just wasn’t much of anything. Whatever! I’m glad for those that loved it!! My March FairyLoot Box! Click on the spoiler under the picture to see the goodies! I love everything in this box!! Fingers crossed for the beautiful book!! (view spoiler)[1. The beautiful monthly tarot cards and spoiler card art 2. A headband inspired by Something Dark and Holy 3. Socks inspired by Even The Darkest Stars 4. A phone ring holder inspired by Winterwood 5. A mug inspired by the Winternight Trilogy 6. A foiled notebook inspired by Wintersong 7. I’m supposed to a foiled art print inspired by Spinning Silver but it’s not here. If I’m not mistaken they said it was late and they will send it in the next box. I’ll have to email them to make sure 8. The awesome book with shimmery sprayed edges and art under the dust jacket, an art print and the book mark of the month Happy Reading (hide spoiler)] Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rubinkowski

    I’m giving this a five stars because, well, it’s my book. I hope everyone enjoys it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    A YA fantasy debut pitched as The Bear and the Nightingale meets Shadow and Bone. Hmm...could be good, could be a disaster. Guess we'll have to wait and see lol A YA fantasy debut pitched as The Bear and the Nightingale meets Shadow and Bone. Hmm...could be good, could be a disaster. Guess we'll have to wait and see lol

  5. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    My. God. THIS FUCKING BOOK. I’m reading an early version and holy. Shit. 😭😭😭 THE ENDING BROKE ME AND I SHALL NOT RECOVERRR

  6. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Quill Tree Books for continuing to be a source of enjoyment for me! I never know how to start reviews where the books did not jibe with me. On one side, I want to vent about all the things that bugged me, but on the other side I know what its like as an author and how much work is put into writing a novel. So, I'll try to be as gracious and professional as possible so if my words come off rude, it is not intentional, and I respect all authors and the work they do. The Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Quill Tree Books for continuing to be a source of enjoyment for me! I never know how to start reviews where the books did not jibe with me. On one side, I want to vent about all the things that bugged me, but on the other side I know what its like as an author and how much work is put into writing a novel. So, I'll try to be as gracious and professional as possible so if my words come off rude, it is not intentional, and I respect all authors and the work they do. The book centers around Valeria, the only survivor of a strange freeze that obliterates her entire town and family. Now, she works at a thieves guild, and grieves over the loss of her friend and partner. After a botched mission, she finds out that Alik is alive, and that in order to save his life, she must accompany a band of strangers back to the home she vowed never to return to. Valeria, as a character, was your typcial YA heroine. She has a troubled past, and is barely getting by. She's haunted by those she lost, and trying so hard to see a future beyond the place she is currently. I did not have many problems with her, other than her not being set apart from other heroines I've read before. She was OK. I had a hard time with the romance. Found love is always a great thing to read, for me, but this one fell a bit flat. I was trying my best to understand where Alik was coming from. I mean, the boy's been through some stuff. He's seen some stuff. But the way he treat Valeria, with his constant aplogizing when he said some d&*k things reminded me of an ex-boyfriend who bordered on emotional abuse. I would have liked Alik is hsow a bit more emotion aka love toward Valeria so i could root for them. Mostly, I was screaming at Val to gtfo and find someone else. I liked the world, but I would have liked a bit more about the land and its people other than the racism. What sets this place apart from other fantasy worlds? I have to say, I did like the idea of the two gods. They creeped me out. Every time I read "pale god," I thought of the pale man in Pan's Labyrinth and fell into a ptsd huddle under my covers. Scariest. Movie. Scene. Ever. I digress... I'm a sucker for Russian folklore...or folklore in general because it forces me to step outside of my bubble. The concept of this book is unique in itself, but adding on that layer of world-building really spiced it up for me. The ending was tragically and deliciously like everything I want from a YA book. WHAT JUST HAPPENED??? With the new introductions, I can see the sequel being awesome. To close out, I really did like the premise of the book, but overall it did not hit all the beats for me. I know some amazing readers who will enjoy it, and I hope Jessica has an amazing release day.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This really disappointed me. I can see why it was compared to Shadow and Bone and even Six of Crows, and I would even say The Poppy War, but it fails where all other three succeed. The plot isn't the problem, it's the execution. I feel it's a lot of telling and not showing, and I never was that invested in the characters. The storytelling fell short, which was a shame because this actually had a lot of promise. It's also likened to The Bear and the Nightingale, and I completely disagree with tha This really disappointed me. I can see why it was compared to Shadow and Bone and even Six of Crows, and I would even say The Poppy War, but it fails where all other three succeed. The plot isn't the problem, it's the execution. I feel it's a lot of telling and not showing, and I never was that invested in the characters. The storytelling fell short, which was a shame because this actually had a lot of promise. It's also likened to The Bear and the Nightingale, and I completely disagree with that. Bear is a beautifully written tale. Though slow, it is descriptive and atmospheric. This is not its equal. Unfortunately it all just fell flat for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    June 19, 2020: After eyeing this fantasy for almost a year, the cover has just been revealed and I'm SO MUCH MORE EXCITED because truth is: blue book covers are underrated, and this one is so good. July 24, 2019: Russian folkore?? Do I see Shadow & Bone as a comp title?? b l e s s e d June 19, 2020: After eyeing this fantasy for almost a year, the cover has just been revealed and I'm SO MUCH MORE EXCITED because truth is: blue book covers are underrated, and this one is so good. July 24, 2019: Russian folkore?? Do I see Shadow & Bone as a comp title?? b l e s s e d

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Dancing bears, painted wings, things I almost remember. And a song someone sings, once upon a December... The Bright & the Pale definitely gave me Anastasia vibes. I'm not even complaining on bit about it either because now I seriously need to drop everything and watch the dang movie. So it's super safe to assume that I enjoyed this book a whole lot. I mean any book that gives me a movie vibe from my childhood is already off to a good start. Now the worldbuilding and the adventure itself was prett Dancing bears, painted wings, things I almost remember. And a song someone sings, once upon a December... The Bright & the Pale definitely gave me Anastasia vibes. I'm not even complaining on bit about it either because now I seriously need to drop everything and watch the dang movie. So it's super safe to assume that I enjoyed this book a whole lot. I mean any book that gives me a movie vibe from my childhood is already off to a good start. Now the worldbuilding and the adventure itself was pretty easy to devour. Ever since the beginning, I was so intrigued with the gods and the mysterious mountain. Mostly because of what lies within it. As for the characters, in it you will meet Val. She is such a bad ass little thief and works for a guild. Things haven't been the same since her best friend and partner, Alik, died. So when she gets information that he's actually alive? Well, she's suspicious but willing to see it for her own eyes. Along the way, lots of secrets and betrayals come out to play. So many for my brain to keep track of but in a way, it made things that happened in the beginning make a whole lot more sense. Honestly, don't trust anyone in this book because something will eventually come out that will slightly blow your mind. Or maybe that's just me. Other than that, the romance was okay but it wasn't my main focus. I feel like the entire gang, which definitely gave me some little found family vibes, was more important. Plus the whole mysterious mountain filled with scary creatures. After that ending, though, I'm not sure what to say or think. I'm obviously down to dive into the next book because I'm hoping for more action. Like an epic battle maybe? Not sure. Plus I want revenge on everyone that betrayed Val. OH, and a family reunion - PLEASE?! Okay, so I want a lot of things in the next book and that's why I need it! The waiting game is already killing me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Blobbie!

    I absolutely seem to love this cover!, I have do idea why?, also I barely know what’s books about!, but I can’t wait to read it now!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mash

    I think, this will be interesting. Also, why do I feel like so many fantasy books released today (March 2nd), I can name seven from the top of my head.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Wimmer

    Beautifully written, highly atmospheric debut novel. I really enjoyed this genre bending novel. The Bright and the Pale is part fantasy, part horror, and part thriller. It ticked all the boxes for me. The winter ambiance of the book was pronounced, and it was perfect for curling up with a warm cup of tea and a pine scented candle. The author leads us through many twists and turns throughout the book. Everything is fast paced and interesting. I had a really hard time putting it down and finished Beautifully written, highly atmospheric debut novel. I really enjoyed this genre bending novel. The Bright and the Pale is part fantasy, part horror, and part thriller. It ticked all the boxes for me. The winter ambiance of the book was pronounced, and it was perfect for curling up with a warm cup of tea and a pine scented candle. The author leads us through many twists and turns throughout the book. Everything is fast paced and interesting. I had a really hard time putting it down and finished it in less than two days, which is really fast for me. Most books take me 4-5 days to finish. The characters were dynamic and human. I connected to them, and though I cared about what happened to them, the author was great about making sure we were not happy with all of their decisions. With everything going on in the world right now, I have had some trouble concentrating on reading and being able to relax. This book was able to suck me in and give me a much needed distraction and rest. Though it does not say it on goodreads, I believe that this is the first book in a series. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next, and reading other books from this new author. Thank you netgalley for gifting me a copy of this magical book in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Aga

    ”Something is coming for us...” Wowowwow. I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts! Don’t get me wrong, it starts off strong here but I’ve been in a major book funk so I almost quit. *gasps* how could I?! There was a point where I sat down to read and I turned the page and it just got so so good. Jessica is a VERY talented writer. Beautifully poetic. I could literally feel the cold of the mountains and the ice. So fast forward to the middle where we get to the GOOD good stuff, and OMG. I was legit ”Something is coming for us...” Wowowwow. I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts! Don’t get me wrong, it starts off strong here but I’ve been in a major book funk so I almost quit. *gasps* how could I?! There was a point where I sat down to read and I turned the page and it just got so so good. Jessica is a VERY talented writer. Beautifully poetic. I could literally feel the cold of the mountains and the ice. So fast forward to the middle where we get to the GOOD good stuff, and OMG. I was legit scared, you guys. I hid under the covers for a minute... I even cried a little bit at the end. I had a major flip flop of emotions all throughout. Which is my favorite kind of read! A group of characters goes deep into the mines of a cursed mountain. That’s all you need to know! So spooky and vivid, I felt like I was IN the mountain too. Now, go forth and read this beauty.. and grab a blanket, you’re gonna need it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    ♠ Tabi⁷ ♠

    My darling The Bear and the Nightingale along with one of my fav worlds of the Grishaverse?? yes . . . so much yes My darling The Bear and the Nightingale along with one of my fav worlds of the Grishaverse?? yes . . . so much yes

  15. 5 out of 5

    H.B.

    I went back and forth over whether to give this two or three stars, and eventually decided on three because despite what I felt was lacking in the book, I enjoyed most of what was there. The premise was very intriguing, but the world wasn't as flushed out as it could be. A lot of things were glossed over or the main group got out of problems a lot faster and easier than was plausible. I did like Valeria, the main character as well as Chinua, one of the side characters. Valeria was relatable and h I went back and forth over whether to give this two or three stars, and eventually decided on three because despite what I felt was lacking in the book, I enjoyed most of what was there. The premise was very intriguing, but the world wasn't as flushed out as it could be. A lot of things were glossed over or the main group got out of problems a lot faster and easier than was plausible. I did like Valeria, the main character as well as Chinua, one of the side characters. Valeria was relatable and human and had a strong voice. I would honestly love to know more about Chinua and her story, which was the most intriguing part of the book in my opinion; I feel like she needs a book of her own. The romance was... okay. It's a friends to lovers premise, but moved a bit fast for my liking and the love interest himself was a bit lackluster; he was kind of boring, a little bland, and at times annoying. All in all, it's a good book for a quick read, something to cleanse the palate before diving into something big or to read for relaxation after something with a little more grit.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Corley

    I Loved every part of this book. I'm so glad I received this in a book box! Cover was amazing. Writing was on point. Everything was greatly described, making it easy for me to paint a mental picture. Cannot wait for the next one! I Loved every part of this book. I'm so glad I received this in a book box! Cover was amazing. Writing was on point. Everything was greatly described, making it easy for me to paint a mental picture. Cannot wait for the next one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon

    "The Bear and the Nightingale meets Shadow and Bone" #RUSSIANINTENSIFIES ----- YES!!!! I AM THE FIRST TO WRITE A PRE REVIEW FOR THIS!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! "The Bear and the Nightingale meets Shadow and Bone" #RUSSIANINTENSIFIES ----- YES!!!! I AM THE FIRST TO WRITE A PRE REVIEW FOR THIS!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Fairyloot March 2021 book of the month

  19. 5 out of 5

    Danique van Dijk

    The story The book is about Valeria, one of the only survivors of the curse that took the mountain Knnot. Now, years later, she needs to travel back to the mountain, with all its haunted memories coming back for her. At first, I kinda had to get used to the story. That being said - I really enjoyed it. I've never read a story like this one, it was very original and quite cool. There were quite some creepy vibes when they got to the mountain, which made it even more interesting to read! Those cre The story The book is about Valeria, one of the only survivors of the curse that took the mountain Knnot. Now, years later, she needs to travel back to the mountain, with all its haunted memories coming back for her. At first, I kinda had to get used to the story. That being said - I really enjoyed it. I've never read a story like this one, it was very original and quite cool. There were quite some creepy vibes when they got to the mountain, which made it even more interesting to read! Those creatures? They made me think of the Wendigo from Until Dawn, which scared the absolute shit out of me. Damn, they're creepy. Besides that, it was kinda obvious where the story would go. (view spoiler)[ I mean, Luiza being bad was the most OBVIOUS thing I've ever read, and it kinda annoyed me how Valeria kept denying it, even though it was so, so, SO obvious. (hide spoiler)] At least Alik was thinking clearly and knew it lol. I can't wait to see how the next book will go though, now (view spoiler)[ that she accepted the power; I don't trust either of the gods at all, the Pale one seems like trouble, and now that his powers are in/with her, I think we're in for a lot of trouble. (hide spoiler)] The characters I don't have a lot to say about the characters in particular, I enjoyed the relationship between Alik and Val, but I needed some more depth. There were just a lot of descriptions of where they were and all that, but I missed discriptions about the characters themselves - like what they went through together, and stuff like that. Val was a realistic character, she was far from perfect, and let her anger control most of her actions. It did really annoy me that she sometimes realized someone was hiding something, and then just thought 'oh well I don't want to be difficult/fight, so I'm just not going to ask'. Girl, that's just bullshit. If she just asked her questions, things would've been obvious way sooner, (view spoiler)[ like the situation with Ivan. (hide spoiler)] This seriously annoyed the crap out of me, because she always let her anger control her actions, but not in those scenarios? That's just bull. I enjoyed Chinua most of all, and I really want to know more about her family life and all that. I hope we get to travel to her country in the future, so we get to know more about her life there as well. Serafima has some potential, but we didn't really get to see a lot of her; I hope to see more in the future. I just feel like the characters didn't have a lot of depth yet, and I'm hoping they will get more in the next book(s). Writing style The writing was easy to read, mostly consisting of short sentences. There were quite a few sentence/grammar mistakes - which really bothered me in the first few chapters, but after I while I was able to ignore them. Still, me noticing those mistakes? Coming from a non-native English speaker, that says a lot. Overall conclusion I think it was quite an original story, with quite a lot of worldbuilding. I enjoyed the mountain part the most, even though they were travelling a lot, the creepy circumstances kept me on my toes. I can't wait to see where the rest of the story will take us, and I'm mostly scared of (view spoiler)[ Valeria turning into a crazy evil person. At least Alik is back alive, so he can hopefully prevent that! (hide spoiler)] 3.5 stars

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura H

    Buddy Read I fell in love with the writing for this book instantly, the setting and world building is stunning throughout. The characters are incredible too, an interesting group from various backgrounds and flaws that i love to see. Valeria is a great mc and i adored her pov, she is a fighter and loyal to a fault. Getting to see her growth as she learns more of her history on their travels and how she sticks to what she believes in. She is reckless and difficult at times, but i enjoyed her so mu Buddy Read I fell in love with the writing for this book instantly, the setting and world building is stunning throughout. The characters are incredible too, an interesting group from various backgrounds and flaws that i love to see. Valeria is a great mc and i adored her pov, she is a fighter and loyal to a fault. Getting to see her growth as she learns more of her history on their travels and how she sticks to what she believes in. She is reckless and difficult at times, but i enjoyed her so much for her flaws and struggles. The romance is very light and sweet, pure longing and soft vibes. Very much a friends to lovers type, learning about their life as they worked and grew up together. Built a trusting bond and fell in love somewhere along the way. I couldn't help but root for Val & Alik from the first moment. With a fascinating plot this story builds up every scene, reveals of details slowly throughout and grabbing me to find out what happens next. Constantly on edge as twists and turns that were perfect for me, i enjoyed it so much! As learn about the characters, Gods and history of their world. I must mention the rest of the cast who are beautiful in their own ways, i have a soft spot for Ivan who is somewhat the leader. Oh Chinua is so sweet, she is lovely from her first scene and caring for everyone. Serafima took while, but grew on me and i enjoyed her growth. All of the characters have such interesting stories, bittersweet and hopeful in so many ways. It was wonderful to see them all work together towards a similar goal, despite different reasons in a way all looking for freedom. Overall i enjoyed this read so much more then expected and am excited to read the next book when release. After the end of this one, i can't wait to see their next journey! 💕

  21. 5 out of 5

    Verónica Fleitas Solich

    DNF at 42% To be fair, I don't even know what I'm reading. I couldn't connect with the story or the characters. It's not that there's something wrong with it, it's that I didn't find anything good for me either. A shame because the cover made me fall in love and the synopsis had intrigued me. Maybe it wasn't a book for me. DNF at 42% To be fair, I don't even know what I'm reading. I couldn't connect with the story or the characters. It's not that there's something wrong with it, it's that I didn't find anything good for me either. A shame because the cover made me fall in love and the synopsis had intrigued me. Maybe it wasn't a book for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nessa Luna [October Tune]

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok but why do people think writing books that take place in caves/tunnels is a good idea? I was so anxious all throughout that whole part of the book ahhhh. But I love myself a little found family who has to steal something story. Wasn't a huge fan of the romance, tbh, but they might grow on me in the sequel... Ok but why do people think writing books that take place in caves/tunnels is a good idea? I was so anxious all throughout that whole part of the book ahhhh. But I love myself a little found family who has to steal something story. Wasn't a huge fan of the romance, tbh, but they might grow on me in the sequel...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie Hutchings

    3.4 stars! "How are you holding up?" "My leg feels like someone has been sawing on it, and I can't stop shivering, but I guess it could be worse." Alright, where to begin? I went into this book expecting very little, and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! Characters. I really, really liked all of the characters for around the first 50% of the book--as it was set up to be a very character-driven book. I feel like the author faltered a bit away from this towards the end of the boo 3.4 stars! "How are you holding up?" "My leg feels like someone has been sawing on it, and I can't stop shivering, but I guess it could be worse." Alright, where to begin? I went into this book expecting very little, and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! Characters. I really, really liked all of the characters for around the first 50% of the book--as it was set up to be a very character-driven book. I feel like the author faltered a bit away from this towards the end of the book--and that made me very sad, but I was fine. Alik was soooo annoying, but I really loved our MC, Valeria. She was fierce but chill (no pun intended, i swear) and very dedicated. I wanted to scream at her 30% of her page-time, but I accepted her character-stupidity as arrogance and moved on. Chinua was my other favorite character, but I didn't care too much or feel anything too strong about the others in the gang. Speaking of... one of the biggest let-downs about this book was probably because it was trying too hard to be Six of Crows. Like, if you're going to give me a found-family trope--you better give me a found-family trope and make sure I love it. It's fine, I'm not that salty about it. I feel like by reading such a masterpiece known as Six of Crows then one nearly as great right after it, Fable, I have pretty much doomed myself to liking any book similar to the likes of them. Plot. Honestly, I thought the plot was thrilling, and probably the best part of the entire book. I was enraptured by the whole 'haunted-mountain-with-weird-creatures-that-chase-you-around-until-you-go-mad' type thing. Not much more to say about this category Writing. Okayyy. I have to say, at the first 40%, I was full-on ready to give this book 5 stars because it was that good! The world-building was fantastic, I knew what was going on, but it wasn't info-dumpy, and the book just jumped right into the action. But it slowed down, and I just wasn't vibing with the writing style later on, so that was sad. That is all, I hope you all have a fantastic morning/afternoon 😎.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tia

    World building was interesting but that’s all this book has going for it. I didn’t care about any of the side characters and the MC Valeria was an absolute brat, her logic constantly flip-flopped and it was tedious. I kept being told that she was some amazing military assassin or something but...where was that in the book? I couldn’t tell you. A lot of telling and not a lot of showing. The ending was frankly ridiculous and there were just too many conveniences throughout the book for me to suspen World building was interesting but that’s all this book has going for it. I didn’t care about any of the side characters and the MC Valeria was an absolute brat, her logic constantly flip-flopped and it was tedious. I kept being told that she was some amazing military assassin or something but...where was that in the book? I couldn’t tell you. A lot of telling and not a lot of showing. The ending was frankly ridiculous and there were just too many conveniences throughout the book for me to suspend my disbelief. I refuse to DNF a Fairyloot book but wow there’s 5 hours of my life I will never get back.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    3.75 stars I love when characters go on journeys, especially ones with creepy creatures that follow them. The trek into the mountain was definitely my favorite part of this, I was on my toes and didn't know what to expect. I also liked that the world building was there but not too heavy as to weigh the story down. There were a couple times I thought things were rushed. In the beginning, Valeria finds out that her friend Alik is alive when she thought he was dead. Alik hadn't even been introduced 3.75 stars I love when characters go on journeys, especially ones with creepy creatures that follow them. The trek into the mountain was definitely my favorite part of this, I was on my toes and didn't know what to expect. I also liked that the world building was there but not too heavy as to weigh the story down. There were a couple times I thought things were rushed. In the beginning, Valeria finds out that her friend Alik is alive when she thought he was dead. Alik hadn't even been introduced to us yet, so finding out that he wasn't dead was not a shock nor did it have any impact on me. I wish we'd seen Valeria mourning him, seen his death, something so that we were surprised too. It was definitely just a plot device to get Valeria to lead the expedition, but it could have been done better. I also didn't love Valeria or Alik. I didn't think they had enough depth to them and their romantic relationship didn't click for me. Maybe in the sequel we'll learn more about them and I'll like them more. The ending of this really picked up in action and left me curious about the sequel. I hope we see more of the Bright and Pale gods!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    An atmospheric and exciting fantasy!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    Yet another book that leaves me wondering how it got published. The writing itself isn’t entirely awful, but there is absolutely nothing good about this book. Mediocre heroine. Mediocre plot. Extremely weak world-building. Completely uncompelling romance plot. Dimensionless characters. Confusing magic system (is there even a “system” though? not really). Confusing/unexplained political mess plot line. I got absolutely nothing out of this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel 007

    If you think this is just another Leigh Bardugo -like book, well lemme just say NOPE and.........the ending is so dang good. I NEED BOOK 2. Where is it, Jessica, and why isn't it in my inbox?? Okay, real review time: This novel, which is best read with a hot cup of tea/hot chocolate/coffee in the winter time curled up in a blanket, will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo, Katherine Arden, and Naomi Novik, but for teens. I loved the setting that Jessica envelopes us in and could really feel the cold. If you think this is just another Leigh Bardugo -like book, well lemme just say NOPE and.........the ending is so dang good. I NEED BOOK 2. Where is it, Jessica, and why isn't it in my inbox?? Okay, real review time: This novel, which is best read with a hot cup of tea/hot chocolate/coffee in the winter time curled up in a blanket, will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo, Katherine Arden, and Naomi Novik, but for teens. I loved the setting that Jessica envelopes us in and could really feel the cold. I loved Valeria's strength and her love for her family and friends and how she stopped at nothing to get ish done. Well paced and plotted, I was engrossed in this novel and cannot wait to share it with teens & tween readers (because there's no profanity/sexual intercourse, you can give it to a tween reader :)). 2020, let's go!!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω

    You had me at "Russian folklore" <3 <3 <3 You had me at "Russian folklore" <3 <3 <3

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    The first book in a thrilling new duology, The Bright and the Pale follows Valeria, the sole survivor of a curse that froze her entire village and all of its occupants. Raised by the leader of a guild of thieves alongside her best friend Alik, Valeria is now a thief for the guild. However, when a heist goes wrong, Valeria is devastated to learn that Alik perished. A year later, Valeria finds out that Alik is alive and needs rescuing. Valeria is overjoyed and knows that she will do whatever it tak The first book in a thrilling new duology, The Bright and the Pale follows Valeria, the sole survivor of a curse that froze her entire village and all of its occupants. Raised by the leader of a guild of thieves alongside her best friend Alik, Valeria is now a thief for the guild. However, when a heist goes wrong, Valeria is devastated to learn that Alik perished. A year later, Valeria finds out that Alik is alive and needs rescuing. Valeria is overjoyed and knows that she will do whatever it takes to find him. However, to save him, Valeria is told that she must lead a group of people on a dangerous mission back to her home – a home she swore never to return to. Can Valeria survive this deadly journey and rescue her friend? Valeria is a great protagonist. A victim of prejudice and loss, Valeria is a bit insecure and unsure at the start of the story. She loves her family and Alik, grieves them deeply, and will do anything for them. I admire her determination and grit, as well as her loyalty and fighting spirit. I also love how much she grows throughout the story from unsure to confident, even if she can be a bit stubborn and dramatic at times. I also really liked the setting, which is particularly vivid and descriptive. Cold, haunting, and atmospheric, the imagery and detail immersed me in the story. Valeria’s journey is not easy, and the time in the cursed mountain is particularly scary. Valeria and her fellow travelers encounter things that they are not prepared for, which was scary and harrowing. I did find the pacing a bit unevenly paced, and it took me a few chapters to become invested in the story. A lot of information at the start of the story is a little too much tell and not enough show and feels like an info dump. However, as the story progresses, the pacing evens out, and I could see why so much information was revealed so early on. This is an action-packed story that jumps between thriller and horror. Filled with great twists and turns, dynamic characters, and an immersive setting, the book will appeal to readers of YA fantasy. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Entangled Publishing, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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