Booktrovert Reader Podcast

Slow Burn Fantasy Romance: Deep Dive into Blood Mercy: Part 1

September 14, 2023 Charity the Booktrovert Reader Season 2 Episode 27
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
Slow Burn Fantasy Romance: Deep Dive into Blood Mercy: Part 1
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript
Hello Readers! In this book podcast episode, I am doing a slow-burn fantasy romance book review of Blood Mercy by Vela with my Bookstagram bestie @bookish_megeen! This book review will be done in two parts! Make sure to be on the lookout for Part 2!

Some of the things we talk about:
✨Talk about the storyline of Blood Mercy by Vela Roth

✨Talk about overall thoughts on story and world-building

✨Thoughts on Cassia being the illegitimate child of the king

✨What do we think of the Hesperines

✨What are our thoughts on Lio character

WARNING: THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!

Bookstagrammer Megan Links Below:
Bookish_Megeen | Instagram, TikTok | Linktree

Check out my full book review on my blog: Blood Mercy Book Review

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Book Review with Bookstagrammer Megan on Blood Mercy by Vela Roth Part 1

 U1 

 0:00 

 1s Hello, readers. This is Charity, your host, a booktrovert reader podcast. I have an episode today to give an exciting book review of Blood Mercy by Vela Roth. I have my favorite bookstagrammer in the world. Bookish McGeen. Megan, we are going to go break down the whole book of Blood Mercy by Vela Roth. As I said, I will venture to say there will be spoiler throughout the whole thing. We're not holding back because there's a lot to talk about in this chunky book. I keep saying chunky book, but it is. So this podcast would be done in two episodes, part one, part two. So definitely after this episode next week, I'll be downloading the next one. So definitely be on the lookout for that because there's so much to say. We have a 

 U2 

 0:47 

 habit of talking a lot, 

 U1 

 0:49 

 so I am very excited. So, Megan, definitely introduce yourself again. Hey. I'm so excited to be back. And you're not joking when you say chunky. I just looked it up. It's 634 pages, this book. And this is. 1s This is an amazing book, so I'm very excited. It's one of my favorites. I've been waiting for a while for you to read, so I'm really, really excited. I'm definitely going to give spoilers. The cool thing about this book that I will say pre spoiler, as soon as I go into the spoilers, I will definitely mention it, is that Bella has guaranteed her readers a happily ever after. Which, for someone like me, 

 U2 

 1:25 

 I love that. Especially because there's so many books right now. There's eight books, multiple novellas, or there's going to be eight books. I can't remember. Is there eight already out? 

 U1 

 1:37 

 I think there's like eight. Yeah. So if I remember correctly, I think what happened was Amazon couldn't print a book that big, so she put it into 

 U2 

 1:48 

 books. 

 U1 

 1:52 

 When I saw that, I thought, oh, it's just different people's story. I'd never seen anything I was like, who names a book part one, 

 U2 

 1:58 

 part two? Yeah. And then when he 

 U1 

 2:01 

 explained that to me, I was like, 

 U2 

 2:02 

 oh, I'd never seen that. 1s Like, she has a love affair with words that I just can't get over. I don't think anyone writes like vella. Like, anyone at all. But I will say that I know that this is a lot to dig into as a new reader. If you need an intro to the world and you don't want to commit to the over 600 pages pages, her novella, I think It's Blood Price is a really good introduction to her writing and the world. Have you read that one yet? 

 U1 

 2:34 

 No, I have not. I got lost with all. 1s The books she wrote. 

 U2 

 2:41 

 Like, I've had to reach out to her multiple times. I'm like, hey, what order are all these exactly? Are they standalones? I've had to reach out just a little bit of history. I joined bookstagram, I don't know, what was 

 U1 

 2:56 

 it? April of last 

 U2 

 2:58 

 year? Yeah. So basically, Vela was my first author her that gave me an Arc, an advanced reader copy. And it was the First Street team that I was on and everything. And it was while she was doing her re releases, because these books have all been out previously. They were just out in a different format. And I don't know if they were in physical form or just e copy. I can't remember I had them on e copy ebook beforehand. I didn't have the physical copy until she started this rerelease, but she was doing like, month. Each month was like a new rerelease with these beautiful covers and maps updated and everything. And I have to tell you, she is one of the sweetest, most supportive authors that I have ever had the pleasure of being on their team. I have a huge soft spot for her. I feel like in her real life, she is a hespring how she is. And I feel like. The way this book talks. Like, if she was able to, that's how she would even talk in real life. 2s She's an angel. 

 U1 

 4:05 

 What I really loved 

 U2 

 4:06 

 about this book is I had a glossary at the back, and that doesn't happen very often. And 

 U1 

 4:10 

 I'm glad because the world building is really intense. You get introduced to a lot of things and it can make 

 U2 

 4:17 

 or break a reader. But the Glossary was there for me to 

 U1 

 4:21 

 refer even to names 

 U2 

 4:22 

 that are side characters 

 U1 

 4:24 

 that was in there. So I was like, oh, yeah, that's the noble. 

 U2 

 4:27 

 For whatever reason, that was thrown in there. 

 U1 

 4:29 

 And that's what I really liked about it. I love that, too, to the point where I'm one of those people that wants to reread a series when a new book comes out. But with these books, that's just not always possible. So it's very easy if you just go to the glossary or if you've forgotten where there's a name or what, you can just go to the Glossary, read it, and it gives you pretty in depth descriptions, like, the more it goes on. So I'm always really impressed by her care. She gets it. This is a high fantasy. Romantic. You know what I mean? It's high. 

 U2 

 5:02 

 Yeah, if you don't like high fantasy and you're not ready for it, 1s it can be a lot. But it's so kind and it's just so beautifully written. And these characters, they're so rich, and you get the time with them that it's. Excellent. I really love the magic building. Okay, I might start going into spoilers now. 4s Just so everyone knows, 

 U1 

 5:30 

 we're not going to warn you anymore. This is your last warning. Turn back now and read the book. So, 

 U2 

 5:35 

 to me, Cassia's superpower is definitely her brain, right? Her strategy. And I really liked that about definitely. She plays chess. Everyone else plays, 1s and and Leo is just the cinnamon roll of my like, I absolutely adore it. He's so patient. He's so kind. I feel like this book is such kind of like a healing book. And when I say that, I mean because it's so. 1s It's so sweet and kind of cozy in a way that 2s you're used to say if you read Dark Romance or you're used to always thinking the worst of characters. 3s I would have anxiety sometimes reading these books, thinking, oh, no. Because I'm so used to a certain way of writing that I'm like, oh, my, you can't trust this person. You can't. And sometimes you can. But I was really surprised that I always have to remind myself, like, Vella promised us a happily ever after. Don't worry. Even if it ends on a cliffhanger, don't worry. 

 U1 

 6:44 

 You know how many books she's got coming? I don't. And I think she's doing that on purpose, I'll be honest with you, because originally I think Blood Gift was at one point slated to be the end, and it is not of their story, and it is not. And she seems to be dodging. Anyone that says that asks basically, when is the last book? And I don't know if that's because these characters in the world has developed that now she had to go even deeper or further in, because I know that in Blood Gift she gives us more spice and a little bit more 1s action than in some of the other ones. And that was, I think, added. So it may have made things longer or may have developed in a certain way. I don't know. That's a good question for like, if we can get her on. 2s That's an excellent question because I know at some point she is going to give other characters books. 

 U2 

 7:46 

 And I know that because there's a lot of characters in some of these books as they go on, you get to know more of the people that we already know and you get introduced to other people. But I've talked a lot. I've got more to say. You're going to have to stop me so you can tell me things because I have even more. Okay, so initial reactions, I would say my first reaction was that the world building is very heavy and very descriptive. A lot of times I would say that would drag me down. But it was told in a way that kept you interested and intrigued. It wasn't like info dump kind of 

 U1 

 8:29 

 version of it. So that's what I really liked about it a lot. There was a lot of setup in the very beginning, but that was a good thing to understand Cassia and where she was coming from. And then, of course, Leo and who he is and their culture. I think that was very intrigued about how do you say the hesperines? Is that how they say 

 U2 

 8:50 

 hesperines? Yeah. Like, hold on. I had to give myself a pause because I almost said it completely wrong. Hesperines. Yeah. I'm always open to me things. 1s Back to what you were talking about. So I agree with you the way that she will even let you know things like, say, for instance, whenever I'm jumping ahead, one of the first times that they actually meet and kind of have a moment, like an embrace moment. And she walks away. She walks away with a sway in her step. It's like the observations through other characters where you see, like, we didn't get to experience that through Cassia's point of view, but we can tell because we know Cassia so well and we can tell by the way that he describes her that she's filling him. You know what I mean? Like stuff like 2s so, anyway, I'm going to stop and get back to the plot. Greens are really interesting in terms of their culture and I can't wait for you to learn more about it because you learn a lot more about it in book two. 

 U1 

 9:55 

 I would not, because I was about to say, hey, let me talk about the ending. And I'm like, no, 

 U2 

 10:00 

 yeah, I know. That was what I was about to do. That's why I was like, okay, I'm going to stop right now and I'm going to go back and look at the outline and we're going to stick to talking about the storyline right now. 

 U1 

 10:13 

 This outline is not just for you. It's for me, too, 

 U2 

 10:17 

 because I was already 

 U1 

 10:19 

 racing to the 3s right. Anyways, so we got this book is a dual point of view. It has Leo and Cassius point of view. And what I've really liked a lot about it is that it showed a lot of Leo's point of view and a lot of times it's chapter after chapter after chapter. So you got to know him very well. It wasn't a fleeting moment. It was like, we got to know him. And I think that's what's really beautiful about these books is that there is such strong character development in this that you understood why Cassia did what she did and why Leo was doing what he was doing. It made me 

 U2 

 10:57 

 have you sigh a lot. I was like, oh, yes, it does. That's the perfect way. Because I am always nervous because you have to like high fantasy. It's beautiful. And even people that don't like high fantasy can like this because, like I said, it's very singular in the way that I feel like she writes. I personally have never experienced a high fantasy or romantic book like this one. And I don't know, I guess enough about the writing style to be able to put it in a specific box. But. 1s It is so fun to read. 1s Don't get me wrong, if you're not prepared for the 600 pages, it can be a lot and can be overwhelming. But that's okay because you can set it down and put it back up and now it's available in audiobook so you can consume it even more because that's just recent. Right now, I think there's three of the books that are out on audiobook, but she's doing them kind of like rapid release, so they're very quickly going to all be out on audio. So let's talk about overall thoughts on the story and mainly the world building aspect of it. I know we touched a little bit about that, 

 U1 

 12:10 

 but what do you think about the world in general that Cassie has said in 

 U2 

 12:15 

 look at all this really quickly about all my notes. 1s I'll sip my tea 2s because I did do a lot of notes about what specifically I like about these characters and I don't remember if I did anything about the world. I will say that the magic system in the world is described really well in such a way that I can take it in quickly with just, like, a couple of sentences. And then when they go more in depth, with it. It's interesting instead of Daunting 3s not to go straight to the ending or anything, but how it kind of comes together in the end because we are experiencing the magic system. 1s At first with Leo because we're introduced at the jump with Leo kind of like seeing Cassia and talking about what's going on. And we kind of get to experience what the blood union is like and everything. And then we also get the perspective of Cassia, which is brand new. Baby doesn't really know a lot about this world. I really liked having both of perspectives. It helped, I feel like, understand it a little bit more because we were getting to experience the magic that he was making or weaving. And then we also got to be Cassia where we were like, Wait, I have questions. 2s So I thought it was really well done. And I think it's a really kind magic system. 3s Okay, so Hesperines are basically vampires. And to take a twist on vampires and make them so empathetic the opposite of what we've been told. Like these dark creatures that dwell and prey and are vicious and heartless and soulless. It's the opposite of what she's done. Which is gorgeous. 3s Yes, because 

 U1 

 14:14 

 you're used to them being bloodthirsty, 

 U2 

 14:17 

 ruthless, morally gray characters. A lot of times that's how they're portrayed in books. But this one they're considered very gentle. They 

 U1 

 14:26 

 abide by rules that are governed 

 U2 

 14:28 

 by their morals and they do not drink blood unless they were given permission. And they don't even drain blood until the person dies. Something that was revealed in the storyline is that they can people into Hespirines as well, but they 

 U1 

 14:45 

 seek permission and only if they're on the brink of dying. So before they give them a choice to say, hey, you can go on to the next life or we can turn you over. So I thought that was very well written in that aspect because I thought that was so creative in that. 

 U2 

 15:03 

 And I have to tell you, part of me wonders 1s where and how did she make this world? Did she start with, oh, I want a twist on vampires, and then just go crazy? Or did she go with the magic system, the world building, the culture? Because I feel like it's so thick. And I know that she said that she's got notebooks and notebooks just full of, like, the lore, which I find really like. I want her to publish those. 4s I really liked it, and I thought it was very interesting very quickly because it's not something that I've seen before. So I really liked the story, the fact that Cassia is so clever, and we get to see her biting her time, playing her hand while doing it, all very 1s cautiously. 

 U1 

 16:00 

 Yeah. Because just to get into it, the next point is that Cassie was actually considered a bastard child of the 1s I. It's not like any physical abuse, but it was definitely emotional and mental abuse that this king did to her. And she literally would be in fear of going to him anytime he calls her into his throne room, whatever the case may be. And you kind of feel that fear and that desperations of her trying to get away. And she sees the hesperines as a way to get out of 

 U2 

 16:32 

 that. Yeah. And also we learn why she so desperately wants to seek out the hesperines with her sister's backstory, which, 2s the way that it starts is we don't exactly know a ton. Right. We don't know why she really wants to seek out these hesperines in such detail. And then we start to learn the other layer of fear that is also with her father. It's not just that, oh, she could do this or that or whatever. It's also she saw what happened to her sister and knows the decisions that her dad made that led to that choice. So it's like a whole other layer of worry. I will say I loved the scene with young Cassia when she finds out about her sister being dead and how the Hesperines don't speak down to her. They basically treat her like just like. 1s Like, with so much kindness. Now, I'm not saying that they speak to her like they would speak to an adult necessarily, but they don't speak down to her. They don't belittle her. They validate her. And they give her that mantra that she repeats in her head. And I can't remember exactly what it was, but when she was down on herself because she was believing what everyone else said, the people around her, her father telling her she's useless, she's all these things, the reminder of like, well, what did your sister like, how did your sister see you? And that's what you need to hold on, just oh, God, it makes me want to tear sweet. Yeah. And I think I don't know where we want to go with the story, but I start basically whenever I start making heavier notes, whenever Cassia has a seat at the table to start making decisions. Because when we first meet Cassia, we're still learning when we first meet Leo, we're still learning about their world and where they are. But then I feel like the story really starts moving whenever Leo decides to help her get a place at the table. Like, he's going to wrong this know, in whatever way he's very I'm going to fix it, you know what I mean? Like, I'm going to fix it. 

 U1 

 18:52 

 Majorly screws up in that way. He's like, how dare you do that? Step into what is happening. Because she's still in fear of what her father will do to her. She's like, how could you step in like that? He's like, oh, I'm just trying to help. The common one lighter from a man. I'm just 

 U2 

 19:13 

 trying to help. Yeah, but I do really love the way that if you listen to Leo's reaction, he did it really well. He apologized. He was the opposite of what she was used to seeing, like, ego over, listening to anything. So I really liked that she was pissed because it was totally in line with her. And I liked that she basically told him, I'm not your pawn. Like, I may be the king's pawn, but I'm not yours. And she is no one's pawn like everyone else is her pawn, really. But I thought it was really intuitive. He watches her a lot. He's very intuitive, impatient. He almost kind of, like, tried to puppet master her and she was like, no. 1s This is not if you're going to do that, we don't fucks with each other. And I just loved that he wants to challenge her, and he still maintains to try to challenge her, to think outside of more than survival and trying to make her thrive. But I like that he was like, I completely see where I messed up and it makes sense. And I love that line where he says, you are way it on necessity and managing, I think, is what he says. I just loved that line. 

 U1 

 20:35 

 Yeah, I think the character development in Cassia was really I really love seeing her development just because of the fact know, she started out with just I'm desperate to get know, I'm just doing what I can to survive and everything. Don't speak out. Don't stand up. Just be small, be quiet. Don't be invited to the king's table. And then through her interactions with Leo, she starts learning that she has a voice, and she started standing up through Leo, she learned to stand up for herself, which translated at the end of the book. Her standing up to her father and things like that, regardless of consequences that she felt that might arise. And I love that development in her because you saw 

 U2 

 21:18 

 it. Yeah, she had a very like, I just want to survive and I'm going to do good as far in the back as I can. And if I just stay small and little, I can do what I can do without anyone taking notice. 1s Like, I think Leo said something about like it was like something about putting tools in her hand to help her dig her way out of the situation she was in and for her to be like a gardener as well. I just like I feel like there's so many different like, we meet Cassia and she's a gardener, which automatically tells you and through knowing certain things, you're like, well, she's nurturing, she's patient, you know what mean. Like you automatically get these supporting subliminal messages when you find out about each of these characters, which is one of the things that I think is so beautifully done because there are a lot of words and it would be really easy, like you said, to Info Dump and she tells a story while not speaking down to her reader. And I really like that. And Knight is the best. 1s I love that there was a dog, 

 U1 

 22:28 

 the dog that's specifically trained to attack Hesprings and they're impossible to kill, but this dog apparently so and it listens only to Cassia and everything. I thought that was an interesting element too, as me, unless it was said in the first book. But it makes me wonder why she was given that dog from the very beginning. Like, what was the reasoning behind it? 

 U2 

 22:53 

 I don't remember. I'm not going to lie to you. Yeah, I don't remember. I don't know if it's just because I feel like it is talked about in the first book, right? 

 U1 

 23:03 

 I think so, but I might have been just going through it and I didn't pick up on the detail. 

 U2 

 23:10 

 Yeah, 

 U1 

 23:11 

 but I felt like the Kinks gave that dog to her for that reason. 

 U2 

 23:17 

 I know that there's a real fear of the Hesperines and everything, so I don't remember. But I do really like how Knight is another character and he struggles between following his instincts to protect her. 1s From even the decisions. He believes that's putting her in jeopardy because there's like that scene where she's going to have to be alone with Leo, who is a hespring, and Knight is really uncomfortable. He's like, no, I don't like like, I have to go with know without saying it in words, obviously, because he is a legion hound. Legion hound. Legion hound. Yeah. I think Leo was like, oh, can I hug her? Yeah. 

 U1 

 24:00 

 Can I be near her? If you look at the dog and like, can I 

 U2 

 24:03 

 do 3s he? Of course. I know that part of it is the cultural aspect that he's been raised in and the magical aspect of this world. But I love how patient he is with Knight and with Cassia and how respectful he will read them. Let the dog that basically can kill him pretty easily, sniff him and get close to him just to be like, hey, no, we're good. She's safe with really, I really like it much. But I will say whenever Cassia does submit herself as a speaker, it's very interesting to see how she copes with how nervous she is about it and 1s the mind and the way that she is like. 2s Processing how she just basically said that she's going to take one moment at a time and that she would like what did it say? She would defeat each moment as it came. And it's probably quoted a little bit differently, but something like that. And I thought that was so beautiful. It's just like a moment at a time. Just taking a moment at a time. And it was such a beautiful way of saying, 2s I really liked that. 

 U1 

 25:21 

 I think that's why, with how Cassia processes and like you said, moment at a time, it's relatable because you're not going to be, oh, I'm unafraid. 2s It takes time to build that trust, that confidence. And even going back to, you know, even Leo had to earn his trust. So it's just like, it took time and took development, and it wasn't like and we'll talk about this in the next part, but I'm like, I'm glad it's not instant. 

 U2 

 25:54 

 So this is a slow burn in a way that you really get to know these characters, and these characters really get to know each other, and you get to see the way that Leo recognizes what she's going through and 1s how little she gives trust to people. So that means even more to him. And it's not so much like a challenge. It's not like, oh, I have to gain her trust, because it's challenging. It's because she's very interesting and I want her to trust me. 1s It's all a very innocent perspective that it comes from. It's not like he's doing this to try to get something from her or even for the reason that he's there, which is to make peace. Like, for the summit. 1s It may start out like, boom, he sees her and he's very interested in her, but had he met her and she not be like the chess player that she is, it would have gone differently. He's definitely patient. There's, like, the virgin trope. They're both virgins in this. And I'm not usually a huge fan of virgin tropes, especially because he's older. 1s He has screen age. I liked it, and it made sense in the way that they described why there are rules and everything, that it made complete sense, and it was just so sweet for them. So sweet for them. It's just a sweet book, too. Yeah. How did you feel about oh, God, what do they call it? The Krona and the 

 U1 

 27:34 

 oh, the way they talked about their genitals. 

 U2 

 27:37 

 Yes. I was like, what is an eloquent way to say that I've already cursed once in this 

 U1 

 27:45 

 explicit. 4s I didn't care. 1s I'm not hung up on the words, to be honest. But I thought it was interesting how she chose to go differently on this one. 

 U2 

 28:00 

 Yeah. Because this is kind of like the way that I would describe this to someone is it is spicy. But for people who have issues with certain words or whatever, it's very clever how she was like, well, I'm going to skirt around that. I'm going to make my own delicate words in a different language that we will use. Because Cassia, being like, the prim, proper Cassia that she is, is not comfortable using the other words. So he's like, Would you here are mine. And you can use them if you want. Which is just another sweet, beautiful thing that Leo does. I love these characters, 1s but yeah, I'm usually not a fan of the virgin trope, but 2s it was a small part of the story, too. Like, you just kind of find out and then very quickly, they're not virgins. You know what I mean? 

 U1 

 28:56 

 Yeah. And I think that's kind of like some books did, the virgin trope. They really make a big deal out of it and all this stuff. And this one is like, I'm a virgin. All right, I'm ready to make this choice with you. Let's do it. And it wasn't a big ordeal. 1s We'll talk into the second part. We have to talk 

 U2 

 29:16 

 about the 2s outline. Outline, outline, outline. 2s Did I ever say anything about thoughts on Cassie being the bastard child? 

 U1 

 29:29 

 Okay. Just kidding. 

 U2 

 29:31 

 The thoughts on Cassia being a bastard child. It's. 1s So wonderful to know how much she was loved and loved and wanted by her mother, you know what I mean? Even though she necessarily didn't get to experience that her sister kept that alive, you know what I mean, and told her that. So I think that having her sister and that memory of her mother really helped her to have some self worth. Think that the King is so horrible and the way that he's so mentally abusive and you only get to see it, you hear about it and then you get to see it in, I think maybe one scene in this book where he basically has where he actually says words like you were nothing. Basically he still treats her shittily. He still treats her badly and still compares her and all this other stuff. But you see one where he is mad at her and basically tells her you have no seat at the table. You are nothing. This is what you're going to do as punishment. And the kind of mental, the bowing and that kind of mental thing and then how she copes with it and her little rebellion that she does internally. I thought it was a very interesting dynamic because we don't really see a ton from the King. We'll see her overhear stuff. But with her and the King, I feel like we don't get a ton, a ton of scenes with just them two together. So I think it was very quickly told how he is to her with those scenes that they did have. And it also, I think, is a very smart way to do it because it was very effective without being super triggering. You know what I thought? I feel like Bella is very kind in the way that she deals with harder topics. Like when Cassia finds out was it her ladies made was basically I don't remember the name of the person, but what happened there and how she was attacked and how he was going to grape her. We'll say grape with the G just in case. Basically how her ladies maid was assaulted, right? And she was very kind about how she brought that up and there wasn't huge details or anything. I think she's very mindful of her trigger warnings, you know what I mean? And her audience, not to say that that's bad if you're not because obviously there are multiple choices. But I do think that Bella tries to go out of her way to write kindly, as kindly as she can, these hard topics. 1s She tries to tread as gently as she can. And I thought that was very interesting because you don't see that. You either see it kind of glossed over completely and that makes you upset and you're triggered for that or you see something that is super detailed and can be really heavy and not. That doesn't have its benefits. There's a time and place for both of those things in terms of being very heavy, in terms of maybe the author doesn't want to go there, doesn't feel like they can do it respectfully. But I feel like Vela is really good at doing hard things gently and it having the impact that it needs to have for the story and the like, I feel like Vela has done it all very as kind as you can do hard topics. And I do think that, like I said, there's a time and place for everyone, express what they need to express and how they need to express it. And as a reader, you get to make those decisions and it's better if you can make those educated decisions. But I do think for those that are out there that want to read this book and don't mind spoilers and are listening to this beforehand, just so you know, I feel like she in my opinion, I feel like she handles them all very gently while still getting the impact that you need in terms of like, this dude is a bad dude, and he needs to be stopped. And Cassie is going to do what she can to make sure she helps this person and that she apologizes for the danger that she's put her in because she would send her out to get soap and do all these things. That was basically putting her friend in danger of possibly getting assaulted every time it was happening. And her friend worked for her and so she didn't feel comfortable because there's that power inequality there, she didn't feel comfortable saying, oh, I can't do that. But I do remember her at one point, I think, mentioning something about a different soap or something, but she was trying to get her out. Yeah. So I love that Cassia saw that and apologized and addressed and that's there's something so healing in that. And in the way that Cassia and Leo just go about this whole story and interact with people, there's really something so healing. And being like him seeing her so well and then also her seeing her surroundings and really I couldn't say enough good things about it. 3s But yes. Back to the hesprings. I've pretty much already told you what I think of the Hesprings. What do you think of the hesprings? 

 U1 

 34:58 

 Just a little background. Hesprings, they can only come into this world every 200 years and it's basically to come into this world to negotiate things like that. So I thought it was very interesting that there's just this small time slot that Cassia felt like this is my only chance. This is the chance in the once in a lifetime situation that we're going to get to see these people. And I love their culture. I think I was more invested in Leo's side to Cassia's side just because I felt like the world of them was. Just very amazing, very immersive, and I want to know more. 

 U2 

 35:41 

 Yeah, you're just going to love the future books, then we're only going to get better and better for you. Then 

 U1 

 35:48 

 I'm like I'm here for it. On his side, it's like, I'm getting that Lord of the Rings Elves. It's just like you want more of it because it's so unique and so beautifully told that I'm just like, okay, Cassie, I'm sorry, but Leo, come. 

 U2 

 36:04 

 And what did you think? I don't know that you actually said it. What did you think of Cassie being the bastard child of the King? 

 U1 

 36:11 

 I felt bad for her because she didn't choose that situation for herself. Because of her position. She wasn't able to take her sister's place as an heir she was looking down upon in the court. I felt really like man felt bad for her in a way that she was trying to wear clothes that didn't draw attention to her. She was trying to get far away as possible because her father was trying to marry her off and get rid of her, and she was trying to think of ways to prevent that from happening. 2s I really felt bad because I know she didn't choose that situation, and she's just trying to do the best she can to create her own life by her 

 U2 

 36:57 

 terms. Yeah. And the King was definitely very controlling and obsessive about even her mom. 2s It's all very quick to be like, Man, Cassia. I can just imagine what that must have felt like. So you automatically are on her side. 

 U1 

 37:18 

 Yeah. And I think even when she tried helping in the kitchens or tried helping in the gardens, even then, even in the servants area, they were still judgmental of her. And that just broke my heart, because 2s the nobles look down on her, the King looks down on her, so we will, too, because you were born into that situation. And I felt like it was so unfair to be treated that way. Those moments was hard because 1s the storytelling of that was just you made it. You can feel her pain and her just trying 

 U2 

 37:55 

 yeah. She's like, I'm just trying to do I'm just trying to help you all. I'm just trying to 1s your prejudices and your beliefs, because everyone just believes so blindly about the Hesperines, just even at the beginning. I completely understand. Yeah, I'm glad you said that, because that's what's interesting about Cassia, is that because she was in that position, she was very open minded to understand who the Hesperines were. And she was probably one of the first humans, the first mortals to actually go to them and start asking questions about who they truly are. Yeah. 

 U1 

 38:32 

 And I thought that was really cool that she was very open. And wanted to learn their culture. What are your thoughts on Leo's character? Because I feel like I have already said a lot there too. Yeah. 1s What can I say? I just like how driven Leo was, just earning her trust. And I think that just can be so beautiful in itself that he wasn't rushing or forcing himself on her. Like how some morally gray characters out today and it just painted a whole different picture on the male point of view character. That what I'm used to reading, if that makes any sense 

 U2 

 39:13 

 at all. No, it makes complete 

 U1 

 39:15 

 know. Like, I would say Court and Miss and Fury is like my top book, I would say. And he's very assertive and very forceful and I wouldn't say forceful, but he's a different character. Yeah. Dominant. Leo wasn't. 

 U2 

 39:30 

 He 

 U1 

 39:31 

 understood really quickly that Cassie didn't trust very much and didn't very well. And there's a story behind it. And he's like, all right, I'm willing to do the work, to do it, to be kind to her, to earn her trust, to do nice things for her, things that normally other people wouldn't do. 

 U2 

 39:49 

 Yeah. And what I liked is he wasn't doing it because he's like, oh, yeah, I want to be able to drink her blood and have sex with her. It was because she was in pain and he could recognize all these beautiful aspects about her and how she deserved better and it just kind of became more and more from there. Yeah, I really liked that as well. And I do think that what you said is interesting because yes, 1s one of the reasons I think that this book is like no other isn't just the writing style, but also the fact that he's a different kind of cinnamon roll. He unpacks her, you know what I'm saying? He put that time and effort in and reads her social cues and obviously he's able to tell how she's kind of feeling in terms of distrust and because of his gifts that he has. But 3s it's not submissive, it's not dominant. It's equal. 2s We are equals in this. And that, I think, is really beautiful. 

 U1 

 41:03 

 Yeah. And I think there wasn't much instant lust. I call it instant lust. But I think the first thing that drew him to her was that he instantly can pick up her scent. And it's a very unique scent to him. I know that it kind of gets into the book as to why maybe that is the case, but we are not going to talk about that because that's the end of part one. 

 U2 

 41:29 

 Okay. Yay. 1s We'll stop it here then. 

 U1 

 41:35 

 So readers definitely be looking out for part two of this book review that I'm doing with Megan. It's going to be launching next week. So definitely if you haven't read the second half of the book, I know we were all over the place, but we're going to talk a lot more, like more of the magic system, the family dynamic and the feast. 

 U2 

 41:56 

 Yeah. More of the plot that also kind of happened. 

 U1 

 42:00 

 What makes this more of, like, a fantasy romance and what makes this more of the behind the scenes of the king and who he really is. So, yeah, definitely be looking out for that episode. Join us 

 U2 

 42:10 

 next time. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having me. 1s Bye. 



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