Audiobook Review: These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows #2)

Published July 19, 2022

Author: Lexi Ryan

Narrator: Casey Holloway

Audiobook Length: 13 hours 35 minutes

Brie finds herself caught between two princes and two destinies while the future of the fae realm hangs in the balance.

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not.

These Twisted Bonds (#2)

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

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These Twisted Bonds picks up right where the previous novel, These Hollow Vows left off and wraps up the duology. I had mixed feelings about the first novel and, unfortunately, I continued to have them in this one. Based on the writing, I could easily see some related novel released whether they are novels written from POV of Sebastian or Finn or spin-offs in some way. Similar to the first novel, this one is mainly told from the POV of Abriella (Brie) and tells the story from her side only, which leaves a lot of room to either retell parts of the duology from either suitor or to give some insight into what they were up to when they are away from Brie.

After bonding with Sebastian, Brie, who is now fae, runs away from Sebastian after his betrayal. She runs into the Wild Fae and ends up in the company of the King of the Wild Fae, Misha, who was briefly included in the previous story. I loved Misha’s character as not only was he likable and well-written, but the reader learns a lot more about the fae through him. I loved how Ryan wrote his character as there was a great balance of keeping him a unique character while also “using” him to further expand the world-building. The impending struggle between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts continue as power is up for grabs, which is the driving force of the plot.

Love triangles are rarely done right for me, so I realize that I sometimes go into them with very low expectations. If you enjoyed how Maas wrote the relationships in ACOTAR, this is very similar. For me, the two read the same only I do give Ryan credit as she attempted to add more complexity to the feelings. I enjoyed that there was a lot of grays in Brie’s feelings, so it was not a clearcut flip flop between Sebastian and Finn. There was turmoil and a lot of emotions as each betrayed her somewhat and each captured her heart. My only wish for the romance was that Ryan did not take the easier way out where each suitor goes to the extreme (one becomes the ultimate perfect match and the other becomes toxic). While I can understand this scenario, I felt there was more potential in Ryan’s writing in the first novel where there could have been more layers to this romance and make it incredibly unique in the YA world.

The pacing of the story, for me, felt a little off as the end of this one, and even the end of the first one, felt extremely rushed. There is a lot crammed into the last portion when there was plenty of page room to expand on it. Both novels began slowly and had some slower sections in the middle where they easily could have some pages reassigned to the ending and helped make each novel feel more balance. There are a lot of events in this story with few transitions, so it did read a little disconnected as the writing bounced from one issue to the next. The characters themselves felt similar as they appear and disappear when they were needed, and it did not read naturally.

Overall, there was a lot to love about this story. While it does have some ACOTAR vibes, it is not the fault of the author as Maas just happened to release a likable formula first. The two series do have a lot of differences that make them stand out and Ryan’s concept was amazing. Brie has a lot of traits to like, but I do wish they weren’t repetitive in the writing. When Brie constantly must stress that she is not special, only to be reassured by others that she is, it does become tiresome after, what seems like, the millionth time. The entire cast of characters had a lot of potential and there was room to explore them more, so I do wish that this was a trilogy where the material could have been spread out and given more attention. Ryan’s writing itself was interesting and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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