~ Book Review: Court of the Undying Seasons (ARC) ~

Expected publication May 16, 2023

Author: A.M. Strickland

In becoming a vampire, I’m less than a girl. And more.
Or maybe I’m becoming what I always have been, deep inside.
A blade.

When nineteen-year-old Fin volunteers to take her secret love’s place in their village’s Finding, she is terrified. Those who are chosen at the Finding are whisked away to Castle Courtsheart, a vampire school where human students either succeed and become vampires, fail and spend the rest of their lives as human thralls…or they don’t survive long enough to become either.

Fin is determined to forge a different learn how to kill the undead and get revenge for her mother, who was taken by the vampires years ago. But Courtsheart is as captivating as it is deadly, and Fin is quickly swept up in her new world and its inhabitants – particularly Gavron, her handsome and hostile vampire maker, whose blood is nothing short of intoxicating. As Fin begins to discover new aspects of her own identity and test her newfound powers, she stumbles across a string of murders that may be connected to a larger ritual – one with potentially lethal consequences for vampires and humans alike. Fin must uncover the truth and find the killer before she loses her life…or betrays her own heart.

I enjoyed In the Ravenous Dark a lot, so I was excited to see what the newest novel, Court of the Undying Seasons had to offer. While each novel is a standalone, I loved how the author’s unique gothic style carried through each. This story follows pansexual demigirl Fin who volunteers to take her secret love’s place in the Finding. This is an event where vampires come to a village to pick recruits who will attend a vampire school, Castle Courtsheart, where they either pass and become vampires or fail and become a thrall. Her character is initially driven by survival before expanding into more based on her circumstances. When she arrives at the academy, she is sponsored by the mysterious Gavon, who is a complex morally grey character. Throughout the story the reader not only follows Fin on her journey, but also is introduced to the vampire world and the four great Houses.

The story is full of a lot of diversity and a wide range of personalities with the characters. There are a few characters to track, such as, Kastire, Revar, Marai, Jaen, and Claudia. Some of them are more likeable than others, so I did have my favorites for both the individuals and the relationships between them. Even though I did not care for each character throughout the whole story, they were still well-written and felt like they had a place in the journey. There is a mystery in the novel that adds to the tension with plenty of twists and turns. The pacing is a little slower in the middle as the writing works on establishing the relationships more, but the ending does bring it back to create a good ending. The story is currently a standalone, but there seems to be room to expand this into the series in the future. Overall, this was an enjoyable story filled with vampire lore in a fun academic setting.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Feiwel & Friends, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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