Book Review : The Serpent and the Wings of Night

Book Review : The Serpent and the Wings of NightThe Serpent & the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent
Published by Tor Publishing Group on December 5th 2023
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 480
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three-stars

The Hunger Games meets vampires in this heart-wrenching, epic fantasy romance of dark magic, and bloodthirsty intrigue from bestselling author Carissa Broadbent.
For humans and vampires, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.
The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.
But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.
Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown... and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.
But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.

I’ve been hearing about The Serpent and the Wings of Night for what feels like ages, so I finally decided to give it a try, as I really needed a pick-me-up/fun read. To my surprise, I really had a lot of trouble getting into this book and even started and finished two other books before coming back to this one and completing it. Despite the pause in between, I still felt motivated enough to finish the novel largely because of the hype surrounding it and because I felt it still had promise.

 

I think my main struggle with The Serpent and Wings of Night was that the novel turned into a battle royale so soon. I felt like I barely knew anything about the characters or the world at large, and the narrator, Oraya, was already fighting for her life and for a new future she wanted for what I felt were rather obviously weak reasons. I think I might have been more invested if I had had more time to get to know Oraya, her vampire father, Vincent, and what their daily life was like as vampire king and his only (and very much human), daughter. Also, clearer explanations about the vampire clans and world-building from the geto-go would have been helpful. 

 

“‘But you are still human,’ he said quietly. ‘And that means that in here, you are prey. You’ll always be prey. No matter how good you are with those fancy weapons.’”

 

I’m just not a very big fan of reading fight scenes, as I find them boring and hard to picture, so I think Oraya being thrust into battle after battle meant I personally didn’t find the novel very engaging at first, especially because I wasn’t very invested in the characters due to having very little time to get to know them. Plus, even after reading the entire novel, I still don’t really understand how any human could ever fight on par with a vampire, let alone as successfully as Oraya. It didn’t help that we never really saw any of Oraya’s training with her father. It seems like the only thing giving her an edge was her privilege as the daughter of the current most feared vampire king.

 

However, as the novel progresses, Oraya becomes much more fleshed out of character, thankfully. Readers eventually get to see past the cold and collected facade she portrays in order to survive as the only human daughter of a vampire in a world where humans are considered livestock. Through her reluctant alliance and friendship with vampire best friends Raihan and Mische, Oraya even seems to gain more humanity, which is a dynamic I found really interesting. (Though admittedly, I found Mische’s character and backstory even more interesting than any of the other characters, including Oraya’s. I would love to read a book about her!). I found Oraya’s unhealthy and consuming relationship with her father less interesting, as I knew it couldn’t possibly be headed anywhere remotely good. 

 

“The king did not know then that his greatest love would also be his ruination—nor that either would come in the form of a tiny, helpless human child.”

 

The male lead Raihan is also pretty likable, with just enough mystery surrounding him to seem dangerous, while still being plenty “not like the other vampires.” Though I personally didn’t find him to be quite as dreamy as some other male leads I’ve encountered, he still had some really touching moments with Oraya and I even became emotional at one of his lines (fictional men written by women hit differently, okay?) And I think he will tickle many readers’ fancies. 

 

Though there is a reveal at the very end of the novel, I saw it coming and wasn’t surprised by it, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing—it meant that the foundation for the reveal was well laid. And as other things didn’t quite play out how I thought they would, I found it to be a rather satisfying conclusion with a solid setup for the next entry in the series. The Serpent and the Wings of Night ended on somewhat of a resolved cliffhanger, so I’m interested enough to read the next book in the series. However, I wouldn’t really be devastated if I never knew what happened in the next books either.

 

“She had been taught relentlessly to view the beings that surrounded her as deadly monsters. It was only as she grew older that she began to view them as dangerous not for all the ways they were monstrous, but for all the ways they were not.”

 

The Serpent and the Wings of Night is certainly a fun read, but I didn’t feel as if there was anything groundbreaking or new portrayed in this novel—it sticks to familiar tropes and does them well enough. With its enemies-to-lovers romance (which in my opinion, the execution isn’t as strong as those in other novels I’ve read, like The Jasad Heir, The Blighted Stars, or Empire of Sand, just to name a few), tough-as-nails female heroine who actually has a heart of gold (though she isn’t quite as compelling or likable as any of Maas’s heroines, in my opinion), and vampire versus human conflict, it just doesn’t feel very unique. But there’s still enough to enjoy here, especially for fans of Fourth Wing, Sarah J. Maas, and Elise Kova’s Married to Magic series or for anyone who is still really into the whole vampire thing.

 

three-stars
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Book Review : The Serpent and the Wings of Night - Blogging with Dragons

Posted September 29, 2023 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance

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5 responses to “Book Review : The Serpent and the Wings of Night

  1. Great review! I have mixed feelings on reading this. I want to read it but there are some things I’ve heard about it that would probably affect my enjoyment of it. I’m not a big fan of battle scenes either. And I really love in depth character development and fleshed out world building.

    • Thank you! I’m the same way, even after reading the whole book. I did enjoy it and I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t my favorite. I definitely don’t think the world building is the book’s strong suit. It is more of a romance with fantasy as a backdrop setting. I also didn’t really *love* any of the characters. So I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for or in the mood for. If you end up reading it, let me know what you think!

  2. I gotta admit that it was kind of nice to read a review that wasn’t an absolute RAVE of this book? I’ve been seeing it nonstop on bookstagram and while it seems fun, it also seems like a carbon copy of so many other romantasies out there? So this was refreshing to read. Still confirming it was fun, but also not praising it endlessly haha!

    • I’m so glad it was refreshing to read–I felt like the only person not raving about it. ? I did see some more negative takes on the sequel, so I’m curious about the follow up!

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