Becoming paranormal queen will be a trial by fire…
I’ve found the elemental throne. Beat the Pack and Deathless at their own deadly game. Embraced my destiny as a paranormal queen.
That should have been the end of it, right?
Wrong. So, so wrong.
I’ve barely sat down on my cold new throne before I discover another plot to overthrow my rightful place and threaten the Outcasts. To prove myself (again) I’ll have to survive an ancient trial through the Dying Lands—a lost paranormal world hidden amongst ours, filled to the brim with magic and dangerous secrets.
Worse, Jasper is one of my opponents, forced to compete for the Deathless under the blood oath neither of us can break.
It’s official: fate hates me.
Along with my traitorous former-best friend, I’ll take on the trial to prove I’m the real deal, and not even a growing evil in the Dying Lands will stop me. Danger or not, heartbreak or not, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Jasper and the Outcasts safe.
Even if it means giving up the things I love most.
What does betrayal—true betrayal—feel like? To me, it was worse than dying. And I should know.
Riley’s death was nothing more than a lie. A cruel game of fate for her to take her place as the last Outcast and fulfill the prophecy by finding the throne and becoming the Paranormal Queen… I wish it had been that “easy”, but fate seems to have quite a few things prepared for Riley.
I hadn’t signed up for this. Technically I hadn’t signed up for anything, but the universe didn’t care.
Finding the throne only activated the next part of the prophecy, forcing Riley to participate in a trial between 4 champions, to find the true Paranormal King/Queen.
“I finished the prophecy, but it’s like every step forward they add a new rule to screw me over.”
The 4 competitors correspond to one per group. The Outcast champion is clearly Riley, while the Pack champion is Lukas.
The champion of the Horde is a ghoul named Rasesh.
“I…” I shouldn’t admit this, not to one of the other champions of all people, but something about Rasesh’s flagrant honesty made it impossible for me to hide my own. “I’d be a terrible ruler.”
Rasesh raised a bloated finger as though lecturing me. “And it isss that belief, the belief of someone who rejects power given to them, who understandsss its ability to change who they are into someone they are not, that makes a great ruler.”
And, how could it be otherwise, the champion of the Deathless is Jasper, forced to obey by his Blood Oath.
“… And yes, I’m scared.” He stood suddenly, his frame seeming to swell with anger. “But you should be too.”
“Of what?” I said softly. “What should I be afraid of?”
Jasper’s eyes were an angry red, the likes of which I’d never seen. His voice was deadly serious. “Me. You should be afraid of me.”
Obviously, this is not enough for Mr. Fate and Riley learns that her life was as much a lie as her death. After Iris’s betrayal, she decides to help her in the Trials, but Riley has no intention of forgiving her. And the thing is… she literally stabbed her in the back 🤷♀️.
We walked in silence for a minute. Iris sucked in a deep breath. “You have to understand, Riley, what I did, deceiving you, attacking you, it nearly killed me.”
I spund around, and this time I was as honest as Iris believed me to be, my anger on full display, hands spitting sparks that had her backing up, terrified. “That’s funny, because it did kill me…”
Let’s see, first things first. The first book surprised me in such a way that I really thought I was ready for anything in this one, but nope. Sean turned my whole planet in the first few chapters.
“You are stronger. You’re one of the strongest people I know. But even strong people can’t stop every bad thing from happening.”
At least he had heart and the trials include a rule of not intervening with the other competitors (not that they respect it, but 🤷♀️) that saved me from expecting that Jasper would be forced to stab Riley at any moment (I am still sure that Valencia will use the oath for this at some point and I will die 😂).
One very interesting thing about this story… is that apparently NOBODY stays dead !!! 🤣 (I know I’m wrong and someone is going to die later, and I will regret saying that).
“Best of luck, Riley Jameson, champion of the Outcast. May your journey be devoid of danger and your trial’s end, should it come prematurely, be swift and painless.”
What a pleasantly nice way to say he hoped I wouldn’t die. I’d have to remember that.
Now I need to make a mega confession: I’m in love with Jasper like my friends once loved Edward Cullen (cough cough Team Jacob cough cough), but yeah, it’s the first time in millennia that I’ve ever loved vampires again (or maybe the first once at all 🤔). Besides, in this book we can learn a little more about his past.
The top of the stairs creaked. My head snapped up.
Speak of the vampire…
Jasper stood there, peering down at me. Totally shirtless.
My mind temporarily turned as useful as whipped cream, my fuming anger and doubts replaced with rippling muscles.
“Riley.” He moved down to me and I might have let out a little sigh as the moonlight flashed over his chest.
I wasn’t pinning, I wasn’t pining…
Jasper wrapped an arm around me, a concerned look on his face. “You all right?” he asked in a gravelly voice that sent a thrill up my spine.
Okay, I was pining a little.
Outside of my absolute fangirling, Riley is also an amazing character, super strong, she never gives up (even if she wants to), and she’s mega sarcastic.
“Sure. Some big city opened up a ways from here and now all the rumors say there’s some throne up for grabs.” His eyes narrowed. “Say… you aren’t one of those looking, are ya? That’d be strange, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t expect a…”
If he said “girl” then he’d find my fist flying toward his unfortunate mug before I could say “misogynist.”
“…teenager trying to be ruler, or whatever it is they’re going after.”
I lowered my arm, His face could be punch free another day.
The story had already bought me because I fell in love with the first book, and the fact that it was a kind of competition only made me more interested. At least I can say that it lived up to my expectations (HIGH 😅). The tests are interesting, emotional and with high doses of magic and fantasy. This story really has everything from romance, friendship, philosophy (?), magic, action, a change of villain(?), to fantastic creatures, even fashion. All while constantly passing between the Dying Lands and the human world, while trying not to die. 😂
I’m dying to read the next part and continue enjoying this story, especially to continue getting to know the Outcast.
We’ve got your back, “Sienna said confidently. She flicked her thumb to light a stick of incense she’d pulled from her pocket and stuck it behind her ear. “And you know Jasper won’t let a single one of them get near you.” She waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Leon grunted. “Forget Jasper, I’ll rip them in half if they try anything. Some of those Deathless have been alive so long they think the world revolves around them. It’d be my pleasure to remind them that even the undead can still die.
I let out a small sigh of relief. This was what I needed. Friends who’d always cover my back. Not stab me in it.
PS: Minute of silence for Jasper’s custom motorcycle…
PS2: I will add these quotes here because they did not fit in my post, but they are too good not to add them 😬.
My first question to that should have been “Who, what and why?” but instead I said, “Great” and kept walking.
I know, I know.
Communication while I’m upset isn’t my strongest suit.
“You aren’t getting any help from me, so don’t ask,” he said.
I pinched my fingers together. “Just a smidge,” I said in my most feminine, simpering voice that I assumed every man was at least somewhat susceptible to.
The man’s scowl deepened.
Great. Either this guy was totally immune to charms of any kind, or I had absolutely zero feminine wiles. Both were possibilities.
He tapped the tips of his ears. “Not many of us elves around anymore.”
I balked. “Did you say elf?”
“I did! Not Fae, not gnome, and before you ask, no, I am terrible at archery. Not all of us are like they show in the movies.”
Bye bye 💕