Though I usually get disappointed by books, there are some that exceed my expectations.
Beneath the Citadel is one of those books that completely took me by surprise, and in a GOOD way.
(Wow, can you believe I’m saying that?? I love not being disappointed by books.)
I’d first heard about this book vaguely, and put it on my TBR without thinking much of it. But when I heard about “bi boys and plus-sized ace girls”… I KNEW I had to read it. (I’m weak for queer stories okay.) And I’m so glad I ended up requesting this ARC, because I totally fell in love with it, and it’s probably going to end up as one of my most recommended fantasies!
Destiny Soria, publishing October 9, 2018
In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.
In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her—and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city—or themselves.
Thank you to Amulet for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way.
I know I shouldn’t compare this book, or any book, to Six of Crows, because no book is truly like that one, but it just gives me so much of the same vibes and I LOVE IT. There’s a diverse squad of characters that have a lot of banter and they go on heists and make grand escapes, and that’s pretty much the only way it reminds me of SoC, but. STILL.
Anyways, I DEFINITELY would say that Six of Crows fans will love this book (which means that a LOT of people will love this book). The whole story is so enjoyable and engaging, you get easily attached to the characters, and the whole concept is truly unique.
This book surprised me in more ways than one, from the fact that I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, to the EXTREMELY SHOCKING BOOK ENDING (which was so good), and I’m glad I picked it up!
This book is about the city of Eldra, which is ruled by ancient prophecies made long ago by the Elders. The council governs this city, and it’s a lowkey typical fantasy plot in the way that the council is oppressive and only cares for themselves, leaving the citizens poor, hungry, and angry.
The story follows four characters:
- Cassa: orphaned daughter of rebels. lowkey Kaz-like. clever. independent. strong. could probably kill you in your sleep. POC!
- Alys: intelligent. soft yet fierce. prophet. wouldn’t hesitate to call you out if you hurt her loved ones. POC, fat, has anxiety and panic attacks, and is asexual!
- Evander: MY FAVE. jokester. lowkey Jesper-like.silver manipulator determined. jokes so he can’t be afraid, which is a mood. POC and bisexual!
- Newt: PURE. extremely soft. contortionist. broken, but healing (victim of abuse). you couldn’t keep him tied up for anything. gay!
As you can probably tell by my descriptions of them, I LOVED ALL OF THEM. They’re an effortlessly diverse cast, and they’re truly fantastic characters that I easily grew attached to. There was definitely a found family trope here, which is one of my favorites, and the way they’ve grown closer together and stuck by each other’s sides no matter what makes me SO SOFT.
(There was also a slowburn m/m romance that I had NO idea would be in the book and it was so cute and amazing and I loved it!!!)
The thing about this story is that: It was so unique. It had a compelling premise and I genuinely couldn’t put it down. There were so many different twists and turns and I honestly didn’t guess any of them. (Though I’m also really bad at guessing.)
And of course, the ending was absolutely SHOCKING and I loved it. I mean, I even teared up over it (IT WAS 1AM OKAY). I feel like it’s usually risky to write this type of ending, but I think it was pulled off SUPER well and I’m satisfied with how it ended. Even though I’m still in mild shock.
I also loved the fantasy world! It has different types of magic, like prophecies and manipulation of metals, but it wasn’t like… too much?? And the worldbuilding was well-done, because it’s a standalone and I didn’t feel like there was more I needed to know about the world!
The ONE thing that kept me from rating this 5 stars was the pacing. It was… slow. There were some events that were so drawn out that it felt like it took the span of two whole days, when in reality it was just… one night. It wasn’t TOO big of a problem, but while I was reading I could just feel the book moving slowly.
“Every memory, every mistake, every perfect moment. It’s all mine. It’s all me.”
But overall? This book was such an enjoyable, engaging read. I absolutely adored the characters and the shocking twists and the unique storyline, and I’d recommend this book in a heartbeat!
(Also, if you read this book, I totally suggest you read the author’s note! It talked about how today’s teens are expected to fix the mistakes that people generations before made, but how teens DO have the power to fight injustice, and it was so relevant to today and the story and I love the book more for it.)
:: rep :: female MC of color, bi male MC of color, gay MC (abuse survivor), fat asexual female MC with anxiety & panic attacks
:: content warnings :: panic attacks, loss of loved ones, death, murder, torture, abuse, captivity, medical experimentation, grief/trauma (heavy)
do you plan on reading this book? (PLEASE!!) what are the most shocking book endings you’ve read? are there any books that give you SoC vibes? REC ME BOOKS with squads that banter!!