Review | Brave
Spoiler Free Review
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 stars
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Length: 362 pages.
Trigger Warnings: coercion, manipulation, mentions of abuse and rape, suicidal thoughts, violence.
(Book #3 in A Wicked Trilogy)
Ivy Morgan hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.
It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine… and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.
Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart.
If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies.
Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves–and, ultimately, to save herself.
Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen….
As the last book of the series, Brave proved to be good enough, but I expected a lot more. I am a huge Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, and I don’t know why I didn’t read this sooner. Now that I have, I wish I had read it when it first came out because maybe I would’ve enjoyed it more. This is not a bad story, but, from my perspective, it lacked plot development.
From the very beginning, I was very intrigued and surprised by what Jennifer L. Armentrout created here. Her depiction of the Fae was definitely original and introduced elements that, to my understanding, are completely new to this type of creature. However, as a final book, there was a definitive lack of information. Overall, I wanted to know more of the shared history of The Order and the Fae–not only about their rivalry–, more background information on their powers, and explanations on how the Royals from each Court could be defeated. The latter is, without a doubt, one of the things that I craved for the most. I don’t think that the plan to defeat the enemy was coherent enough and the semantics behind it were never actually explained, which means that they proved to be irrelevant at the end.
I found myself nodding again, because he was right. We couldn’t change what we did or didn’t do. “We can only change what we’re going to do.”
On another note, I do think that the twists were very good throughout this book. There were things that I saw coming from a mile away, but others definitely surprised me and caught me off guard. I really liked the way that the main enemy was revealed as well. I did suspect it since it was first mentioned, but it happened in a way that I believed to be very original. Likewise, the Prince’s journey in this novel was very interesting, and I enjoyed his character development. However, I do think it was annoying how everyone reacted (except for Ren) regarding his relationship with Ivy. I don’t want to be too specific in case you haven’t read the book, but I just think that almost everyone was disregarding her feelings towards the situation.
Despite all the positives, the ending was weak because it was anticlimactic. The battle scene was amazing and kept me on the edge of my seat, and the buildup to that was also incredibly done. But, the actual finale, the very last part of the battle… It was confusing AF. I honestly thought that Jennifer L. Armentrout decided to not give it a happy ending, which I was completely ready for if that had been the case, but then she did (it wasn’t really a HEA, but it wasn’t bad either). Though, considering how much everyone worried about how they were going to defeat the Winter Court, they got the easy way out. A little more sacrifice would have been nice.
I think I’ve said enough times already that I love Ivy. I think she is a great main character. I love her determination, strength, loyalty, and literally everything else about her. She has the potential of being the annoying type of hero, but I don’t think that it ever reaches that point. One thing that I would’ve wanted to see more of was her trauma. The events in Torn were so horrible and important in her story that I was intrigued to see how much it would affect her as the story progressed. Although this was very relevant in the first part of the book, I think that it was overcome a little too fast. It’s not that I wanted her to suffer more or anything like that, and it’s not that it was never mentioned again because it was. What I mean is that there was a significant change in her attitude that doesn’t go in tandem to how she felt at first.
Each time I got knocked down, it was harder to get back up. But I did. I kept getting back up.
Ren was also a great character, and his relationship with Ivy was beautiful. I mean, has Jennifer L. Armentrout ever written a male love interest that we didn’t swoon over? I think that would be almost impossible. One of the things that I liked the most about him in this book was his unconditional support, without disregarding what he went through as well. Ivy definitely struggled more, but that shouldn’t invalidate his feelings, and they never were. I perceived their relationship as very healthy and egalitarian, which I think is a great example. It’s very easy to steer towards toxic behaviors when writing such angsty plots, but everything between them was always balanced and clear. Still, like any other couple they fought and had moments of miscommunication, but the important thing is that they were resolved maturely. Their dynamic was very give and take and they constantly supported and reassured each other when times were tough.
I do have to point out that this is a steamy book. I didn’t really mind it, but I did think it was a little annoying how they always tried to comfort each other with sex. It was a little unnecessary in my opinion.
I’ve said a thousand times before, and I’ll probably say it a thousand times again, that one of the things I love the most about Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing is how simple it is. I don’t like purple prose and writing with loads of unnecessary vocabulary used for the sole purpose of making it look more sophisticated. Jennifer writes in a way that makes everything easy to read and understand. Her writing flows so well that her books are always quick reads. If I had to point out something about this series that I didn’t enjoy as much, it would definitely be the pop culture references. Just like anybody else, I like some cheeky reference every now and then from a popular movie, show or book. But, because one of the characters is so invested in so many different fandoms, the references were endless. At times they were a little tiresome, but definitely not a big deal in the larger scheme of things. This all comes from a personal preference and it didn’t even affect my overall rating of the book.
“This sounds like a really bad fantasy novel,” Ren muttered, and I blinked slowly.
Overall, it is a good book and a good conclusion to this series. I did expect more from the ending, but at least it wrapped up everything in a very nice way. I definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of urban fantasy, strong and funny characters, and action-packed romance.