Cover Image: Bright Raven Skies

Bright Raven Skies

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Member Reviews

I picked this trilogy finale up in the evening and couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. It was such an engaging read, pitting characters against one another in their desperate desire for peace/to be right/to define their own lives.

It's hard to say much about this book without spoilers for it and the trilogy, but I loved that the war between the countries and who was manipulating it behind the scenes remained the focus, and that the retelling of the star-crossed lovers was more a complication and emotional strain on top that was causing all sorts of characters to react and make the situation much worse.

I was crying by the end. As expected, Kristina Pérez absolutely ran my heart through a wrangle with this book. Ruan, Tristan, Esuelt. This book took so many turns I wasn't expecting, forcing Branwen to make more brutal choices to save her home.

I loved the way that the ending for Tristan and Esuelt was handled. It's a tale of star-crossed lovers, so naturally it won't end well. However, as the toxic relationships started to break down and the characters healed, I wasn't sure how the ending would go. Then I hit the final act and IT WAS AMAZING. Esuelt's choices in that last act was brilliant, as was the way Tristan and Branwen finished their relationship arc. It was bittersweet and hopeful all at once - perfect for the tone of the story.

Her growth with her relationships was so brilliant. She has five major relationships in the book - Tristan, Eseult, Ruan, Marc, and Andred. With the exception of her relationship with Marc, they're all so humanly messy and complex. In contrast, Marc and Branwen are a brilliant brother/sister pair, and it was a nice ray of hope among the brokenness. Not to mention brilliant to see a man and a woman able to be really supportive loving friends without any hint of romance.

I'm rather sad that this trilogy has come to an end, definitely a favourite of mine, but it means I can look forwards to something new from Kristina Pérez soon - hopefully.
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What a fantastic conclusion. This was an open ended type of conclusion which I really enjoy when done well. Not everything in life is so neat that it fits in a box. This book does have an ending but you can decide for yourself where it goes from there. Kristina Perez has left me an emotional wreck through this trilogy and while this third book had some cry worthy moments I did not cry this time. I was kind of glad it was not punch in the gut wrenching this time. I was able to absorb my feelings quicker than the other two books. If you enjoy the unexpected and want a book that has intrigue, character development, twists and turns, action and magic then you need to read this series.
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I loved this third installment just as much as the first two – the same wonderfully complex characters, unashamed bodily autonomy and determination that make the series such a treat dominate Bright Raven Skies as well. It is thrilling, fast-paced and will keep the reader enthralled from start to finish. Full of twists that you don’t see coming, Branwen will have to choose between her light and dark sides once and for all in this satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
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Lasting Impressions

The plot and the pacing of this book totally blew me away. Things I expected to happen in the third act happened in the first, leaving me completely clueless as to what would happen in the rest of the book. It was exhilarating! I couldn't wait to see what would happen next! This entire fantasy is built upon a plot that is mostly character-driven, and this book wasn't a change from that. But I did feel it was a lot more fast-paced than the previous two books, and I really liked that.

I have loved seeing Branwen's journey throughout this entire series. I kept remembering how she was at the beginning, and seeing her power, her wisdom, and her strength in this book was fantastic. I loved how the overall themes of the series came together at the end—it was beautiful. Each character in this book is so complex, and I loved that there were times where I completely despised a character and other times I really loved them.

As always, the world building is fantastic, and the magic system is so intriguing. In this book, the magic is further expanded on as Branwen learns more about what she can do. The world also expands as more characters are introduced and more places are explored.

This was such a satisfying ending to a great series. The ending was no what I was expecting, but it was beautiful and touching.

Quick Thoughts
-The descriptions are so lovely to read—that's definitely one of Perez's strengths in her writing.
-Andred will always have my heart!

Overall Feelings

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to finish this series. I've never read a retelling of Tristan and Iseult quite as complex and interesting as this one. I look forward to what Kristina Perez will write next!
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This book was amazing, and the stakes were high. I wanted to know where Tristan and Eseult were, and I was fully invested in what would happen next. Additionally, I loved how it focused on politics while also diving into character. I mean, this book had all of the characters fully flushed out and developed. It didn't matter how minor they were. Moreover, I liked Branwen's character arc. While she started out as naive in Sweet Black Waves, she changed and learned how to adapt. Overall, I loved this book, and it was a great end to such a emotionally enticing series. I gave this book a 5 out of 5 starts on Goodreads, and I would highly recommend this book series!
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This series is so hard for me to rate! On one hand I LOVE the story, the storytelling, the writing, the world building, the political intrigue and the magic! On the other hand, Branwen, our MC, is REALLY hard to like for me. 
Branwen makes these scheming decisions (especially in Bright Raven Skies) that sort of backfire on her. She is fiercely loyal, even after everything that has happened to her. She has changed in Bright Raven Skies. She is a part of a lot more political intrigue and has a few more hard decisions to make (some, I definitely don’t agree with!). She has however, come into her own with her magic! That part of her is super cool! 
Essy is still annoying. 
Poor Tristian. Yes, I still feel bad for him. 
This third installment will give you some major feels! Get ready to feel all the emotions!
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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Following the ambush of the Kernyv Castle by the Amorican's, Branwen is struggling to come to terms with her new found magic, and her looming deadline to kill before a year is out, or forfeit the souls of those she loves. Also, her cousin, True Queen Eseult, and Prince Tristan, are missing, presumed abducted, but both she and her lover, Prince Ruan, know the truth. Branwen has so many different trials and tribulations to overcome, and there are powers looming - both mortal and godly - out to stop her.

From the moment I started this book, I was hooked, but so much happened. I was expecting to have it finished in a day or so, but because of how much Kristina packed into the story, it took a little longer. Bright Raven Skies is split into 3 different parts, and each one felt like their own book. Finding and recovering both Eseult and Tristan, and protecting them from the calls of treason and adultery, took a large role in part one, with Branwen being torn over protecting her cousin - who she thought had planned to kill her - or letting her be torn apart by the powers that be in court. Everything Branwen did or was about, in all three books, was to protect the peace that had appeared between Iveriu and Kernyv, and later with the Amoricans, so she couldn't let Eseult be labelled an adulterer, even if it was true. Then we get to an even greater plot within the Kernyv royal court, with politics and intrigue being the name of the game, and I loved part 2 the most. This part was so engaging, and though it was about half of the book, it felt like it was over in a flash. A lot happened, though, some of which I wasn't too pleased about, but I simply loved it. The final part of the book was so heartbreaking, with Branwen breaking herself apart to fight the dark magic, and all the various plot lines and twists finally drawing together to a nice, neat ending, with everything tied up, and nothing left to chance.

Branwen will always be my favourite character, and this book cemented this even more. I felt for her so much with how she suffered throughout the book, in numerous different ways, but she showed how strong and brave she was, again and again. Also, I loved Ruan still, and though I wasn't overly keen with how his character arc turned out, it wasn't out of character, not really, and him and Branwen had happy moments together. Eseult, even, redeemed herself somewhat in this book, especially by the end, but her actions in previous books mean I can't completely forgive her. Same with Tristan, but again, his character arc came full circle. Like I said, this book completely tied up everything, and it was the perfect ending to the series anyone could've asked for. A fantastic retelling of the Tristan and Isolde myth!
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"Bright Raven Skies led me back to you."

Bright Raven Skies is nothing short of amazing and tragic. It was filled and brimming with emotions. Branwen is a rare gem and I put her up there with characters like Vasya from The Winternight trilogy. Quiet, strong, determined and loyal. Her journey was never an easy one and at times I was just over it and frustrated. I just wanted her to stop thinking about the rest of the world, the kingdom, peace and think of herself. I was happy that she did find some joy and comfort in Ruan, but I have never wished or wanted so badly for a true happily ever after in a story than this one.

Like the first two books, the magic and world building is incredible. You can tell the world is inspired by medieval Ireland, Cornwall and I think Armorica is Roman? This world is beautifully descriptive, atmospheric and melancholy. Magic is dangerous and finicky and that's exactly what I got in this series. It requires understanding, connection and balance. As the series progressed, I have come to understand the magic of the Lands, and Branwen's lack of understanding and abuse has imposed some serious dangers and consequences. Throughout, Branwen's despair, pain, and frustration were palpable. I couldn't help but wonder if she would come out of this broken or intact. Also, what an amazing cast of characters and the turn of the events that happened, it kept me on the edge of my seat and page turning. I even loved Branwen's relationship with Princess Alba. I thought the story wrapped up Essy, Tristan, King Marc and Ruan's storylines well  enough and the future of the 3 kingdoms seem hopeful.

But can I be honest and say that when Branwen travels to Armorica, and the event that unfolded broke my heart! Like it can never be pieced or stitched together. I didn't like it and yes I'm throwing an Essy fit. I guess the conclusion is befitting for a tragic story, but I just can't accept it and as reader I can always use a little imagination and dream of what could have been.

The Sweet Black Waves trilogy is a beautiful lush world, a tragic love story with magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness. I highly recommend in to those that love historical fantasy and tragic love stories. Movies such as The Titanic, Atonement and throw in some Shakespeare flair.

"Odai eti ama" I hate and I love.

Thank you Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, author Kristina Perez and Netgalley for the e-ARC to read and review.
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Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me a copy to review. 

Sweet Black Waves is my favorite underrated YA fantasy trilogy. I wish more people read and talked about it. I loved the first two books and was eagerly awaiting the conclusion, especially after the dramatic ending of book two! 

2 reasons this book was not a five star read:
-There was A LOT of dialog in the first section of the book, not much actually happened. I also found myself less interested in the story because of all the names of people and places we were being introduced to. As a series finale I assumed there would be less of that, since we are already familiar with the world and its characters.
-I was very disappointed by the ending, it was not what I expected and left me wanting

I've rarely read a character with Branwen's quiet strength and determination. She will forever be one of my favorites, a character I will always be comparing others too. One thing I've loved from the very beginning of this series is the world building. It's always been astonishing. The detail, the intelligence, the beauty of it is unparalleled.
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Bright Raven Skies is a beautiful and heartbreaking ending for an enthralling series that will stay with me for years to come. To see Branwen’s journey over these last 3 books was such an emotional roller coaster.
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After I finished reading Bright Raven Skies, I had to step back. Take some time to really process my thoughts. This series is special to me, Branwen as a character is special to me. I knew going into the final book that my feelings toward it would be complex, because endings are almost always so bittersweet.

At first, I was just sort of in shock at the end. Not the pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor-omg-what-was-that-ending kind of shock I'm used to though. More of a, "Wow, that did not go how I expected," kind of shock. When I finally finished the book, I was so torn by what all my expectations had been and how everything actually turned out. But at the same time, the ending felt so right. And once I came to that realization, everything else, all my other feelings about this book clicked into place.

Branwen. I've rarely read a character with Branwen's quiet strength and determination. She will forever be one of my favorites, a character I will always be comparing others too. This series is wholly her story, and this ending was the ending she deserved. If everything else about Bright Raven Skies had somehow let me down, the one thing I knew I needed from this book was the right ending for Branwen, and that's exactly what I got. The last few pages were so emotional, I was so sad at the prospect of not getting more of her story, but it was okay because she got such a fitting ending that there was no need for more story. Like having a close friend move far away, you know they aren't gone forever and you can visit, but it's still so bittersweet. Branwen feels like that kind of friend, and I know I'll revisit these stories just to see her again.

I was truly surprised by some of the other characters. I won't give details because I can't risk spoiling this book for anyone, but at first I didn't agree with where some of the characters went in this book. One in particular stands out still. But over the last month, while I've let this book simmer in the back of my mind, I couldn't help but come to realize that the characters, every single one of them, acted in ways that made perfect sense for them individually. They all stayed true to themselves, and their decisions and actions aligned with that. So what I at first viewed as a flaw in the book, I now see as a testament to Pérez's writing, to just how well she knows her own characters and how willing she is to let them go in the directions they need to.

The story of Bright Raven Skies did not go in the directions I thought it would. At first, I was definitely worried by that. But I shouldn't have been. I've mentioned my love of a slow burn story many times, and that's exactly what I got with this book. The story started out slow and calm, especially compared to the ending of the last book. And it only went up from there. Each page and chapter built on the last, through to the very end. It was actually nice to have a bit of calm like that before the end, it gave me a chance to say goodbye to a story I love so much and have been so invested in, before finishing it off with a stunning climax and a beautiful conclusion.

One thing I've loved from the very beginning of this series is the world building. It's always been astonishing. The detail, the intelligence, the beauty of it is unparalleled. Bright Raven Skies only added on to something that was already great. It built upon a solid foundation, adding even more beauty to an already stunning structure. Nothing felt out of place, nothing felt rushed. The world that Pérez has created with this series is so beautiful, it's sad to think about how, with the series ending, we may never see more of it.

As I'm sitting here, reading over this review and thinking more about this book, I almost want to laugh. I originally wasn't sure how high I was going to rate this book, I needed time to process what I'd read. But obviously, I loved Bright Raven Skies. It was the right ending for Branwen, the right ending for her story and for the stories of those surrounding her. Pérez has a style of writing that is simply magical. The thought and love she's put into this story is right there on the page, obvious to anyone who reads it. The Sweet Black Waves trilogy is one I've loved from the beginning, and I know that I'll revisit it over and over in the years to come.

This review will go live on NovelKnight on 7/24/20.
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What a great story. BRIGHT RAVEN SKIES is filled with magic and intrigue. Brawnen isn’t a powerful, relatable character. Tristan and Eseult were another pair of interesting characters. I found them all so dynamic and personable. I saw their faults. Their desires. The plot points were so well done. What a fantastic story! My attention was held the entire time.
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What a perfect end to this trilogy. It took me places I never thought possible, and answered questions I didn't even know were asked. I absolutely loved the character building throughout the trilogy, and enjoyed spending time with Branwen as she did everything in her power to save those she loved and keep the peace of the land. This story has definitely reminded me of what my magic is, and that happiness and peace are not destinations.
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Love this trilogy. This final installment was everything we could have asked for. I cannot wait to read what Kristina Perez writes next.
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I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of Bright Raven Skies recently, and upon finding out that Tracy from Cornerfolds was a huge fan of the series, I asked her to buddy read with me and write a guest review! You can find her amazing blog here. This is her review:

Tracy’s Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sweet Black Waves and Wild Savage Stars are two of my favorite YA fantasy books of all time. Both were incredible reads for me, full of magic, romance, and heartbreak. I was very impatient to read Bright Raven Skies so I could find out the ending to Branwen’s story and was SO grateful when I had the chance to read it early!

Bright Raven Skies picks up immediately after Wild Savage Stars, with Eseult and Tristan missing, and Branwen angry at them both. Despite her part in their betrayal, Branwen is unable to forgive. Still, she owes it to her aunt to keep Eseult and the alliance between the kingdoms in tact and, as usual, puts others above herself. Usually I get fed up with characters who constantly self-sacrifice, but my love for Branwen is undying. Her love for her family and country is hard not to root for and I read this wanting nothing more than a happy ending for her after so much heartbreak.

There was a lot to wrap up in this trilogy and I think Bright Raven Skies did a good job of it, although there were things I would have liked to end differently. Knowing the original tale of Tristan and Eseult, I knew some of what to expect, but this still managed to fall a little short. My main issue was that a lot of the book was overly drawn out. The political aspects of the story overtook the relationships and the plot went to several places I didn’t care much about. There was an entire side plot that seemed to come out of nowhere and took up a huge chunk of the story.

Despite all that, I still enjoyed this finale! I loved the relationship between Branwen and Eseult and even found myself loving Tristan again by the end. There was so much done right about this trilogy, I just wish the final installment had packed a bit more punch. If you like tragic love stories and want a YA fantasy that’s a little different, I still definitely recommend giving this series a try!
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JUST as good as the other two books! I really really enjoyed this. Damn, it was so good. All the drama, these books are some of my faves so damn. All I can say is damn haha
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“They loved while they burned, and they burned while they loved.”

Third and final book in the Sweet Black Waves series by Kristina Perez, Bright Raven Skies is the perfect conclusion to a series that I’ve absolutely loved. This retelling of the classic legend, Tristan and Iseult focuses primarily on Tristan, Iseult, and Branwen. Their shared struggles with sacrifice and loss to create peace within a Kingdom. 

“Possibility is everything, said Tristan”

There’s a lot going on in Bright Raven Skies, Branwen’s powers are twisting into something dark and unknowable and the two people she loves most are missing after an epic siege. The world-building remains a thing of beauty, easily transporting me into the complexities of the story. The characters, old and new, are wonderfully three dimensional, tragically flawed and captivating. The plot was a little slower in the beginning then the first two books in the series but I’m ok with this because the slow burn was so worth the wait. This series broke my heart, gave me hope and then sort of dashed it all while building it up again! Bright Raven Skies has everything I look for in a high fantasy: a dramatic love story, political intrigue, treachery and magic, all in a beautifully written setting with characters I’ve grown to love. 

A big thank you to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Kristina Perez and Storygram Tours for providing me with a DRC in exchange for my honest review.
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BRIGHT RAVEN SKIES ultimately delivers a satisfying conclusion. Unlike other Tristan and Isolde retellings, Perez deftly sidesteps prior tropes to craft an ending that feels true to her characters. Branwen's inner turmoil over her deal with Dhusnos and its far-reaching effects was just as compelling as the political mire she struggled to navigate. Perez overlaps familiar characters, events, and settings from the Arthurian legends while making them utterly organic to the world she's created. What struck me most was the message that it is always possible to start over, and that growth and change are unending processes. Perez may not have delivered the ending most readers wanted, but it is exactly the ending her characters needed. Absolutely wonderful.
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Bright Raven Skies, the epic conclusion to Kristina Perez's Sweet Black Waves series, does not disappoint! Carefully constructed narratives braid beautifully with raw emotion in a world that is complex, imperfect and unapologetically hopeful. Perez lays bare the wants and intentions of her characters and expertly weaves Branwen and company's stories into a rich tapestry. Bright Raven Skies is a not-to-miss finale!

Readers are immediately transported into Branwen's tangled web of lies, tenuous relationships and mistakes. After the siege on King Marc's kingdom, Eseult and Tristan are found to be missing and Branwen fears the worst -- that the two loves have fled -- and begins the search to find and protect her cousin and her true love. However, finding the queen and her champion will be the least of Branwen's problems -- her powers are turning dark and she soon realizes the price for peace is even greater than she first expected.
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#BrightRavenSkies
#SeriesFinale
In the last installment of this series, book three continues with the beautiful writing and keeps with it's sweeping feeling that reader's have experienced throughout the series.
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