Warmaidens by Kelly Coon – Review

Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.

Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.

But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.

Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley for the advanced copy of my most awaited sequel in 2020! I stumbled upon Gravemaidens and Kelly herself through Instagram– and I instantly fell in love with her vibrant and diverse characters and the unique world that she had crafted. I had been overjoyed to learn it was to be a duology, because I couldn’t get enough of the rich lore of the afterlife that was explored, and the first novel ended in such a cliffhanger that I was basically foaming at the mouth to get to this one. Then, as things do, life happened, and it took me a bit to get to it, but I was SO happy when I did. Kelly delivered a punch of an ending and it was one that satiated my hungry soul. There hasn’t been much happy in the past year– but these books have been a bright spot for me.

As to not spoil anything for readers new and old– we meet our brave cast of characters once again in the midst of grave (see what I did there?) danger. This novel builds on itself so beautifully, and is filled to the brim with action and tension. The reader can feel the uncertainty building within the kingdom of Alu, and with it, the fear from our protagonist as she attempts to right the wrongs of this backwards community. It is, as the first one was, a stunning love letter to feminism and sisterhood, and just enough romance to satiate those of us who long for that sort of connection. There are also new, developed characters, such as the boatsman, who bring new life to this sequel. It is an exciting conclusion that you cannot miss.

Honestly, Kelly Coon has become one of my favorite writers. She is not only talented at her craft but also incredibly kind and driven– and so I am overjoyed to follow her to her next endeavor. If you have never read her before, I do recommend this series as it is one that will hook you instantly and introduce you to a world you never thought you would see. In times like these, I take what little travel I can get, and it turns out that reading is the perfect source of this as you can be spirited away to fantastical lands where adventure is just waiting to be had. Come join Kammani and the rest of our heroes today!

5/5 stars