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A Must-Read Romantasy: Review of 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' by Carissa Broadbent, by Ava Shaffer

4.5 stars

The Hunger Games meets the dark, twisted world of vampires in this epic fantasy series by best-selling author Carissa Broadbent. Oraya, the human daughter of the vampire king, enters a competition to the death in order to have one wish granted by a goddess. Despite being a ruthless killer, she is forced to make an alliance with a dangerous rival: the mysterious vampire Raihn. In this epic fantasy that centers on themes of humanity and power, readers follow Oraya’s courageous journey through structured trials as she fights for a new world. Full of complex characters, heart-wrenching romance and a dark magical world, The Serpent and the Wings of Night is a story of a fighter and the lengths she will go to protect the human race.

Read This Book If You…

  • Love strong, complex female main characters

  • Enjoyed The Hunger Games, Twilight, and/or A Court of Thorns and Roses

  • Are longing for some good ol’ classic slow burn romantasy

  • Appreciate a balanced mix of plot, worldbuilding and romance in fantasy books

If I could throw all of the elements I adore in romantasy (romance + fantasy, for those who might not know) books into a big smoking cauldron and stir it up, a Carissa Broadbent book would arise. I discovered her work last year when I listened to Daughter of No Worlds on audiobook and absolutely devoured it. She has such an excellent touch in this genre and hits every note so perfectly. More people need to be talking about her books!

As soon as I started reading The Serpent and the Wings of Night, I instantly fell for the characters. We get so much insight into Oraya – her past, motivations, fears and desires are so well-communicated through the beautiful prose. Broadbent is so talented at crafting complex, emotionally rich female main characters. I especially appreciate this in fantasy since so many other books in this genre are lacking in that department. Right from the start, I was so invested in Oraya’s journey and am excited to keep reading about her in the rest of this series.

Speaking of characters I love, I am absolutely obsessed with Raihn, the love interest in this story. The dialogue and flirty banter was incredible. If you think the romance in A Court of Thorns and Roses is good, just wait until you read a Carissa Broadbent book. This was one of the best slow burns I’ve ever read! The romantic tension Broadbent effortlessly weaves into her scenes is impeccable, always electric but never distracting from the other essential elements of the story. There’s one specific moment in The Serpent and the Wings of Night that puts the Divergent training montage scene (the one that drove many girls crazy in 2014) to shame! Carissa Broadbent knows what she is doing with this genre, and she is doing it so well. 

Although the romance was a main draw for me, there were so many other elements in this story that kept me engaged. There are so many little details that really crafted my perspective on these characters, their struggle and the bigger world of this series. In particular, Ibrahim, one of the tournament competitors, was an especially compelling character. In the dangerous and deadly worlds she creates, Broadbent handles the theme of grief incredibly well in her novels. This was admirable in Daughter of No World too, where there aren’t deaths in the story just as shock factors or driving forces of the plot. When a character close to the main character dies in these books, they carry that grief with them throughout the entire story, an underlining of loss and love threading throughout the narrative. There’s a lot of care and purpose put into those devastating scenes, which makes the characters in this book feel so real.

Lastly, the pacing of this book was incredible. I read the last 200 pages in one day. As an avid reader, I love a well-deserved emotional payoff at the end of a book, especially with longer fantasies. The Serpent and the Wings of Night manages to have one of the best emotional payoffs I’ve read in fantasy, and it accomplishes that in only 450 pages (as opposed to behemoth 800+ page books of the same genre – I am looking at you, Game of Thrones.) This book’s emotional build-up and intense moments felt so earned in the end. If you’re a fan of well-constructed romantasy that ties to strong messages about the world and about us as humans, The Serpent and the Wings of Night is a must-read for you!

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