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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.5 out of 5
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All Book Reviews

  • Fantastic addition to an outstanding series

    Absolutely adored this one. Low angst and full of warmth without ever being overly sweet or predictably fluffy. They mystery is interesting and engaging but never stressful. A memorable cast of characters with a few old favorites returning and a great many interactions that made me laugh and smile. And everyone just feels so real. I love the writing and the world, it's such a pleasure to be there, and I would happily read many more books about any of these characters.

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  • Delighted by the tale

    The last book in this series was a delight to read. Varazda and Damiskos are working to find a way to stay together despite familial hiccups. The characters are strong and delightful and never waiver from their affection for each other. When Damiskos gets in trouble with the law in Pheme, he of course doesn’t want Varazda to worry. Their relationship, despite Dami’s need to protect Varazda, is strong and he is very happy when Varazda arrives. The mystery was a tough nut to guess and the author did a fantastic job leading us along on a merry chase. She brings us back to the beginning with characters from the first book and it was so nice to reconnect with them again. I highly recommend this book, this world and I do hope we can visit this world again in the future

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  • Wonderful, tender ending to the trilogy

    AJ Demas delights as always! This is probably my favourite of the trilogy, and in my opinion it’s the strongest as well. The novel focuses on the theme of family, this time Damiskos’s blood family, alongside a classic murder mystery plot--Varazda makes a fantastic detective, if I do say so. Strong Wine starts a dialog that puts face to face blood family and soul family, our duty to duty versus our duty to love. Meaning sometimes the best way to love and help one’s family will require breaking free from their beliefs, even if they see it as a betrayal, and bringing to the table your own authentic self, with a fresh and different perspective. And we see the return of a fair few characters from book 1, from the beloved to the loathed, which was a treat. :) What will stick with me the most I think are the scenes and the atmosphere at Damiskos’ parents’ place. As Dami himself says, he feels like a character in a bad play that is hurtling towards absurdity, and I think most people who have had to spend time with family they don’t see daily will relate to the feeling. Going through the motions because what else is there to do, all the while the gap between what you want to say and what others are saying keeps widening until you’re left on two different sides of a canyon. AJ Demas does a phenomenal job recreating that tense atmosphere, but without tipping it over into being painful to get through or giving me secondhand embarrassment. I think the book’s simpler structure serves it well, there aren’t so many threads to follow and tie up, and as a result the novel feels tighter and the conclusion very satisfying; the deductions are easy to follow but interesting, and we get to spend more time with the characters interacting rather than chasing down leads. The book’s humor tickled me immensely, my book is filled with highlighted witty lines; one favorite I can share without risking spoilers is this-- Dami: Look, the family situation is very simple [proceeds to explain family situation that requires a diagram and the confused math lady meme to understand] I am so taken with the descriptions of the river, they’re so poetic and evocative, like “the river, winking in the sun as it scrolled down from the mountains”. ❤️ TLDR: A wonderful end to the trilogy and a beautiful goodbye to the characters, expect all the good things we love about AJ’s writing: communication, even when the characters are bad at it, slight angst and lots of comfort, a little bit of heartbreaking confessions, wit and beautiful descriptions, tenderness of course, as well as a whole lot of worldbuilding I am very much a nerd for. PS- I am now very invested in Bion’s life, and I lowkey hope he gets a spinoff :) I received an ARC of the book.

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  • Slightly less wholesome but still good

    I'm amazed by the first two books of the series. This one is not as good but still pretty enjoyable.

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