The Serpent and the Wings of Night is the newest fantasy romance, taking the online book community by storm with its good world-building.
About ‘The Serpent and the Wings of Night’
Author: Carissa Broadbent
Series: Crowns of Nyaxia #1
Publisher: Tor Publishing Group
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Page Number: 532 pages
Audible Listening Time: 14 hours 50 mins
Goodreads Rating: 4.42/5
My Rating: 2.5/5
Oraya is the only human in a world full of vampires and other creatures. She is determined to become the predator instead of prey in this ruthless world, all in the name of survival. The only way she can let go of her humanness is by participating in and winning the bloody trial of Nyaxia called Kejari. The winner will have one of their wishes fulfilled. Kejari is a death battle for vampires, so the stakes are sky-high for the only human with no extra advantage.
To survive this deadly trial, Oraya has to make unlikely allies with Raihn. As the trial progresses, the secrets of a bigger conspiracy unfold, threatening to rock the foundation of society as they know it.
I genuinely liked this plot; it is action-packed and doesn’t drag, which is amazing for slow readers. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of character development for the other characters. Only Oraya has good character depth.
Oraya serves as the main protagonist in 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night.' Her character is well-developed and compelling; however, her interactions with other characters lack depth and substance. It might be attributed to her status as the only human amidst the trials of Kejari, which could explain the surface-level nature of her connections with others.
Raihn takes on the role of the male love interest for Oraya, but unfortunately, his character lacks the depth that would make him truly captivating. While I appreciate the dynamic of him being the sunshine to Oraya's grumpiness, their chemistry is noticeably absent. The reason for their attraction to each other remains unclear and underdeveloped. On a positive note, they make fantastic allies and friends, even though their romantic connection falls short.
The worldbuilding in 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' is truly exceptional, especially for a romantasy genre. The portrayal of vampires as bloodthirsty savages, willing to go to extreme lengths, even destroying their own families to maintain power, is what captivated me the most about this book.
The depiction of the ruthless Kejari is flawlessly executed, effectively keeping the reader fully invested in the plot from start to finish. I have absolutely no complaints about the world-building in 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night'; it's truly remarkable and adds a layer of depth and excitement to the story.
The magic system in 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' feels clunky and unclear. It appears to be a soft magic system, but the way it's presented leaves something to be desired. There's a significant portion of the plot that relies on this magic system, yet it remains practically unexplained. It seems like the author intended to keep the intricacies of the magic system mysterious for future books in the series, but this lack of understanding impacted my reading experience.
I'm hopeful that the magic system will be explored more thoroughly in the upcoming books, as I couldn't grasp why Oraya possesses some unexplained power as a human in a world full of vampires. Clearing up the mysteries surrounding her abilities would greatly enhance the overall reading experience and add depth to the story.
The pacing of 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' is above average, which I appreciated. It managed to avoid unnecessary dragging in most places. However, I found the portrayal of character interactions to be the weakest aspect of the book. While I enjoyed the dynamic between Oraya and Vincent, the interactions with all other characters didn't leave a lasting impression on me.
On the other hand, the book shines brightest when describing the Kejari. Those chapters are simply amazing, and they serve as the glue that keeps readers engaged. The depiction of the trials during these chapters is captivating, and it adds depth and excitement to the overall story.
I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night'; it's a good book. However, it didn't wow me in any way. Most fantasy books I read and love leave me completely dumbstruck with their well-meshed world and characters. While 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' succeeds in some places, it fails to leave a lasting impression overall.
The book is marketed as an enemies-to-lovers story and a fantasy romance, but it doesn't quite deliver on either front. Firstly, Raihn doesn't display any true enemy behavior towards Oraya throughout the whole book. Their dynamic is more borderline friends than enemies. Additionally, Oraya is simply wary of vampires due to being the only human surrounded by ruthless vampires, which doesn't quite fit the enemies-to-lovers trope.
Furthermore, I'd argue that the book falls more into the category of fantasy with a romantic subplot rather than being a full-fledged romantasy. I eagerly waited for the romance to pick up throughout the story, but when it finally did, it failed to impress me. The romance felt half-baked, with a couple that lacked chemistry between them.
'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' is undeniably a good book, but it didn't quite blow my mind. The plot holds up well compared to other books in the same genre, and I particularly enjoyed the action-packed Kejari that Oraya takes part in. The world-building is exceptional, with the author crafting a captivating world full of mesmerizing details that truly engross the reader.
However, the magic system left me wanting more. While some may argue that it's a soft magic system that doesn't require much explanation, I found that a significant portion of the plot eluded me due to the lack of sufficient description regarding the magic system. While I understand that certain aspects might be left for future books, the first book should ideally stand on its own.
Additionally, the book's classification as an enemies-to-lovers romantasy didn't quite align with the actual storyline. There's no genuine animosity between Oraya and Raihn. In fact, Raihn is nothing short of a complete sweetheart to Oraya throughout the entire book. As a result, the romance element felt lacking, and it could be better described as a fantasy with a romance subplot rather than a full-fledged romantasy. The romance, in my opinion, required more development.
Overall, 'The Serpent and the Wings of Night' is an average read for me. I'm unsure if I will continue with the second book in the series. While I don't usually DNF series, this one is currently quite low on my priority TBR list.
“Death isn’t frightening when weighed against an insignificant existence.”
“Oraya of the Nightborn,” he murmured. “I give you my body. I give you my blood. I give you my soul. I give you my heart. From this night until the end of nights. From daybreak until our days are broken. Your soul is my soul. Your heart is my heart. Your pain is my pain. I bind myself to you.” I wanted it to all be a lie. But it was not a lie.”
“A dead lover can never break your heart.”
“vampires know better than anyone how important it is to protect their hearts. And love, understand, is sharper than any stake.”
“He did not fear my darkness, nor pity my compassion. And the truth was, the idea of dying without knowing him completely was torturous.”
“Perhaps I didn’t share his blood, but I was his child in every other sense of the word, and he loved me the only way he knew how. At the edge of a blade.”
“So many mistakes in the end,” he choked out. “Never you.”
“Maybe our skin doesn’t scar the same as yours, but our hearts do. Sometimes they never heal.”
“And then I realized. I realized that fear, when embraced, hardens and sharpens. That it becomes rage. That it becomes power. I would not die here.”
“I would beg for him, too. Break for him. Cut myself open like an animal for dissection. He held me open that way, not just my body but my soul, too.”
Human or vampire, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.
The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.
But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. Oraya is forced to ally with a mysterious rival to survive.
Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown… and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.
But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.
The Serpent and the Wings of Night is the first book in a new series of heart-wrenching romance, dark magic, and bloodthirsty intrigue, perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Buy ‘The Serpent and the Wings of Night’