The Black Key by Amy Ewing | Book Review

I’ve finally done it. I’ve finished the Lone City series. It’s been a while since I first picked up The Jewel in April 2015, but I’ve steadily chugged through the trilogy over the past two years. It’s one of those series that I have given very average ratings, with each book receiving 3/5 stars on Goodreads. But I finished it, so I guess that has to count for something! I’m very thankful to final take it off my TBR.

Before I get into my review for The Black Key, why don’t I tell you my general thoughts on the series as a whole. When I first picked up this series it was under the advice of Elle Fowler. Since then, I have found much better sources of recommendation as I never loved any of the books I read after her Glitterature series. Although this series wasn’t a dreadful dystopian trilogy, you definitely wouldn’t find me raving about it in the streets. In short, if you liked The Hunger Games and want a slightly weirder dystopian world, maybe check this series out. However, I think the Lone City series is aimed at a slightly different audience – the whole surrogate thing is very strange and is perhaps not entirely appropriate for a younger audience. If I had to put an age on it, I’d say 16+, but use your own judgement!

Now, let’s talk about the Black Key, obviously, there will be spoilers for the first two books from here on out.

As it’s been quite a while since I read the White Rose, I was glad that the first few chapters included a solid recap. However, if you’re looking for a series to marathon, this could become very annoying. This series is definitely more suited to being spread out in my humble opinion.

After the White Rose, I was expecting to see a lot more of the relationship between Violet and Ash, but the romance actually took a back seat in this installment. Although it’s not what I expected, I actually really liked this, it gave Violet the chance to show her independence and made her a much stronger character.

The absence of romance also allowed the relationship between Violet and Hazel to be played up. There’s a huge emphasis on the sisterly bond in this book, which was a nice touch, however (you knew there’d be a ‘however’, didn’t you?), I would have liked Hazel to have a little bit more personality, rather than just as a replacement for Violet.Obviously, after the revelations of the White Rose, the Paladin play a leading role in this novel. I was never really sure what was going on with the auguries and the Paladin, but the concept really came into its own in this book. If it had been me banging away at the laptop, I probably wouldn’t have given Violet free reign over all the elements… I kind of wish there was one she couldn’t have connected with (possibly fire?), I think it would have really developed her as a character.

The one aspect of this book that really ground my cookies was the fighting in the later portion of the book. The attack on the Jewel was unnecessarily violent and, I felt, took away from the validity of their cause.

(If you don’t want major spoilers, look away now)
In the final scenes, Violet makes a point of saying she won’t kill the Duchess, yet she has already killed the Exeter, watched Raven kill the Countess and proceeds to watch Carnelian kill the Duchess in the end anyway. I got the impression that Ewing was trying to make Violet seem noble, but ultimately she came across as just heartless. I wish we’d had a little more inner remorse on Violet’s behalf, she just became a little too callous to be heroic.

Speaking of death, LUCIEN! Lucien’s death was completely out of place in this story and, I felt, a little over the top. How could Lucien have been responsible for the mirrors? He wasn’t Paladin! He physically couldn’t have done it! It seemed like Ewing just piled in the character deaths at the end of this series so I never really got the chance to feel sorry for any of them.

The ending ultimately left me disappointed, I would have loved to see an epilogue where Ash and Violet are living on a farm and she’s using her powers to grow food and muck out the stables while Ash tends to the animals. That whole conversation seemed to be completely forgotten by the end of the story.

Overall, once again this book got 3/5 stars (it really hasn’t been a great reading month for me has it…). It’s a fairly average dystopian series. The characters are okay, the plot is okay, everything in this novel is just okay. If you’re at a total loss for something to read and the synopsis intrigues you then give it a shot, but I definitely wouldn’t rank it highly as a YA dystopian series.

Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know down below!

8 thoughts on “The Black Key by Amy Ewing | Book Review

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