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Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores #3)
Danielle L. Jensen
Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.
His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.
BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN
Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.
Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4.5 / 5) Honestly, in all 600 pages/23 hours of audio, my attention never waned. THAT is good writing!
Danielle L. Jensen has become a favorite author of mine. The worlds she creates are my favorite!
With this being book 3, I don’t want to go into it too much but I will state a few of my favorite things about this book. First off, it’s so exciting. Almost every page had something to grab to my attention. It is long, that’s the downfall but I wouldn’t cut anything. Could it be shorter? Yes, but the parts that could be cut were some of my favorite.
Second, the characters. Ok, I’ll admit. I really didn’t love book 1. It just didn’t grab me. I didn’t care for Teriana. However, I heard so much about book 2 being amazing that I gave it a try. Both book 2 and 3 grabbed me right away and I became to love these characters. They are very real in their decisions, their mistakes and their flaws.
Third, the world. Aahh, it is complex with an appearance of simplicity. Politics, the Corrupted, the Blight, the traveling between kingdoms and more. It’s death, and danger and love and I’m here for all of it.
The one complaint I have is the switching of POV. I really love different POV’s, however, with this one, I got so confused. There were too many similarities between the four POV’s so if I didn’t realize the POV had switched (yes this happened many times. Don’t worry, the chapters are labeled VERY WELL who it is. Some of us just don’t pay enough attention!) Because of this, the stories started blending in my head.
Macmillan Audio was kind enough to gift me a copy even though I had the e-book version. I will forever be grateful! Those 600 pages would not have been read in time! There was a full cast, one for each POV. One character’s voice was a bit faster than the others and I had to slow down the speed just to be able to understand him. Other than that, each narrator had great emotion and intensity for when it was necessary. I highly recommend this audio!
Content Summary: This one has a lot of content. Even the author has stated on Goodreads that the intimacy is much higher in this book than the others. I agree, it was very detailed for a YA book. The term Gods was used enough in the other books that I kept a tally in this book under the religious cursing. The language was high with minimal F words. The violence was extreme but mostly because of the length of the book and military situations. There were only a few instances where the details of blood were mentioned but there is torture, execution, battles, murder and more.
Thank you to Macmillan, Tor Teen and Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
The book releases April 27, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A man takes narcotics and knows he can get more when he wants. He relishes the release it gives him.
A group drinks rum.
A young woman and man drink wine. A man drinks rum.
A man drinks wine and gives juice to a young man.
A woman drinks wine.
A young woman sneaks medication into a drink that sedates a man. She does this multiple times to keep him sedated.
A group of men drink ale and whiskey and get very drunk.
A man and young woman drink a strong liquor.
A young woman knocks out a group of people by burning a leaf that causes sedation.
A woman drinks wine.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Very minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A man is brought in front of many people, naked.
A man kisses a young woman.
A man briefly kisses a man.
A man and young woman sleep in the same bed. His “traitorous body” enjoys being next to her. His face burns red.
A young woman imagines details of being with a man and how it would feel. Her breathing becomes ragged as she imagines being naked with him and she gasps as her imagination takes over.
A young man wants to watch women bathing but is reprimanded.
A man wishes he could rip off a young woman’s clothes.
A man finds himself in the bath with a woman. He is accidentally in the area where people meet up to be intimate. She tries to kiss him, pushing her body against him. A young man (naked) interrupts from his bath.
A man kisses a young woman passionately. He kisses her neck and carries her to the bed. He rips off her shirt and grazes up and down her chest area. He teases her breast with his tongue then travels downward….”she writhed beneath him…he groaned… his lips pressed just below her belly button”… and inside her thighs.
A man kisses a young woman using tongue and teeth. He hold her behind as he does this. She wanted more. They kiss.
**DETAILED INTIMACY** A man strips down and wraps a towel around himself. A young woman thinks he’s a “fine feast.” A young woman strips down and wraps herself in a towel then they both “bathe” in a sauna. The man kisses the young woman and uses his tongue. He kisses her deep and hard. He pulls her onto his lap, her towel falling off and he grabs her bottom. He kisses her throat then grabs her breast, running his finger over it and making her body buck. He grabs the other breast with his mouth, using his tongue. He kisses down her body then between her legs as she sobs his name then says “not yet” and puts her hand on him making him shudder and groan. He puts her against the wall and she wraps her legs around him. (Sex) She says, “Don’t stop” and waves of pleasure radiate multiple times. She says she might get pregnant so he moves beside her then shudders.
A young woman kisses a man multiple times.
A man and young woman are tangled from spending the night together.
A man and young woman kiss deeply and passionately.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A man is dragged in front of many people. He is stoned many times as he is dragged to his executioner. The axe is swung down but hits the back of his skull. He screams. Another swing hits his shoulder. Blood sprays onto the crowd from the axe as it swings and cuts the man’s head off. Blood pours down.
A body is face down. A man rolls the frozen body.
A soldier cuts off a child’s head as she runs away. She has symptoms of a very contagious disease. Soldiers burn the body.
A woman holds a sword to a man’s neck, blood trickles down.
Soldiers take a woman from her children and family and cut off her head and burn her body. She was said to be infected.
A man succumbs to his wounds and dies.
Many bodies are on the ground. Soldiers are actively attacking and chasing those infected. The infected people’s families are fighting back. Blood sprays from a woman’s neck as her head is cut off. Her body is then burned.
Large wolves are chasing a group. A man cuts the tendon of a man making him fall. A young woman cuts the man’s throat and the wolves attack the body then go after the others. The man and young woman are clawed and injured fighting the wolves.
Soldiers battle. Bodies are left to rot.
Soldiers battle. Two men fight with swords. A young man uses a knife but is cut with a sword.
**SPOILER** hundreds of infected people converge on a group. Arrows are shot at a man. A woman uses magic to drain years from a man. Hoards of people chase a young woman and any not infected. Many people are cut down.
A woman shoots arrows and kills three men then uses a sword to cut down many more. Bodies are littered throughout her path from previous fights.
As a wolf starts to attack a man, a young woman throws a knife and hits it in the eye, killing it.
There’s a battle. Arrows are killing many. A man cuts many down with a sword. They fight as a flood rages and many are killed.
People refused to pay “tithes” of their children for the military, so soldiers came and took boys by force. Then patrols or soldiers would go missing and found with their heads on stakes.
Two men fight and circle each other. A nose is broken, ribs are punched and broken, blood, broken bones are heard, one chokes the other until he passes out.
A man is knocked to the ground and held there.
Many attack a group with arrows, a woman is hit. A man kills a few that are attacking.
A man tells of military deserters and how they are beaten to death.
A man shoots and kills a man with an arrow.
There is a “dance of blood and steel” between many men. A man tries to maim instead of kill. Many are screaming. Blood splatters in his face. There is stabbing and slicing and kicking. One is stabbed in the eye. One man is hit in the back with an arrow.
A man punches a man then a woman helps. A man is taken by mimics, when a young woman drags him back, only half of him remains.
A group of men attacks a man. They are cut and stabbed with knives and swords and use fists. Many are killed. One has his head cut off.
A man holds a knife to a young woman’s neck. A young woman holds a knife to a man’s neck.
A man holds a knife to a woman’s throat. Three are tied up and a woman is held on the floor. A man stabs one in his chest. Many fight, blood, broken bones. A man beats a man with a statue, killing him.
A woman has been tortured. Her hair is missing patches and a large scar is on her face. Her throat has claw marks and burns, her fingernails are missing.
A man kills a man by squeezing chains around his neck. A man is beaten.
Previously, a woman stabbed a woman in the back as she jumped off a cliff. Her body was never found.
A young woman smashes a glass in a woman’s face.
A man breaks a man’s nose. He throws a knife in another man’s eye, killing him. He then chokes the first man with a chain, killing him, then slits his throat.
A young woman and woman fight with knives.
Potentially Intense Themes
After a large battle, bodies lay unclaimed, stinking. Body parts and blood are everywhere.
Two people are chased by a tiger.
Two people grab and kill a dying wolf by slitting its throat.
A young woman finds the body of a man.
A pack of wolves chase a man and young woman.
Two people are swept down a river and fight to stay afloat.
There are many intense moments of survival with a man and young woman. They encounter wolves, freezing temps, possible starvation, hypothermia, heights, falling from heights and many more.
A Mimick is a white hairy creature that mimics voices and more to get people to investigate, then they are killed.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advanced copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.