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Happy Pub Day: Time’s Orphan by Hayley Reese Chow

Hi All!

It’s finally here! Happy Pub Day “Time’s Orphan”!

This week I continued reading the Odriel’s Heirs series with the third and final book in the series, “Time’s Orphan”. If you didn’t catch my posts from the last couple weeks, I was provided with ALL 3 FULL-LENGTH AND 2 NOVELLA-LENGTH books in this series, including an ARC of this third book, by the author Hayley Reese Chow!

I’ve be reviewing one book per week up until now, the third book’s release date. I’ve laughed, I’ve fallen in love with another fictional family, and I’ve given you all my thoughts and feelings along the way. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Good thing Hayley saved the best for last!

Before we hop to my review for this last book, here are the links to my reviews of all the prior books and novellas in the series:

Odriel’s Heirs

Burning Shadows

Idriel’s Children

Night of Ash

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: February 8, 2023

Goodreads Blurb:

Speak of pain, and I’ll tell you of the Time who stole it away…

Besieged by war, ravaged by monsters, and crawling with the undead, the land of Okarria is dying. Seventeen-year-old Emara survives by using her modest healing gift to save as many as she can while eluding the invaders who thirst for her enchanted blood.

So when a cursed cat saves her life and reveals Emara is the legendary Time Heir the necromancer king’s been searching for, she agrees to act as bait in a plot to destroy him. But when the plan goes horrifically awry, Emara must discover how deep her powers go, what she can change…

And what she cannot.

Unfortunately, Time Heirs have a history of getting killed, and with Okarria’s future on the line, Emara may have no choice but to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.

What I liked about the book:

1. In book 1, we got our feet wet in the world of Okarria. In book 2, we got to step into the Shadow Plane. In book 3, we got time travel baby!

I absolutely loved how this book brought yet another new “location” into play in the series. I loved figuring out who was who and where certain people would have been at this point in their lives. It brought that same air of mystery Hayley has woven in the other stories, with its own unique twist.

Similar to book 2 and the Shadow Plane scenes, a lot of my favorite scenes happened when Emara was 100 years in the past, so this was a big win for me!

It was especially fun to see how the areas acted before the Lost got really bad and it was still a relatively happy and functioning society; this definitely gave me hope that it could look like that again!

2. I really went into this book thinking that no one could top Aza, and DEFINITELY no one could top Makeo. I’m happy to announce that I was wrong on both fronts!

Emara at her core was a FIGHTER! No, she may not have been exceptionally talented with weapons or her fists, but she NEVER gave up. She was super resilient, was wicked smart, and was all for helping others. Even though she had been told to hide her abilities her whole life, at the first sign that she could help she brought that magic to her fingers and dug in! She also had no qualms about letting herself be captured in order to get closer to the bad guys. She was truly a team player and I loved her.

Speaking of her having to hide her abilities, I loved that she was so different from the other heirs. As someone who had never been told of her true identity and wasn’t trained properly for it, was constantly on the run from battle to battle, and was told to hide her magic growing up, she definitely wasn’t raised like the other heirs. Don’t get me wrong, they all had hard lives, but hers was just a little less cushy and it really made you want her to succeed that much more. In a series full of underdogs and badasses, she had so much to offer the entire group because of her differences! This line in reference to Emara’s thoughts on Aza really showed her difference to me:

This wasn’t just any woman in front of her, this was a legend.

It’s so strange in this world for an heir to think this of another heir; to think them as legendary and above all others. But I loved seeing this small but significant detail with Emara.

I loved her love interest so much for her, always wanting to be near her and seeking her out to take care of her when you can tell no one had really taken care of him. I also adored their back and forth. Their chemistry was so palpable from the beginning that I just kept eating it up page after page.

Jai was everything I thought Klaus was going to be in book 1 and more! He was this little street urchin, pickpocket with a quick mind, delicious smirk, and a deep loyalty for those in his circle.

Shadmundar was so much more caring in this one, really taking the Time Heir under his wing. I loved their connection and how he always had her best interest at heart. I can’t give too much away, but we finally find out why Shadmundar has been around for all these dang heirs and I loved every detail of it!

3. Speaking of Shadmundar, he had a much larger role in this story than the others. I loved how he acted as her historical guide as she came to terms with her identity. A lot of the things that I had questions about and made peace with not knowing in books 1 and 2, he explained to her in this book! We got to know all about why he was turned into a cat, we got to know all about Ivanora’s and Everard’s backstories, and we finally found out who the heck Bellaphia really was.  

4. Like all the other books in the series, the action was phenomenally written. BUT, you could also fully see Hayley’s growth as a writer present in this story. From the daunting and dark first 4 novels/novellas, we finally got to see some lightness, some comedy, and some romance that was better written than all the other stories. The lightness and comedy are more than likely attributable to Emara’s personality compared to Kaia’s and Aza’s, but the chemistry between Emara and her love interest was undeniably a level-up compared to the others.

5. By now you know I’m a fan of these gorgeous covers!

6. I loved that we got to see a lot of Aza in this one! I also loved how her life had developed in the last 10 years and getting to be part of that with her ❤

7. We have finally reached the end of the series, but definitely have only scratched the surface of Hayley’s wisdom. Here were some of my favorite lines for this story:

Both sides always lost in war; one just lost more than the other.

She’d never let them take her alive, even if it meant making the final cut herself.

So many cogs had already been set in motion. And she was only one.

Shad: “The world was never perfect. And even if we succeed, it will never be perfect. The only thing we can do is try to make it a little better with the time that we have.”

Emara: “I should’ve-”

Shad: “Don’t second guess the past. The paths are many, but we can never know where any of them lead. Once chosen, we can only go forward. No use carrying the weight of past mistakes when you still have so many to make in the future.”

Emara: “There’s…too many. I’m going to lose him!”

Aza: “You are not. You are a Time Heir of legend, gifted with the strength of Odriel himself to heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and be the wall between life and death. To the tireless, he gave the hardest task. To the gentle he gave the most power. That is you, Emara Alik, Ioni Rao, survivor of the blood-soaked west.”

– I loved seeing Aza pay the speech of strength forward!

“Secrets weigh lighter when spoken aloud.”

“…in matters of the mind I feel a needle may be more helpful than a club.”

What could have been better:

1. NOTHING! It was complete and total perfection!

Final Thoughts:

Bottom line, this series is a must read for any fans of YA Fantasy!

Final Rating: 5 beautiful stars

Want to check out what else Hayley is working on? Hop on over to her social media accounts using the below.

Goodreads | Instagram | Website

While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!

Goodreads | Instagram | Gmail

The Q by Amy Tintera

Genre: Sci-Fi, Teens & YA

Publication Date: November 8, 2022

Format/Length: Kindle, 352 pages

Rating: 5 infectious stars!

Favorite Quote:“Maisie, let me give you a tip. You will never be old enough for them. You will always be too young, or too inexperienced, or too much of a woman. You can either let them keep pushing you aside, or you can take this opportunity and tell them all to deal with it.”

NetGalley Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Maisie Rojas has spent her entire life in the Q—a post-pandemic quarantine zone that was once Austin, Texas. Born and raised behind the high security walls that sealed their fate, she’s now a trusted lieutenant for one of the territory’s controlling families.

Lennon Pierce, the charismatic son of a US presidential candidate, has just been kidnapped by his father’s enemies and dropped out of a plane into the Q with nothing but a parachute strapped to his back. Lennon is given a temporary antidote to the disease and crucial intel for his father, but Maisie must get him out of the zone within forty-eight hours–or he will be permanently infected and forced to remain.

With unrest brewing both inside and outside the Q, reaching the exit is a daunting and dangerous task. But if Maisie and Lennon fail, it could mean disaster for the entire quarantine zone and its inhabitants—and could cost Lennon his life.

Strap in for breakneck action and compelling characters in this timely, nonstop thriller.

What I liked about the book:
1. I loved the realistic worldbuilding and how the events of this book could really happen!

Here’s the deal:
The virus, much like the pandemic we have experienced for the last 2 years, was bad…It started in Austin, Texas and quickly began to spread, having a 40% mortality rate. As a result of this, the US Government built a wall around Austin, where they put all the sick people and labeled it “The Q”, or “The Quarantine Zone”. Unfortunately, like in most great government schemes, there were a lot of people who weren’t sick, but just couldn’t get out of Austin before the wall was erected (read that as people of limited means, because isn’t that always what happens???).

One small problem: the virus did not provide long-term immunity to people who got infected with it. So basically, all these people in the quarantine zone kept repetitively getting sick. And of course, no vaccine could be effective because the virus kept mutating. Feeling eerie about this yet?

When people started seeing the light and trying to escape from the zone, the non-infected on the outside said, “Nope” and built another wall containing the life of sickness for these unfortunate souls. (What the f*ck is it with these walls? Why is that always the “solution”?)

Anyways, I digress.

Of course, everyone on the inside became jaded AF. Laws went to the wayside, cops and military gave up, no one could be controlled. Eventually the zone seceded from the US and built their own rules, being governed by two gang families: the Spencer family in the north and the Lopez family in the south. Obviously, these fools hated each other to the point of there was even a “neutral zone” between the north and south.

Further to the political drama, the north was split between 4 siblings in the Spencer family, with very different ideas on how to run factions. Oh, and did I mention that the only way food, medical supplies, etc. came into the zone was through a small gate in the north? So, you know, that’s great for the south, especially when products stopped showing up at the beginning of the story.

That’s a lot of set up and political intrigue that definitely kept me hooked on their journey from one end of the zone to the other!

2. I loved the grungy feel of the settings and the high-action sequences. I would love to see this spun off into a graphic novel!

I also really loved the sarcastic and witty writing style. This coupled with the short chapters really made the book fly by so fast, I was legitimately a little bummed when it ended.

3. I loved all the strong female characters. Especially Val, (basically Queen of the North!). She had a badass gang of female warriors and she was a BOSS. The fact that she was only willing to help if Maisie was allowed, and willing, to take over the South was such a great instance of women helping women.

Speaking of that, Maisie had such incredible support not just from Val and her ladies, but from her friends Hadley and Elise. They were willing to break so many rules and were prepared to respect any decisions that Maisie made without judgment or guilt. The female comradery in this book definitely reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back.” LOVE IT!

4. Speaking of characters, our MCs were fun to follow. They were so different, yet such a good team that I loved watching them interact and get through so many troublesome situations.

Lennon was hilarious! He had great internal monologue, was always thinking strategically from many angles, and was definitely ok letting Maisie save him. I especially loved every time Lennon proved all the stereotypes of being a stuffy, Congressman’s son wrong and when we found out about his street racing tendencies.

Maisie was fantastic to watch because she had so much character development! She went from just wanting to prove herself scary enough to be in charge to legitimately being a great leader because she was able to make alliances and help people instead of rule with an iron fist like leaders of the past. She genuinely cared about her people, so once she got through her “I need to be the biggest badass in the room” complex, she was able to initiate real change. I really hope we get to see more of this in the future!

4. I loved the mystery around the beloved Queso and I really hope there is a second book to follow him and Hadley!!! It would just be so damn perfect!

5. As a former college radio DJ, I appreciated all of the broadcasts, especially the “You can’t say that on air” moments. Too damn accurate!

What didn’t do it for me:
1. The ONLY thing I can say, and I’m really grasping for straws here, is I wish we had more interaction with Ethan once we “met” him. I have this intense need for us to see him and Hadley interact and have the Romeo + Juliet love affair (with a less disastrous ending) we deserve!

I received a copy of this ARC from NetGalley, Random House Children’s, Crown Books for Young Readers, and Amy Tintera. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily. Check it out later this year!