Updated: Jan 22
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Jennifer L Armentrout
Book 3 in A Wicked Trilogy
Ivy Morgan hasn't been feeling like herself lately.
Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.
It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine... and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.
Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart.
If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies.
Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves--and, ultimately, to save herself.
Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen….
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy New Adult Action-Packed
Violence Romance Sexy
Brave by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the third and final book in A Wicked Trcyilogy, and centers around Ivy, struggling with the trauma she has suffered during her kidnapping in the last book. She eventually needs to come to terms with what she has been through, though, as she and everyone she loves is still in danger.
So, a large part of me loved this book, but a small part of me is left feeling kind of ... annoyed. Brave still continues A Wicked Trilogy's unique story-line, and our main characters, Ivy, Ren and Tink are still all kinds of awesome, but the story felt unfinished to me. There is no real conclusion to the story. It's left very open. I know that there is a series of novellas published in the Wicked world, but the main books are a trilogy. They shouldn't end with the enemy off licking their wounds. There should be a conclusion. There was also some consistency issues. The most aggravating of all: In the first book, it's said that a very specific stake carved from a tree from the Otherworld is the only thing that can kill Ancient fae ... by the third book, it only weakens them. There is also Ivy's age. In the first book she is 22, but in the third, she is 21, turning 22.
That being said, the characters were just as amazing as they have been the last 2 books. Ivy goes through a tough time, trying to deal with her memories of her time of confinement. There were times I wanted to shake her, but once she decides to actually try, she is back to the Ivy I know and love. A fighter. Brave. Jennifer L Arsentrout knows how to write the perfect male love interest. Ren is just all kinds of awesome. He stands by Ivy, trying to help her, despite her pushing him away. Kind. Has a sense of right and wrong. Sexy. Then Tink ... how can you not love that adorable, sometimes tiny, sometimes tall brownie? Funny, with a strong love of life. Loyal. Sarcastic as hell. Brave. Loving. Incredibly loving. Tink gave me lots of feels this book.
There were problems with this book, but I still loved it. There were some wicked twists that I was NOT expecting. That very rarely happens. I just wish there was more of a conclusion to the story. I wish there was more consistancy between the books. It doesn't subtract from the story itself though. A Wicked Trilogy was a fun, sexy, thrilling read.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
Ren and Tink forcing her to feed off of Ren to save her life
Ivy and Ren's fight at the pool, and them making up in the pool
Tink and Fabian.
(bonus) Tink's plan B
(bonus) Queen being sent back to the Otherworld
Where to Buy:
Ivy: "You're an asshole."
He smiled proudly
Tink: "I am many things. An asshole is one of them."
Tink: "Why are you in here running so much? Are you preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse that I know nothing about? Because if you are, we need to find the nearest redneck to become best friends with, one that is hot in a diry, rugged way. You know, the kind that probably smells like sweat and man, one with a complex background that makes you hate him at first, but slowly, over time, you grow to love him."
I stared at him
Ivy: "You've put a lot of thought into this."
Tink: "I have. I like to be prepared. Since we're in the south, it shouldn't be hard to find one."
Ren: "I'm going to make two things painfully clear. First off, you will find out who did this, who was involved and knew about this, and why. Then you will tell me exactly who those dead motherfuckers are. And the second thing you better understand all the way down to your bones is, if Ivy doesn't come out of this, laughing her laugh, smiling up at me as she's walking out of this damn room, I will burn this motherfucker down with all of you in it."
He was there in an instant, by my head. The tips of his fingers were on my chin, slowly turning my face to his.
A kernel of panic blossomed in my guy
Ivy: "I ... I don't feel right."
Ren: "What do you mean, Sweetness? What does she mean?"
Ivy: "I can't ... feel my legs."
Ren cursed and started to pull away
Ivy: "Don't! Don't leave ... me."
The panic spread as I tried to lift my hand. If he left, I didn't think I'd see him again.
His hand brushed over my forehead
Ren: "I'm right here with you. I'm not leaving. Ever. You know that, right? Never leaving you."
Ren: "I love you, Ivy. You know that? There's only been you. There will only be you. I love you so fucking much and that's why I have to do this. I'm sorry, Sweetness. Forgive me."
Confusion swept through my foggy thoughts. Forgive him?
Tink all but shoved Faye forward. The fae, normally graceful and nimble, stumbled. Stopping by my head, she shot a glare over her shoulder
Faye: "I don't agree with this. If you knew he'd done to her and how it -"
Ren: "I know. I know, but I'd rather her pissed off and hating me than dead. Do it now."
Faye: "Tink. You don't want to do this. We don't know what it will do to -"
Tink: "If you don't do this, I can promise you it will be a very unwise life choice. I mean it, Faye. I like you, but I like Ivy more. You let her die, you're doing so with the last moments of your life. So, don't get it twisted."
Tink: "Ivy. He's still alive. And I'm still traumatized by the fact you were about to become a live-action porno right in front of me."
Ren: "What is happening to her? I thought we'd healed her?"
Tink: "We did. Now she's paying the consequences."
I stared at him.
Ivy: "My skin is shimmering and my ears are pointy now."
Ren: "I didn't even notice. All I was paying attention to as the fact you were standing and breathing. But now that you mention it, I'm kind of digging it."
My mouth dropped open
Ivy: "How in the world could you be digging that I look more like the creatures we were born to hunt and kill? That doesn't make sense."
Ren looked taken aback
Ren: "You don't get it. Your skin could be green and your ears the size of UFOs an I'd still think you're absolutely stunning."
At that point, I started wondering if Ren was high
Ren: "I'm about to sound cheesy as fuck and I'm kind of surprised that I even have to say this, but it's not just about how you look. Don't get me wrong, that's a way nice bonus, but it's you, Ivy. What's on the inside, Sweetness."
Ivy: "It was never your choice, Ren! It was mine, and it was taken away from me."
Ren: "What choice did you have? You were dying, Ivy. There was no time to get a surgeon or take you to the hospital. You were bleeding out right in front of me. There was no choice, because allowing you to die was never an option."
Ivy: "If you'd done that at least then I wouldn't have been forced to feed on you just like the Prince made me do!"
Ren's face paled
Ren: "You'd rather be dead, Ivy?"
I sucked in a breath
Ivy: "I'm not saying that."
Ren: "Then what are you saying exactly, and Sweetness, I need you to be real detailed, because I'm thinking the worst."
I turned away, thrusting my hands through my hair. I wasn't stupid. If Tink and Ren hadn't forced Faye to do the compulsion, I would be dead. And I didn't want to be dead.
But I didn't want to be this.
God, I just didn't want any of this."
Ren: "Ivy. When I found you outside, I thought I was too late. When I carried you into that damn room, I was covered in your blood. Drenched in it. And when that fae doctor said that you were dying, it felt like a piece of me died right then and there."
I opened my mouth
Ren: "Let me get this out and you can yell at me and be pissed all you want. I have never been more afraid than I was right then and there. I was going to lose you before I even got to have you. And when Tink said there may be another way, it was the only choice knowing you could hate me for it. I made that choice knowing that it could hurt me. I made that choice knowing that you may never forgive me for it. I'd rather have you pissed off at me for the rest of your very long life than to allow the world's brightest fucking star to go out. You can hate me today and tomorrow, but at least you'll have a tomorrow, and I'll make damn sure you have a whole bunch of them to be angry with me."
I didn't know how to respond to that. Emotion crawled up to my throat. Tears filled my eyes. I stepped back and then to the side. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, I leaned forward, dropped my arms into my lap. Ren didn't make a sound, but I felt him move closer. He dropped down to his knees in front of me, surprising me. Looking up, he placed his hands on either side of my hips, close but not touching me.
Ren: "I'm sorry that I took part in making you feed. I hated doing that, knowing what you'd been through. I hated the fact that I wasn't with you when you were attacked. Fuck. I wish I hadn't walked away from you the night you told me you were a halfling. I could've stopped all of this."
Ivy: "Ren -"
Ren: "Yeah, you're going to say that wasn't my fault, but if I hadn't acted like a dick and gotten myself captured, the Prince would've never been able to masquerade as me. None of this bad shit would've happened. And I have to live with that for the rest of my life. And I'll have to live with the choice I made and the choice I took from you. I'm more than willing to do that, but I do not regret one second making that choice to save you, even if it means that you hate me."
Deep down I knew the truth and how messed up it was. If the shoes were on different feet, and Ren was a halfling and dying, I would've done the same to save him.
I would've take his choice from him.
I would've taken his will away.
I would've saved him even if it cost me his love.
Ivy: "I don't hate you."
Ren: "I can't lose you."
Ivy: "You haven't."
Tink: "What? Like a big fight? Or a small one? Oh my God, are you two breaking up? Who will I live with?"
Ivy: "Who will you live with? You're not twelve and you're not our kid."
Tink: "But I need to be taken care of. Loved. I need access to Amazon Prime."
Ivy: "Then get a job, Tink. You look human enough to do it."
Tink: "A job? The loss of blood must've done something to your brain because you're out of your mind."
Fae: "Who is this?"
Tink: "She's Buffy with the bad hair."
Slowly, I turned and looked up at him.
Ivy: "Buffy with the bad hair?"
Tink: "Yeah, like it's a combination of Buffy and Beyonce, the two greatest females of all time. You're like Buffy. Bad ass. But you're not Becky with the good hair. You have bad hair. We all know that."
I stared at him
Ivy: "My hair isn't that bad."
Tink: "Oh, it's bad. You definitely aren't a Becky."
Tanner: "Ivy was captured by the Prince at one point. She's understandably a little ... murderous when it comes to him."
Ren: "She's not the only one."
Ivy: "I'm not a little murderous. I'm a lot murderous."
My mouth dropped open. Oh my God, it was like having a conversation with a ruder Tink. Who, by the way, was practically shimmying with excitement as he leaned in, whispering into my ear.
Tink: "I like this guy. I really like him. Can I keep him?"
The Summer Prince heard him and interest sparked in his pale blue eyes.
Fabian: "I've never been kept by a brownie before, but ... I've heard things. Interesting things."
I so needed an adult right now, but the adults were all staring at the ceiling, pretending like a live version of Fae Tinder wasn't going down right in front of us.
Tink: "Do tell."
Fabian: "Is it true that a brownie's co-"
Ivy: "We need to find him, put him back where he belongs, or kill him."
Ren whirled on me
Ren: "Are you out of your mind?"
Ivy: "Excuse me?"
Ren: "You don't need to do anything but keep your pretty little ass here. The Prince might be on the hunt for another halfling, but you're still a halfling, Ivy."
Ivy: "No shit. Bit only I get to say where my ass gets to go and doesn't go."
Ren: "Not trying to be an ass about it, but the further away you are, the better."
Ivy: "So, I'm supposed to sit around and do what exactly? Tend to the garden outside? Maybe take up knitting classes?"
Ren: "At least then you're doing something."
One side of his lips kicked up
Ren: "Idle hands are the devil's playground, or so they say."
I was going to hit him.
Ivy: "I'm about to shove these idle hands so far up your ass, you'll think you've become a puppet."
Ren: "You know what?"
Ren leaned forward, lowering his voice
Ren: "I might actually enjoy that."
Ivy: "I'm not staying behind, Ren. Not going to happen."
Ren: "You're impossible to reason with. I swear to God."
Tink: "Stop fighting. It makes me anxious."
Fabian: "It makes me wish I had popcorn."
Ivy: "First off, if I want to leave here, I will. No one is going to keep me here against my will. I've already been down that road and have the baggage to prove it. I'm not going for round two."
Merle opened her mouth, but Tanner placed a hand on her arm, silencing her.
Tanner: "That is true. We are not holding her against her will. She can walk out of here whenever she pleases."
Ivy: "Secondly, you're seriously overreacting at this point. When I learned that the Prince could get through the glamour here, I did plan on leaving. My presence here was too much of a risk for me to live with, and I don't give a fuck if you agree with that or not."
Merle's eyes widened slightly
Ivy: "But I agreed to stay until the guests got here. None of that matters now. Drake has found another halfling, and while that's a hell of a relief, that doesn't mean my duty has ceased to exist. You really do not want to have that argument with me. Seriously. Because you aren't going to win."
Tink: "I already lost my family once. I do not want to lose my family again, Ivy. And that's what you are to me - you and even Ren. You two are all that I have. If you had left me, it would've killed me."
Tink: "All if forgiven. But if you ever think about doing something like that again, I will not forgive you."
Tink: "And I will go onto Amazon and order some weird shit. Not only that, I'll make my wish list public, which means it will be your wish list. You don't want that."
Ren: "My face is up here."
I flushed as my gaze jerked to his
Ren: "Not that I mind you staring at me like you want to take a bite out of me, but right now, I'm kind of worried you might actually bite."
Ren turned in the water toward me, his eyes wide with surprise.
Ren: "You pushed me into the pool."
Ivy: "You pulled me into the pool!"
He stared at me for a moment and then did the craziest thing. Ren started laughing - laughing deep, belly laughs as he held on to the other side of the pool. Something about his laugh was ... infectious.
My lips twitched and then a giggle escaped. It was like a levee breaking. Our laughter reached the high ceiling, and my stomach cramped from the force of it, because this - us - was ridiculous.
Ivy: "We are so stupid ..."
I trailed off because I'd looked over at Ren. He was just staring at me, mouth slightly open like he'd just witnessed a total solar eclipse.