league of liars arc review! // magical courtroom drama + jailbreaks

I can’t think of any witty remarks so please go listen to (a) All Too Well Ten-Minute Version by Taylor Swift or (b) anything by BTS. That’s my introductory contribution for the day.

A huge thank you to Penguin Teen for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I had such high hopes for this one. I mean, a jailbreak! A crime! Maybe even a Kaz Brekker lookalike! Unfortunately, it didn’t all go quite to plan.

League of Liars follows a cast of several characters, the most prominent of which being Cayder. Cayder, in his apprenticeship to become a prosecutor, has to defend several clients in a court of law. The thing is: are any of them really guilty of the crimes they’re being accused of? And what exactly is going on behind the scenes of The Regency, a government type of association dedicated to regulating the use of magic?

Magic is called edem in this world, and I thought this was one of the most unique ideas I’ve ever read. Like, the concept of taking something from the past, using it in the present, and then returning it is really cool. I wish it had been a little bit better fleshed-out though. I feel like there’s so much detail you could go into with it!

I also really, really loved the courtroom drama. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a great game that I enjoy playing, and this reminded me so much of it! It’s just so satisfying watching evidence being presented and dramatically turning the case around (yeah sure, that doesn’t happen in real life but reality is overrated). The plot twists were also more shocking than I was expecting? There were quite a few moments that I just…didn’t see coming. We get a lot of backstory in flashbacks, but sometimes one crucial flashback doesn’t come until after you’re like WAIT WHAT?! So obviously I had fun with that!

Oh! And there’s an incredibly witty character named Jey who was like Jesper because they both make me giggle hysterically and fear for their lives. He’s easily the best character in the entire book and I wish every page had one of his hilarious quips.

I have to admit: the pacing of this book really threw me off. A lot of what happens in the synopsis doesn’t happen in the actual book until 70% of the way in. Seriously. That means that the climax of the book happens too easily, and far too quickly. If the main events of the synopsis don’t happen within the first 50 pages of the book, my patience level drops down to the depths of Hades.

I’m really hoping that this is a series – although it doesn’t say that it is anywhere – since the ending is uh open-ended, to say the least. Actually, it’s not even open-ended. It literally just ends like the first book in a series does. Imagine if there was no sequel after These Violent Delights or Six of Crows! What kind of ending would that be? But I’m sure it’ll probably be a series and it just hasn’t been announced as one yet!

I think my biggest issue with League of Liars (besides the pacing) is that I just wanted more from it. There were hints of greatness: Jey’s banter, the potential of edem, some incredible plot twists. At the same time, it was lacking the extra development that would have made all of those elements really pop. Most of the characters needed more personality behind them, and there was an insta-love moment that annoyed me quite a bit. A lot of the world felt largely unexplored. And most of all, I really do wish that the story didn’t feel quite so cordoned off until the 70% mark.

So that’s it! I would definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in trying a fantasy thriller, since this is such a unique marriage of the two genres! Overall, this just happened to be a 2.5/5 star read for me. You can preorder this one (it comes out on February 22!) and add it to Goodreads and Storygraph.

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