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BOOK REVIEW: Court (Crave #4) by Tracy Wolff

“Because the truth is, no matter how much power you have, sometimes broken things have to stay broken, even though we might wish otherwise.”

When I was younger, I was a diehard Twilight fan. I sped through all the books, read them over and over again, and saw all of the movies. It had everything that I love in a book - romance, mystery, love and friendship, and adventure. Jump to present day and my current obsession, as I am sure you must be getting tired of hearing about, is Zodiac Academy by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti. This series also has romance, hardship, love, friendship, loyalty, and adventure. The Crave series by Tracy Wolff is a combination of both Twilight and Zodiac Academy for me, and I am all about it!

Court is the fourth book in the Crave series and brings the story to an end. A little background to get you caught up before I start picking apart the things I liked and disliked in this particular book. The story revolves around a young woman named Grace Foster. Grace's parents have recently passed away and she is moving to Alaska to live with her uncle and cousin, Macy, at the academy her uncle is headmaster at, Katmere Academy. From the moment she stepped through the doors at the academy, Grace felt inferior to the other students and for some reason they are rude and unwelcoming to her, most especially Jaxon Vega. Grace soon learns that this is not just an ordinary boarding school, but a school full of supernatural creatures such as vampires, dragons, werewolves, and witches. Grace is captured and used in an attempt to bring back Jaxons' "evil" brother, Hudson, by Hudson's crazy ex-girlfriend.

After these events, Grace learns that she is the first gargoyle born in a thousand years. She tries to navigate learning this side of her while also trying not to go crazy with hearing Hudson in her head. Grace and her friends realize that Hudson is trapped in her head and need to get him out and kill him before he can bring harm to anyone else. In the meantime, Jaxon and Hudson's parents, the vampire king and queen, want to get their hands on Grace, and when they do, they realize the power within her. The Vampire King has now declared war against Grace (who has declared herself the Gargoyle Queen), her friends, and anyone else who dares to stand in the way of the war he's waging to finally bring the supernatural out of the shadows. Grace and her friends go on a long, yet short, journey to free the gargoyle army that she has learned had been frozen in time for centuries due to a poison the Vampire King gave them. They also must retrieve the Katmere students that have been kidnapped by the Vampire King at the end of the last book before it is too late for them. And finally, but most importantly, put a stop to the reign of the Vampire King.

This was just a super quick summary of the main plot of the story but it will help with my review. With that said, let's get started! Overall, this was a great story, each book has me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next shoe of information or disaster to drop. This book was no different and why I gave it a 4 star rating. However, this book was unnecessarily long at over 900 pages! It was full of useless details that were just not needed and side stories and plots that I felt took away from the story rather than added to it. Also, I felt like it was just the same plot over and over again. Grace needs to go on a quest with her friends to find information, or to find some ring, or to meet some person in order to complete the main quest of stopping the Vampire King in his quest for world domination. Each time they go on these quests, someone gets injured, a side character dies, they realize they shouldn't have gone. It was almost on repeat and I felt like some of that could have easily been removed from the story and it would have made it better.

With that said, I enjoyed the development and growth that Grace exemplifies through all the books, but really comes to a head in this book. Grace, through all of the books, is loyal and will always find a way to help her friends and others before herself, which is a characteristic of her gargoyle. Something that stood out to me in this book was when Grace was with Chastain, head of the gargoyle army. Grace went to all these lengths and measures to be secretive at the gargoyle court looking for a ring that she needed for the Vampire King to save all of the students. In being sneaky and secretive, Grace messed with the God of Time, who then took it out on the gargoyle army. In order to protect themselves, while Grace fights to get the antidote that is needed to save them, they must all turn to stone. Once it is safe for the gargoyles again, and Grace calls to them for help, Chastain stops the army from responding to her. He tells Grace that if she only would have told them what was going on, if she only would have asked, they would have been more than willing to help, give themselves up to save the students, as that is what they are meant to do as gargoyles, protect others. Chastain calls her out on being a liar and not a true leader. This is one part of the story that I loved because when it comes down to the "big battle" at the end, this is something Grace thinks about and helps her to make the right decisions, which ultimately has the gargoyle army, and specifically Chastain, respect her as a leader.

I also really enjoyed seeing all of the relationships develop and grow. I enjoyed the love between Hudson and Grace develop to where you could see them both rely on each other more, help each other through their pain and suffering, and find little bits of joy with each other through all the hardship and difficulty. The friendship and love that was growing between siblings Hudson and Jaxon was so sweet. No matter how mad or angry they are with each other, they are always there to protect and help the other. The bond that cousins Grace and Macy share is touching; they have each others' backs no matter what.

Overall, the writing is just okay. Half of the book feels serious, parts are very sarcastic, throw in some "we're a team" phrases, and it leaves the book all over the place. The beginning had me hooked as I wanted to see how they would respond to the cliffhanger of the students having been kidnapped at the end of the last book. but then I felt like hundreds of pages went by with no real meat to it. Nothing worthwhile was happening. Then the ending came out of nowhere and was wrapped up in less than 60 pages. The ending was predictable and for all the power that Grace holds, a little anti-climactic.

Now you must be asking yourself how I could have given this book 4 stars when I had a lot of complaints. That is because there was a lot of great treasures within the annoyances! I loved how strong-willed and independent of a character Grace exemplifies. She does not need a man to save her, or even protect her. She is her own protector, but she doesn't mind if you want to help. I loved seeing representation of a non-binary character in the story, we definitely need more of that. I loved seeing that after heartbreak (Jaxon), love can still be found. (The author needs to do a book on Jaxon and Flint. I felt those flirty vibes throughout this whole book!) And of course, I just love a fantasy story, imagining supernatural creatures throughout the everyday world just living their lives. Which supernatural creature would you want to be given the chance and choice?? I am thinking witch for myself. :)

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