Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Release Day Review: Vanguard (Razorland, #4) by Ann Aguirre

Title: Vanguard (Razorland, #4) 
Author: Ann Aguirre 
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends 
Published: July 25th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship's doctor, she can't wait. It's past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.

Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to their number. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Uroch vanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange and beautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn't allow him close, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormy seas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.


This review is spoiler-free not only for Vanguard but also for the three books that come before it, so I will refrain from identifying particular characters by name and will be stingy with certain details. 

I have loved this trilogy since the first book, Enclave, and watching this series and its characters grow into something so exquisite has been magical. Reading the summaries of these books, you see words like plague, apocalypse, and war… so how is it that these stories are such a thing of beauty? Because Ann Aguirre is a brilliant wordsmith, and she has filled the pages with characters who have so much heart and hopefulness that you can’t help but be inspired and fall deeply in love. 

Horde, the third and what I thought was the final book in the trilogy, was everything a final book should be. It contained an epilogue that is still one of my most favorite epilogues of all time. I thought all of my favorite characters had closure… but I forgot a few. One of those being an essential character in the trilogy – Tegan. I loved Tegan, but I realize now that she had been overshadowed by the main characters of the series. I was much like Millie and many of the villagers who had a case of hero worship with those two characters, and I failed to realize that Tegan was still carrying the pain of her past that she had yet to unburden herself of. Tegan’s story was just beginning. So taking place exactly ten months after the War of the River, the next part of her adventure opens. With Millie by her side, she begins a quest that pairs them with the reluctant Szarok, who is on a mission of his own. And what an adventure they all have! Tegan absolutely shines in this story! Going in, I could not wait to be reunited with two characters from the previous books; and once that happened, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I only had eyes for Tegan. I certainly enjoyed seeing old friends; but when Tegan parted from their company, I was more than happy to follow. That says so much about the author, the plot, and a character who I once considered secondary but who has grown so much into this lead role. She is an amazing heroine and her courage and determination unmatched. 

“I always get up again. That’s what you learn from falling.” 

Szarok. There is so much I want to say about him, and yet I want everyone to discover his attributes on their own. An exceptional character and one that I admit… crept up on me. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to “learn” him. 

“I will be home and shelter for you. I will be an island where the water never rises.” 

Vanguard is a perfect companion novel, one that thrills and delights, that answers any questions left over from the trilogy, and (this is important to me)… one that doesn’t take away or change a thing from that amazing epilogue of book three. It ties in so perfectly – it’s the novel that was there all along just waiting to be discovered. I will always be open to more from these characters because they are fictional family and friends, but I love that this gives such closure and resolution to everyone that played a role in the saga. Brilliant, exciting, and beautiful, this is a series I want all my friends to have on their shelves. 

 “So each time my heart beats and yours answers, our song is complete.” 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change. 
© at A Belle's Tales



  1. I remember wanting to read the 1st book when it released but never got to it. Now that the whole series is complete, maybe it's time.

  2. Beautiful quotes in a lovely review of such a BAMF series! I remember the first in this series, and feel I got sidetracked when moving into the second book - obviously, need to re-read and follow through because the one thing I remember is how much I loved the first one! <3 <3 <3

  3. I am so so glad you loved this so much! I have got to get going on this series since you love them so. Wonderful review Wifey!

  4. Nice that you get to see more of this world, picking up with Tegan so her story can continue, without invalidating anything from the epilogue (I love epilogues like that BTW, the ones that just end things right). Glad this was so good. I've never read Aguirre but I've heard of this series, and to be honest it does look intriguing.

  5. I must get this. I loved the orginal three and I hope this one lives up to my expecatations. From the quotes you shared and your review, I am sure I will. Hope you have a wonderful birthday today!

  6. Oh wow. I'm so glad the story is as good as the cover. I'll definitely check out this series once it's completed. Great review Michele :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your review. This one looks good.

  8. Another BEAUTIFUL review, Michele! I LOVE how you're able to write great stuff about a book, and yet, give little to nothing away! KUDOS!!

    Of course, I've seen raves of this series, so I would DEFINITELY like to start reading it! The characters sound AMAZING! And those covers are something else!!

    How WONDERFUL that a secondary character got to have her own story! And I want to find out all about the mysterious Szarok.

    Oh, and I ADORE those quotes!! When I see quote this BEAUTIFUL from a book, I KNOW I need to read it!!! <3 <3

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! SUPER SQUISHY HUGGLES TO YOU & MCKENZIE!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :)


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