Book Reviews

Review: Sisters of the Crescent Empress by Leena Likitalo

This concluding book to The Waning Moon duology could not be more spectacular. I knew I was in love with the rich character detail, the lush world, and the subtle suspense from The Five Daughters of the Moon, but Likitalo delivers us a book with more depth, nuance, and thrills that have quickly skyrocketed it to my favorite historical fantasy series.


The Crescent Empress has died and the Gargargi Prataslav is trying to take over the empire. The only loose end is the presence of the five Daugthers of the Moon, the only force who could upset the shaky balance of lies upon which he stands. He exiled them to the far north, where no one can see or hear from them, but Celestia knows what has happened in this house. She knows what ghosts lie in the corners and what happens to any sisters of the Crescent Empress.


book review Sisters of the Crescent Empress by Leena LikitaloWhat continues to surprise me, but at this point shouldn’t, is the depth of Likitalo’s characters. I fell in love with each of them for different reasons. They all have their own quirks and roles to play in the story. Watching them unfold before your eyes is mesmerizing. In this book, their character growth is astounding. Even though Sibilina was one of my least favorites in the first, her journey and transformation make her my absolute favorite of this book. And the opposite happens with Elise. Likitalo is a master at weaving compelling and human characters. They have their flaws. And they have differing opinions.

(What also impressed me in this book was the intricacy to the side characters. Even though we find out little about them, what we do read catches our eyes and curiosity).

The family interactions they have are wonderfully portrayed. The relationships we have with our sisters, the love, and the frustration, is told with such detail. I absolutely adore that this book revolves around sisterhood set against this complex historical background. Even more so, the layers of secrets create a gripping setting for their interactions. The suspense and foreboding is palatable and as we approach the top of this treacherous climb, we both relish and fear the crest of the mountain.


As for the historical fantasy, Likitalo plays with our expectations the entire book. This creates a thrilling suspense as the tensions rise. What will happen to them? We think we know, but find out we’ve barely scratched the surface. Sisters of the Crescent Empress (which is a phenomenal title) asks us what we would do to survive, for ourselves, and for our people. It is about family, duty, sacrifice, and resilience. The atmosphere is rich and Likitalo’s unhurried and lyrical storytelling takes us on a luxurious journey that sweeps us off our feet. And I want to snuggle up in a great armchair in front of a fire and read it all over again.

You absolutely need the second of this series, Sisters of the Crescent Empress on Amazon(US), your local library, and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.


What is your favorite historical fantasy?

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