Summary: Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war. Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos. The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.
Review: I want to start by saying a huge thank you to Heilig’s publicity team that reached out to me to see if I was interested in reading an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. On This Unworthy Scaffold is one of my most anticipated releases in 2021 and I literally screamed a little when I got the email asking if I was interested. On This Unworthy Scaffold is the third and final book in the Shadow Players series. I won’t go too much into a summary of the book because there is a summary above and also this is the third book in a series. If you haven’t read the first two books you can read my reviews for For a Muse of Fireand A Kingdom for a Stage. This series follows Jetta, her family, and the friends she makes along the way. I’ve come to really love all of the side characters that make up the main group. Jetta and the rebels have a plan. But as things usually go, nothing goes according to plan. The plot of this story was really compelling. Jetta and Theodora go off on one mission. With this we finally get to see Aquitan. I liked this part of the story. We get to see Jetta think on her feet. She’s still often worried that her malheur. I liked that there was talk of her taking the elixir, a version of modern-day medication. I liked that she was aware of it and questioned herself sometimes to wonder if she was making good choices or not. I also really liked Jetta’s problem solving. She’s not afraid to stand up to those in power. I thought it was really clever the way that she brought things full circle when she finally performed in Aquitan. I just genuinely enjoyed seeing her in her own element, making choices on the fly to get herself out of the situation that she found herself in. I also loved Theodora. She’s an engineer/inventor. I feel like I didn’t get to see as much of her as I would have liked, but I still liked what we did see. She’s smart and unafraid to say what she thinks. Jetta and Theodora working together was really fun to read. The other team is the Tiger, Leo, Akra, Cheeky, and Tia. Cheeky and Tia are absolutely the comedic relief of the story. But they bring good conversations to the table. They are sex workers and it’s always talked about in a positive way, never with any shame. I also still love Akra. He and Jetta have their ups and downs that come from her bringing him back from the dead, but I loved their relationship. And my dear sweet Leo. I hate the way his story ended. No, I don’t hate it. I hate how fitting it was for his part of this story to end that way. Leo has tried so hard to do good and be loved. He faces his own challenges through this series, but he never lets anything get him down for long. His love for Jetta is so clear. Jetta and Leo lift one another up and I couldn’t help but root for them. Overall, this was a beautiful and heartbreaking finale to a series that I will reread and love for years to come. I love these characters. I love this story. It includes a lot of important things, like colonialism and bipolar. It’s filled with diverse and queer characters. It’s also written in a unique format, with sheet music, play scripts, myths, and prose. I cannot recommend this series enough.
Jetta is a prisoner. A prisoner of the armee, a prisoner of fate, and a prisoner of her own madness. Held captive in Hell’s Court—now the workshop of Theodora, the armee engineer and future queen of Chakrana—Jetta knows she needs to escape. But Theodora has the most tempting bait—a daily dose of a medication that treats Jetta’s madness.
But the cost is high. In exchange, Jetta must use her power over dead spirits to trap their souls into flying machines—ones armed with enough firepower to destroy every village in Chakrana. And Theodora and her armee also control Le Trépas—a terrifying necromancer who once had all of Chakrana under his thumb, and Jetta’s biological father. Jetta fears the more she uses her powers, the more she will be like Le Trépas—especially now that she has brought her brother, Akra, back from the dead.
Jetta knows Le Trépas can’t be trusted. But when Akra teams up with Leo, the handsome smuggler who abandoned her, to pull off an incredible escape, they insist on bringing the necromancer along. The rebels are eager to use Le Trépas’s and Jetta’s combined magic against the invading colonists. Soon Jetta will face the choice between saving all of Chakrana or becoming like her father, and she isn’t sure which she’ll choose.
Acclaimed author Heidi Heilig creates a rich world inspired by Southeast Asian cultures and French colonialism. Her characters are equally complex and nuanced, including a bipolar heroine and biracial love interest. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts, and ephemera such as songs, maps, and letters, A Kingdom for a Stage is a vivid, fast-paced journey that weaves magic, simmering romance, and the deep bonds of family with the high stakes of epic adventure. It will thrill fans of Stephanie Garber, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir. Review:
I fucking love this series. Can that be my whole review? Because really, I just loved everything about this book. Jetta is really coming into her own. She’s still really worried about her madness and that’s prevalent for most of the book. But I think she does really well with it. She’s strong and brave. She uses her abilities to keep her family safe, and that might just mean siding with the rebels. I loved the complexities of the choices she had to make. She learns new things, but also sometimes from people she doesn’t trust and deals with unexpected consequences. Jetta is a complex and fascinating girl. I’d also love to know more about her parent’s history in this world’s past.
Then there’s her brother, Akra. She’s brought him back from the dead and he’s still trying to figure out what that means. I loved how close Jetta and Akra are in this book. It was clear in the last book that Jetta really loved her brother, but in this one, we get to see it and I’m always here for good sibling relationships.
Leo was an interesting character. He’s invested in helping the rebels, but doing that means he’s against his brother and sister. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of the story and I really enjoyed all the complications it brought.
There are so many other characters I could talk about, but there are just too many. I loved them all. They each brought something unique to the story.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the way it was written and the story itself. I loved the world and all its complications. I love each and every one of the characters. I just loved this book. I cannot wait for the next (and I think the last) book in the series.
Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.
Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. Review:
I loved this book. I put it off for so long because it’s a pretty thick book. But I’m mad at myself for waiting. I enjoyed the hell out of this story.
Jetta is a shadow player. But she’s more than that. She has a magical ability that is forbidden. She’s trying to help her family get a better life by showcasing their talent as shadow players to gain a place on a ship. I loved Jetta. She wanted to do more. But she was scared because her mother trained her that she’s never to show or tell about her abilities. But when they’re present when the rebels attack, she chooses to help instead of hiding. I liked her because she almost always tried to do what was best for her family, even if that meant defying them and making hard choices.
I loved all the other characters too. They were complicated and not a single one of them was one thing. They were so complex and well developed. I am dying for the next book to see what’s going to happen in this world.
The world was so interesting. There’s an author’s note in the back of the book that explains it’s not supposed to be historical. But it’s drawn from both Asian and French culture. I really thought this was so interesting. The French was a bit tough only because I don’t speak it, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story at all. The world was so interesting and well developed. The world is large but has many issues. The politics were fascinating and took turns I wouldn’t have seen coming a million miles away. I loved that I was surprised and I loved the intricacies of the world and politics.
Overall, I was easily sucked into this world. I’m craving to know more about the magic and the history. I also am dying to know what will happen with all the chaos that Jetta has created. I love this book and I wish more people were talking about it.
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out. Review:
I read the first book in this series (reviewed here) because I was going to an event where this author was going to be. I am very glad I did read that book because I met the author and she was completely wonderful. She was funny and I just adored meeting her. So, after that event I thought I should probably get this book and read it (as well as all her other books but those will be for their own reviews.)
I adored this book just as much as the first. There were times where I thought to myself that Heidi was really going to do this or that to me and then she turned everything around again much to my pleasure. I love the concept behind the magic in this series. Being ‘Navigators’ they can travel through time, but only if they really believe in the place that they are going to, as well as having a map of that time and place. I just find time travel in general so compelling, but this method was so unique and interesting to me. I also really enjoyed how the author incorporated a combination or history and mythology. So, the characters visit real places in history as well as places that cannot be proven to have existed. I just loved it.
Next are the characters. I think there’s a really interesting father/daughter dynamic here that I appreciate, specifically because I was raised by my father in a single parent home. I really felt like her father wasn’t as present as he was in the first book and I think I would have liked just a little bit more insight into his struggles of fighting his addictions for his daughter. Nix was still my favorite. She’s fierce, strong, clever, and unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. She’s insanely curious and always trying to learn and I really loved that about her. I also adored her love interest. Kashmir was exactly what I wanted him to be. I’m happy we got chapters from his perspective. I felt like it gave a bit more insight into his character. We learned more about his fears and insecurities and I liked that.
The rest of the supporting characters were as enjoyable as they were in the first book, but we didn’t really get any further insight into the familiar characters which I would have liked. Instead, we met new characters and learned all about their struggles and goals.
Overall, this was a great sequel. I enjoyed all of the different aspects of the story and plot. I loved all the dynamics between the characters. Time traveling pirates is all you have to say to me and I’m sold.
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear. Review:
Pirates is something I’m always interested in. It’s a buzzword of mine. This story was not about pirates in the way that I originally thought. The Girl from Everywhere is more a story of a father and daughter and their found family. I loved it. It was fast paced and exciting. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed following Nix and her adventures. She’s brave and funny, curious and ambitious. I thought she was a great main character. Her relationship with her father, the Capitan, was complex and dysfunctional. It brought a really interesting dynamic to the story. They were sassy and complicated. I was happy to see Nix stand up for herself and fight for her right to learn more and for her father to treat her better. This relationship took centerstage in the book. Nix was constantly trying to save her father from himself and cleaning up after him.
I loved the supporting characters. The fellow pirates each had their own unique and thought out back story. I liked that they had their own personalities and each added something special to the story.
Finally, the setting was my favorite part. I loved seeing historic Hawaii and the myths and lore than come from there. There were also a few other places visited. I loved the magic, time traveling pirates, it was interesting and unique. I would have appreciated learning a bit more about how the time travel magic actually worked.
Overall, this story was fun and interesting. I couldn’t get enough of the banter between characters and the antics they got up to. I’m interested to see what else they get up to in the next book.