Carissa Broadbent’s The Crowns of Nyaxia series contains a duet called the Nightborn Duet, which is the first two installments and follows the story of Raihn and Oraya. This duet was described as being perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and I can see the comparison for both. As we got rivals to lovers, deadly competition, action packed, and vampires with wings. I was debated on separating my review of The Serpent and the Wings of Night from The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King, but decided to combine the two.
The Serpent and the Wings of Night
- Published: August 30, 2022
- Page Count: 532 pages
- Genre: Dark Fantasy
For humans and vampires, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.
The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.
But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.
Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown… and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.
But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.
The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King
- Published: April 14, 2023
- Page Count: 665
- Genre: Dark Fantasy
Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power.
In the wake of the Kejari, everything Oraya once thought to be true has been destroyed. A prisoner in her own kingdom, grieving the only family she ever had, and reeling from a gutting betrayal, she no longer even knows the truth of her own blood. She’s left only with one certainty: she cannot trust anyone, least of all Raihn.
The House of Night, too, is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are none too eager to accept a Turned king, especially one who was once a slave. And the House of Blood digs their claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside.
When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, taking the deal is her only chance at reclaiming her kingdom–and gaining her vengeance against the lover who betrayed her. But to do so, she’ll need to harness a devastating ancient power, intertwined with her father’s greatest secrets.
But with enemies closing in on all sides, nothing is as it seems. As she unravels her past and faces her future, Oraya finds herself forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power – and the devastating love that could be her downfall.
Thoughts on the Nightborn Duet
This duet starts off solely from the POV of Oraya but switches to a duel POV between the two main characters. In the first book, Oraya has been the adoptive human daughter of Hiaj King (one of two Nightborn clans) and enters into a deadly competition called Kejari. This competition starts with fifty individuals and through five trials spread out over the course of three months that whittles down to one individual. Whoever survives is given a gift from the vampire goddess, Nyaxia. Oraya wants to win, so she can be transformed into something stronger than human and use that power to find what remains of her real family.
Through the competition she meets Raihn, a Rishan (other of the two Nightborn clan) turned vampire who was a former slave, that she ends up teaming up with after nearly dying due to being the only human in the competition. In exchange for her helping him through the competition, he will ensure that she doesn’t have to worry about the other vampires constantly trying to kill her outside of the trials. As time progresses, the two become extremely close and even after the terms of their agreement end the two decide to stick together as neither can go through with killing the other.
I wasn’t worried about either of them dying as I knew both of them made it to the next book. I just wasn’t sure how that was going to be possible. I won’t give spoilers on what actually happened, but it was a rollercoaster. A lot was revealed at once including who the heirs of both Hiaj and Risha vampires were. Not that I was surprised completely by either. I assumed Raihn was one immediately when Oraya mentioned seeing a pattern on his back that looked like it was a scar or burn. Clearly, he was trying to hide it considering Vincent (Oraya’s father) was killing any potential heir from that clan. And Oraya becoming the heir for Hiaj vampires make sense considering Vincent’s interest in her and desire that she make a bond with him that would ensure that she could never hurt Vincent. Though there was no way she was going to ask for that considering he destroyed her one and only reason she had wanted the bond in the first place.
Similar to From Blood and Ash, Raihn in attempt to keep Oraya and protect her after the competition gets married to her. Granted, like Poppy, Oraya is reeling after his betrayal and struggling with the fact she still loves him despite everything. So, most of the second book is focused on Oraya learning how to cope with those revelations and coming to terms with what that means. As well as, not trusting or wanting to be close to Raihn, but despite trying to stay away from him that is made impossible as they have to work together to get the Bloodborn vampires out of their kingdom. Plus, Raihn despite calling her a prisoner queen, does everything to make sure she’s not powerless: he teaches her to fly, he gives her weapons, he trains with her, etc.
The two end of reconciling and getting back together for real. Which wasn’t a surprise, but how they got the Hiaj and Risha vampires to finally work together was. Raihn had issues with his rise to power, considering all, if not most, of his nobles knew him as a former slave. So, they didn’t respect him. Not to mention, the Bloodborn Prince was constantly causing issues and turning everyone against each other. Until it eventualy forced both clans that still followed Raihn and Oraya to work together. Even then, they didn’t have great odds but they managed to make it work. Especially once Oraya got Nyaxia to appear during battle. Things ended quickly after that.
I won’t reveal what happened, but I’m curious to see how things will play out in the rest of the Crowns of Nyaxia series since there will be more books in this universe. However, those will be told from other perspectives.
Overall, I seriously loved this duet. I would give both books a 4.25 star rating. Currently, these books are available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you have that subscription and want something new to read, I would recommend checking these out.
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