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Oculta

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After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio. That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio. That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime syndicates. Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. The mysterious organization responsible for his brother’s murder has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass. But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?


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After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio. That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio. That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime syndicates. Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. The mysterious organization responsible for his brother’s murder has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass. But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?

30 review for Oculta

  1. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    On my blog. Rep: Latinx coded cast & setting, gay mc CWs: violence, gore, body horror Galley provided by publisher In all honesty, Oculta suffered a little bit from two things: just how much I remember enjoying Nocturna and my changing feelings towards YA fantasy since then. While I still really enjoyed the book — and the ending had me on the edge of my seat — I had to force myself to pick it up at times (although I did really enjoy reading it once I’d done that). Oculta opens a few months after On my blog. Rep: Latinx coded cast & setting, gay mc CWs: violence, gore, body horror Galley provided by publisher In all honesty, Oculta suffered a little bit from two things: just how much I remember enjoying Nocturna and my changing feelings towards YA fantasy since then. While I still really enjoyed the book — and the ending had me on the edge of my seat — I had to force myself to pick it up at times (although I did really enjoy reading it once I’d done that). Oculta opens a few months after the end of Nocturna, with Alfie and Finn back in their respective lives. The events of the book centre on a peace conference, between Castallan and Englass. But not everyone wants the conference to go ahead, and a series of murders force Alfie and Finn back together to investigate. What can I say about this book that I haven’t already said somewhere about Nocturna? Firstly, I think this series has some of the most immersive worldbuilding I’ve read in YA fantasy. Everything feels real, and tangible, in a way that I don’t often feel I get in YA SFF. And it does so without too many periods of infodumping. (Although, to be fair, I have a tendency to skim those anyway these days.) And then there’s the characters. I loved Alfie and Finn in the first book, and I adored them just as much here. We also get to see from Luka’s POV, finally, in this one, and I really enjoyed that extra dimension to it all. That being said, I’ve never seen Alfie and Finn as romance potential (personally, of course), so when it started getting romantic between them, I was a little bit bored. Like, I love them individually and as friends, but I don’t love them together. I’m aware that’s likely just me, though. The best part of this book, however, was the ending. It was the perfect ending to stop you short and make you maybe swear out loud. The kind of ending that makes you wish desperately that you weren’t reading the series as it released, but already had the next book on hand. So this review is a big, massive hint that you should read these books. Right now, preferably.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    08.12.2019 Finding out there’s two more books in this series, thank you thank you! More Alfie, Finn and Luka Yesssssss!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anandi Puritipati

    *I need a minute* edit: 25/04/21 ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. TWs: PTSD, hallucinations, mentions of past childhood and domestic abuse, blood, mild gore, panic attacks, suicidal ideation(like, in a roundabout way), depression, mentions of alcohol abuse. Oculta is the second book of the A Forgery of Magic series by Maya Motayne, and it picks up almost immediately after the events of Nocturna. Sombra, the shadow-God, is defeate *I need a minute* edit: 25/04/21 ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. TWs: PTSD, hallucinations, mentions of past childhood and domestic abuse, blood, mild gore, panic attacks, suicidal ideation(like, in a roundabout way), depression, mentions of alcohol abuse. Oculta is the second book of the A Forgery of Magic series by Maya Motayne, and it picks up almost immediately after the events of Nocturna. Sombra, the shadow-God, is defeated (for now, *wink wink*), Alfie is officially the crown prince and he’s not fighting this position anymore! He wants to do good for his people, and fill his brother’s shoes, sure, but as himself!! MY BOY EXPERIENCED GROWTH, Y’ALL! And, Finn, of course, is just off galavanting, messing rich people’s lives up (communism, but also not, you know?), freaking out over a new development in her proprio (yes remember those peter pan shadow thingies? Insane right?) and missing Alfie and denying it very very very adamantly (idiots in love>>>>>> Every Other Trope). Everything is not sunshine and rainbows, however. Alfie is trying to mend the relationship between his kingdom and the colonizers, and this upsets his people. Understandably, so. But he has good intentions and no one is truly willing to listen. Also, remember the bull-tattoo thing we kept seeing in the last book? Turns out they’re a group called Los Toros (yes, on the nose, i know) and they’re back to fucking shit up for the royal family, and they start by murdering people on the council in favour of this peace summit with the Englass. They also show up where Finn is and steal the Cloak of Invisibility from her, and now she’s back on her way to the Capital to warn Alfie. Basically, the white people are coming back, there are assassin murderers roaming free in San Cristobal, Finn is a thief leader now (OH YEAH THAT HAPPENS BTW), and the gang has to band together for another week of shenanigans so that chaos does not descend on their very recently saved world again. As with the previous book, this one is also just...so unapologetically Latine. The world is still just as colourful and bright, and coming back to it just felt so amazing! We are still talking about colonization - even more so in this book what with the peace summit being a very central plotline - and we are condemning it while acknowledging the generational trauma it wrought and it’s just..call it a bias, but, MAN, when Luka called that white woman’s skin mayonnaise coloured, I had to set my kindle aside to For A Moment, you know? I’m just a big fan of Maya Motayne’s writing at this point, to be honest. I love her world-building and love her writing style! It balances the intricacy of atmospheric writing, with the sharp, quick-wittedness of her characters so well and I just always get lost in her stories and stop thinking about things completely! Which is great for me as a reader, but horrid as a reviewer, because I have to vague it like a wild woman but OH WELL! Anyway, yes, the writing style is not overly flowery, but it’s also so perfectly atmospheric and immersive and you’re lost in this very classical fantasy vibe of it all and it’s just a very fun, enjoyable time all around the table! In addition to the colonization aspect of it all, this book also explores the themes of grief and guilt, identity and how prolonged abuse can mess with that so much. Finn’s entire arc is her overcoming this influence her adoptive father has on her, and doing it while understanding how to define herself as an individual outside of him and his years of abuse. I know it’s not easy, in real life, to just be able to do that, but her journey is still really impactful, in my opinion, because it kind of shows you that it can happen. Even if it’s not That Easy. Luka and Alfie, on the other hand, have to deal with grief and survivor’s guilt, and losing their sense of self amongst it all. Again, their arcs are a little compact for them to be “realistic”, but, I still think they were really well done, and they had a very positive impact on me, and that’s all I can say about it, really. Also, Luka has a more prominent role in this book, and I honestly just enjoy him so much! He’s just a fun character to have around and he’ll do insane shit and it’s just SO NICE!! As with the last book, Finn and Alfie were again, so goddamn adorable! They’re really just, like, absolutely moronic about their feelings for each other which just makes the book 100x funnier and angstier all at once, and it was such a fun ride! Seriously, Idiots In Love>>>>>>>>>Any Other Trope!! TRUST ME!! Plotwise, this book has a lot going on, but also it doesn’t really feel like it. It’s not all that unpredictable, but all this information is very interestingly placed so it’s kind of fun to see how the characters approach the problem that they have in front of them. I loved Finn’s Madre of the streets plotline A LOT, and would’ve loved more of that. Here’s hoping there’s more of the whole thief gang thing in book three! Also Alfie keeps having these weird nightmares and magic operating problems throughout the book and they are not addressed because of Reasons That Will Shock You (Or Not)((Not Clickbait)). My only complaint with the book is that, I DID NOT KNOW THAT THERE WAS A THIRD ONE COMING WHEN I STARTED READING IT HELLO???? So imagine my surprise when I got to about 80% of the book and realized there was just A Lot Going On, and then I looked the series up on Goodreads just to reassure myself, but GUESS WHAT? THIS IS A TRILOGY AND IT ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER SO???? HELLO??????? Jokes aside, this book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint! It was a delight to read, and I cannot wait for the third book!! It felt so so great to be back in Castellan with Alfie, Finn and Luka and I’m so happily looking forward to more!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nameless

    like, i'm gonna read it, but from the summary it seems pretty much useless as the first book already completed whatever story there war. it also reminds me far too much of the games thing-y that was in the dark shade of magic series... like, i'm gonna read it, but from the summary it seems pretty much useless as the first book already completed whatever story there war. it also reminds me far too much of the games thing-y that was in the dark shade of magic series...

  5. 4 out of 5

    真 陈

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Can't wait to read the second book. Please let Finn and Alfie end up together. The first book ended with so many questions but I still love it!!! Edit: 7/5/21 So the thing about suspicion: It sucks half the fun away from plot twists. The thing about plot twists: They suck the life out of you. The thing about Oculta: It's full of both. Oh, see my old review up there? The more-fangirl-screaming-than-actual-review-on-the-masterpiece-that-is-Nocturna? Well, Oculta ended with MORE MALDITO QUESTIONS. Tbh I Can't wait to read the second book. Please let Finn and Alfie end up together. The first book ended with so many questions but I still love it!!! Edit: 7/5/21 So the thing about suspicion: It sucks half the fun away from plot twists. The thing about plot twists: They suck the life out of you. The thing about Oculta: It's full of both. Oh, see my old review up there? The more-fangirl-screaming-than-actual-review-on-the-masterpiece-that-is-Nocturna? Well, Oculta ended with MORE MALDITO QUESTIONS. Tbh I came to check if they updated the synopsis, because after finishing Oculta I was kinda disappointed to not see any scenes even resembling "Finn is forced to preside over a hidden competition that boasts a legendary prize". So I guess the supposed prize found a better purpose in serving the plot. I might as well review now. (I saved my thoughts on the ending last so I won't freak people out.) First off, Nothing much happened in the first 10 chapters. Just Finn's "self discovery", Alfie being a cesspool of guilt, and Luka MIA most of the time Alfie needed him, but the poor boy deserves some alone time after that Sombra debacle. Things inched forward a bit when Finn returned to San Cristobal and the Englassens came for the peace summit (I could feel the tension through the pages) and then there were murders and even povs of the victims, which was a nice but sad touch. What followed was about 150 pages of a wild goose chase. Sure, the wild geese were men who were secretive over a /unique personnel with unique propio /my personal favourite, the guy with the weird sense of humor. The thief lords didn't quite live up to my expectations and frankly it felt weird seeing Finn try to help Anabeltilia, but Anabel is a rock. A diligent, helpful, loyal rock, but still a rock. Alright, of everything I said in the last two sentences, one of them is false. I'll leave you to ponder. MOVING ON. The wild goose chase mystery didn't really appeal to me, but that could be because this is a fantasy novel which focuses on world-building, character development and plot, and NOT a mystery main. For a fantasy, I'd rate it an AMAZING one. Plot-wise, it was good. The concept was interesting and the synopsis promised the drama that was to come, what with peace talks in the middle of murders (made me think the worst could happen) and really, there was so much potential for things to go wrong. That's better than the average story where the hero/villian's plan is perfect until things go wrong in the end/the heroes make a comeback/happy ending. In Oculta, it felt like every new revelation could change everything, reshuffle the cards, make or break the peace summit. And it was these risks that somehow found their way out of the pages and gave me the energy to keep reading because confession: the mystery was so slow that I was reading on for the sake of the pure love I have for Nocturna. I think it would have been better to hash out a few of those flashbacks at the start of the story or add a little more interaction between the trio because MISCOMMUNICATION IS A KILLER. And the mystery was too slow. Again. My other problem is the relationship between Finn and Alfie. I agree with many other people on the fact that Oculta and Nocturna may both have two main characters, but in reality Alfie is overshadowing Finn. Sure, it's a coincidence that Alfie released Sombra and who would Sombra possess than Finn's demon--Ignacio. Sureeeee, the information Alfie desperately needed was the exact same thing Finn needed to uncover to get free from being a thief lord. The synopsis should've said "and Finn is forced to join hands with Alfie to stop the latest disaster" because she is. What I DON'T agree is that how can you meet someone for um... three days, separate for four months, reunite and just I had no issues about the colonization talk and all that, but the Englassen people gave me a weird feeling like goosebumps. And then Finn said something that planted the seed of doubt in my mind (re: suspicion). Thank you Finn! More chasing after broken trails, more miscommunication, more foreshadowing and then I ended up on page 300 and FINALLY THE ACTION STARTS. Better late than never I guess. Word of advice: If you're reading a digital copy of Oculta and happen to like guessing plot twists like me, don't just pour over the chapter content--THROW YOURSELF INTO IT AND MELT YOUR BRAIN INTO EVERY SINGLE LETTER If the first two thirds of this book was slow, then the last third was where all the action happened and everything fell into place. Imagine eating a pudding with a dainty spoon. For 200+ pages you eat like you have the decorum of a noblewoman with a bird's stomach and anorexia. Then, for the last 100 pages you throw your spoon away and dive headfirst into the banquet table and just keep shovelling food down your throat until you feel like physically combusting but you can't becuase there is so much food left. That's how I felt about the explosion of information at the end. So now that I have calmed down in the process of writing this review... OH MY FREAKING GOD THAT ENDING-- HOW CAN THAT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN IS IT EVEN LEGAL FOR SO MANY BOOKS TO USE THAT OVERUSED TWIST AND YET SURPRISE ME WITH IT EVERY TIME LIKE IF YOU WERE GOING FOR A CROSSOVER THEN YOU HAVE THE ENDING. HOW CAN MY SIXTH SENSE BE SMARTER THAN ME AND REGISTER THE CLUES BUT MY BRAIN JUST DIDN'T LINK IT TOGETHER???!!! Stupid brain. Major spoiler ahead: AND ARGH I KNEW IT WOULD BE A CLIFFHANGER BUT THIS? IT IS SO PREDICTABLE THAT THE SECOND BOOK IN A TRILOGY ALWAYS ENDS ON A SPOILER BUT THIS???????? I AM METAPHORICALLY HAVING A HEART ATTACK AND THE DOCTOR ISN'T GONNA BE SAVING MY LIFE UNTIL NEXT YEAR JUST-- JUST-- JUST PULL THE PLUG! I WANT TO BE FROZEN IN ONE OF THOSE CRYOGENIC PODS UNTIL THE FINAL BOOK IS RELEASED.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    “A THIEF MADE A LORD. A PRINCE MADE A VILLAIN. A DEADLY GAME FOR POWER.” Maya Motayne’s breathtakingly exhilarating sequel to Nocturna is positively magnificent. I fell in love with the multifaceted characters, uniquely original magic system and the irresistibly detailed setting of San Christobal.This Latinx YA Fantasy is Sure to be a must read of 2021! After saving Castallan from an ancient evil,Alfie and Finn haven’t spoken in months.Prince Alfie, as future King is preparing to host an internati “A THIEF MADE A LORD. A PRINCE MADE A VILLAIN. A DEADLY GAME FOR POWER.” Maya Motayne’s breathtakingly exhilarating sequel to Nocturna is positively magnificent. I fell in love with the multifaceted characters, uniquely original magic system and the irresistibly detailed setting of San Christobal.This Latinx YA Fantasy is Sure to be a must read of 2021! After saving Castallan from an ancient evil,Alfie and Finn haven’t spoken in months.Prince Alfie, as future King is preparing to host an international peace summit-with the kingdom that enslaved his people. But a mysterious group responsible for his brother’s death are back- and have targeted the summit. Finn spends her days travelling and revelling in her new found freedom,until she’s forced into leading one of San Cristobal’s crime families and made a thief Lord. Finn and Alfie’s paths are entwined once more as their shared enemy seeks to destabilise the kingdom and plunge them into a devastating war. A truly inspiring tale of love,loss,identity and the effects of systemic oppression. I find the pacing here flows much better than Nocturna which made the action all the more enjoyable.The plot was also more complex and I felt Motayne excelled in giving Alfie, Luka and Finn an emotional depth which I found made their motives very relatable.This was especially true with Finn and the PTSD she experiences from her childhood trauma. The chemistry between Alfie and Finn was incredibly written too and I liked how their friendship/ relationship developed rather organically. I simply cannot believe how incredible the ending is and I NEED to know what happens next. If you enjoy YA Fantasy, books with unique magic systems and strong (diverse) characters then you should definitely check out this out (this is the second book in the A Forgery Of Magic series so definitely check out Nocturna too) And also, I just wanted to say thank you to Hodder&Stoughton and Net Galley for the Digital ARC.

  7. 5 out of 5

    cielo (bookrokosmos)

    I still haven’t gotten my copy 🥴 but i’m so hyped to start it i might just check out the ebook from my library 😂

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    CWs: Death, familial death, and grief; allusions to child abuse and domestic abuse; descriptions of violence, blood, and injury; hallucinations; racism; references to colonization and enslavement I feel like I've waited so long for Oculta to finally come into being, and now I'm just as desperate for the next installment all over again. Oculta is a slow boil full of court politics and political intrigue, underscored by political unrest and a slew of crimes stemming from the underworld. There's CWs: Death, familial death, and grief; allusions to child abuse and domestic abuse; descriptions of violence, blood, and injury; hallucinations; racism; references to colonization and enslavement I feel like I've waited so long for Oculta to finally come into being, and now I'm just as desperate for the next installment all over again. Oculta is a slow boil full of court politics and political intrigue, underscored by political unrest and a slew of crimes stemming from the underworld. There's mystery, there's royal decorum, and a delicious slow burn romance between the two leads, and that's what makes it such a fun sequel to read. What I enjoyed about Oculta most is that it does what most YA fantasies won't in that it actually explores and contends with the consequences of colonialism, and how the power imbalance between the colonizer and the colonized can be corrected, if at all. What I love about this series is that it frames language itself as power and as magic, and magic literally comes from Spanish in the kingdom of Castallan. When the colonizing kingdom of Englass tried to systemically wipe out their language, they nearly lost all connection to magic, and when the story begins, the Englassan kingdom is still functioning on slave labor of Castallanos whose magic has been forcibly stripped away. As Castallan enters very fraught International Peace Summit with Englass, it is with the aim of securing reparations and putting an end to those violent and dehumanizing systems of oppression. There are so many great discussions in here about the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor and what steps have to be taken in order to make amends, no matter how "inconvenient" or "uncomfortable" it may be. While many of the themes will already be familiar to marginalized readers, especially BIPOC readers, it's a great jumping off point for readers who strive to be "allies" by examining their own biases and privileges. But also, just like the first book, the story has a lot to do with legacies—both those we inherit and those we create. This peace summit, for example, was the life-long dream of Alfie's late brother, Dez, which makes Alfie even more aware of how desperate he is to see it through at all costs. Finn suddenly finds herself as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime syndicates, a legacy she had never intended to take on, and has to learn how to work through her own trauma and help Alfie solve the mysteries threatening the peace summit as she tries to free herself from this responsibility she never wanted. So it's very much a story about the expectations and legacies they're fighting against, in some ways, as much as it's about what they're fighting for and the kind of world they want to leave behind. My one issue with the story is that all the villainy (in this installment specifically) seems to boil down to A Few Bad Eggs, which isn't inherently a bad thing, but I think it slightly undermines the evils of systemic oppression perpetuated by entire groups and cultures that I think the story is striving to explore. However, the ending and the final cliffhanger really made up for both that and the occasional drop in pace, and I'm so curious to see how the third book is going to pick up and color the events of this sequel considering the new information we got on the very last page. While Book 2 is a completely different beast from Book 1, I really enjoy the range we see in both, and I appreciate how this sequel complicates what we were already given in the first book. I think this is a phenomenal fantasy series that is wholly unique and does its Latinx-inspired world-building justice. It's one of my favorite YA fantasy series being published right now, and I would definitely recommend it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Manon the Malicious

    *4.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Oculta is the sequel to Nocturna which I read when it first came out. We meet Alfie, Finn and Luka again as Finn is far away on her own journey, Alfie is feeling every kind of guilty and can't face what he did while Luka hates himself for surviving and puts himself in danger day after day. So all is not well as we found the gang again and things keep getting worse as a new gang emerges and threatens t *4.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Oculta is the sequel to Nocturna which I read when it first came out. We meet Alfie, Finn and Luka again as Finn is far away on her own journey, Alfie is feeling every kind of guilty and can't face what he did while Luka hates himself for surviving and puts himself in danger day after day. So all is not well as we found the gang again and things keep getting worse as a new gang emerges and threatens the entire country's security... Oculta is a great sequel. I got to remember the first book as I read this one and that was great. I fell a little more in love with these three characters the more the book went on and I legit saw none of the twists coming. It's just such an intricate magic system and world. I love everything about it. I love the city too and how it's separated in two, with the castle on one side and the "real" world on the other. I also love how the author added her culture to the world and makes such a compelling and interesting and layered atmosphere. Also loved the criticism of colonialism. Love the relationships between the characters too, whether it's the romantic ones or the friendships. I'm just really looking forward to the next book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Holguin

    I PRE-ORDERED IT I PRE-ORDERED IT AHHHHHHHHH

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    —Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 Oculta is the page-turning continuation to the Nocturna series! Filled with tons of politics, intrigue, and filled to brim with captivating plot threads, and especially further development into the characters, this is a phenomenal sequel! This was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2021 and it did not disappoint, with a focus on the layered politics and world established in the first book, Oculta expands on it as Alfie and Finn are reunited once again to uncover —Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 Oculta is the page-turning continuation to the Nocturna series! Filled with tons of politics, intrigue, and filled to brim with captivating plot threads, and especially further development into the characters, this is a phenomenal sequel! This was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2021 and it did not disappoint, with a focus on the layered politics and world established in the first book, Oculta expands on it as Alfie and Finn are reunited once again to uncover the motives behind a mysterious organization threatening to ruin a peace summit in the Castallano kingdom! Finn and Alfie, where do I start...their relationship and development in this novel was the foundation of this exceptional continuation! Finn finds herself returning to the city of San Cristobal with a new position as thief lord, brining her both annoyance and help along the way as she tries to uncover a conspiracy against the Peace Summit with Englass. Alfie is assuming more responsibility as the future king, while doing what he can to protect his people. While at the same time he's also trying to live up to his brother's legacy, wishes, and find a connection to his magic again as he grapples with the fact that its quickly rejecting him. Alfie and Finn deserve the biggest hugs after all they went through in this book tbh...the absolute highlight was seeing them grow as characters, but also learn to accept and understand their feelings for one another! Finn and Alfie's reunion had me sobbing, despite their hesitancy to explain their feelings, they still know they can rely on each other as friends and allies to uncover this conspiracy There's a mystery to solve when it comes to learning about The Toros motives and that offers so many opportunities to explore more of the world when it comes to San Cristobal, I loved that a lot! The magic of Propios expands a bit more too, especially through Finn's arc which becomes quite an important part of her journey as she's overcoming her own trauma. She's still her snarky, comedic self and I loved how that showed at every moment whenever she appeared on page! Luka also has his own arc too, feeling a deep sense of guilt after being one of the only one's left after being taken over by sombra. He has his secrets, but despite it all he and Alfie learn to build their dynamic even more despite difficult situations surrounding them. Still reeling from the fun journey this book took me on and I cannot wait to read the third book! (more notes tk!) Oculta succeeds as a political-heavy and character-driven sequel in the Nocturna series as a mysterious organization threatens an important peace summit. As it explores politics, magic, all wrapped up in a thrilling page-turning story that will leave you eager for Book 3!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelvin

    I've said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t know who the audience for this book is. On one hand, this book is written in a very simple fashion. Everything is surface level, there’s little to no depth to the setting, the characters, or the plot. If you want a quick fast read that’s the literacy equivalent of skating on ice, then Oculta is for you. For me, I’m a reader who enjoys a story with nuance, where everything isn’t as plain and simple and the characters have depth and history. In Oculta I've said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t know who the audience for this book is. On one hand, this book is written in a very simple fashion. Everything is surface level, there’s little to no depth to the setting, the characters, or the plot. If you want a quick fast read that’s the literacy equivalent of skating on ice, then Oculta is for you. For me, I’m a reader who enjoys a story with nuance, where everything isn’t as plain and simple and the characters have depth and history. In Oculta the plot is mind-numbingly straightforward, the worldbuilding is nonexistent and I have the strong feeling that the plot of this book is straight-up boilerplate fantasy on riods. I was looking forward to the political intrigued hinted at in the synopsis in this book. This was a golden opportunity for the author to expand on the lore for her series, an opportunity to broaden her narrative universe. But of course, none of this happens. Instead, Englass is just pseudo-England and Castallon is pseudo-Dominican Republic. You know nothing else outside of this. Englass fell into economic disparity, but the author never explains how this happened, especially after Castallon was a former colony to Englass, so how the hell did a former colonial power hemorrhage in its wealth whereas the county they exploited for centuries prospered? The negotiations between both countries were simplified in a way a kid might explain geopolitical discussions. There was a whole lot of “well, as you know, Bob” type of things going on during these meetings. Both sides were sharing information they should’ve known already. Why would the Englassen prince hold an hours-long meeting about Englassen timber for trade when Castallon delegates would have already known this information. Why would the Castallon prince hold an hour-long conference about the various spices of his country for trade when Englass literally raided their entire country for this very reason centuries ago? After reading this book, it felt like a read a 500+ Middle-Grade Fantasy book. Like I said before if you’re into very simple reads and light worldbuilding then this is the book for you. Two stars in GRs means I found the story OK, not terrible. And that sums up my feelings about this book pretty well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Rating: 3.5 starts out of 5 stars Let's just start off with the biggest enemy in this book: THE LACK OF COMMUNICATION FROM ANYONE. Man, so many problems could have been solved faster if people just took the time to talk to each other... Everyone was hiding something from someone. Especially Finn. She was being real annoying. I felt like the book was a little slow in the beginning, but picked up a bit later. The ending definitely didn't go the way that I thought it was going to go, but I didn't ha Rating: 3.5 starts out of 5 stars Let's just start off with the biggest enemy in this book: THE LACK OF COMMUNICATION FROM ANYONE. Man, so many problems could have been solved faster if people just took the time to talk to each other... Everyone was hiding something from someone. Especially Finn. She was being real annoying. I felt like the book was a little slow in the beginning, but picked up a bit later. The ending definitely didn't go the way that I thought it was going to go, but I didn't hate it. I predicted that a certain someone ((view spoiler)[Dez (hide spoiler)] ) was behind all the attacks, but nope. The answer was so obvious and yet I missed it. I'm actually a little disappointed about how obvious it was... Aside from the murder mystery stuff, I really appreciated how the author handled colonialism in this book. For example, when the Englassens gave back historical Castallano documents to Alfie and his family as a "gift"--even though the documents originally belonged to the Castallanos--and how outrageous it was to receive them as such. I enjoyed how Alfie corrected people when they referred to their citizens as property instead as human beings. Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was Finn's new ability to copy and puppet people. That was really interesting. While I understand why Finn didn't want to use that power, I wish she did use it more. Maybe instead of avoiding it since it reminds her of her adoptive father, she could have honed into it and accepted the power as her own. Also, (view spoiler)[James' (hide spoiler)] powers? Super cool but very unfortunate about how it affects their body and how they ended up with that magic in the first place. Overall, I didn't hate the book. It was quite enjoyable to read. I didn't think I was going to pick up the third book, but now that I've finished this one, I have to know what happens after the ending. I just want to fight the Englassens so badly, especially (view spoiler)[Vesper (hide spoiler)] . Would I recommend this book? Yes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Riya Queen

    3.7🌟 Holy maldito- what the heck just happened? I'm just reeling from that effing cliffhanger- I was expecting a lot of things but that cliffhanger. It's just cruel. In a sense, the rest of the story was nothing extraordinary. Again, it reminded me a lot of the shades of magic (aka one of my all time favorite series) in terms of character development and how organic all of them felt to me. The plot took a step away though, and I felt like a little bit of the middle was rather unnecessary. The engl 3.7🌟 Holy maldito- what the heck just happened? I'm just reeling from that effing cliffhanger- I was expecting a lot of things but that cliffhanger. It's just cruel. In a sense, the rest of the story was nothing extraordinary. Again, it reminded me a lot of the shades of magic (aka one of my all time favorite series) in terms of character development and how organic all of them felt to me. The plot took a step away though, and I felt like a little bit of the middle was rather unnecessary. The englassan royals did not appeal to me, (that's the whole point, I know.) And Vesper was meh. I swear if she gets a redemption arc in book 3, I'll sue. One thing which always bothers me is the miscommunication trope, and Oculta makes maximum use of it. Like, I like a good angsty romance with lot of banter, I really do. But all this one made me do was get frustrated. a lot. (honestly, guys. What would it take for you to sit and talk?!) The story took a 180 degree turn at the very end, and i- I just want Alfie, Finn and Luka to be okay and happy. Is that too much to ask for? I don't don't know why I like them so much. Probably because Alfie and Finn remind me a lot about Lila and Kell. And Alfie is just too pure. Protect him at all costs. Overall I'm just continuing because I care about the characters. I'm hoping they'll emerge safe and sound 🥺

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    5/5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the free digital proof in exchange for an honest review! I am in pain. I went into Oculta curious but nothing else. I enjoyed Nocturna, especially its magic and characters, but found the plot to drag a bit at times. But from the get-go, I knew Oculta was different. I was hooked from the first chapters and finished the last 75% in one sitting. I loved it. The story is fast-paced, intriguing and kept me on my toes the whole book although my t 5/5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the free digital proof in exchange for an honest review! I am in pain. I went into Oculta curious but nothing else. I enjoyed Nocturna, especially its magic and characters, but found the plot to drag a bit at times. But from the get-go, I knew Oculta was different. I was hooked from the first chapters and finished the last 75% in one sitting. I loved it. The story is fast-paced, intriguing and kept me on my toes the whole book although my theories about the ending came to be true. Moreover, just as the first book did, I fell in love with Motayne’s characters all over again and got literal heart palpitations reading about Finn and Alfie and seeing the way their relationship evolved. I loved it so, so much. Finally, I have to say that Motayne is a magician. Her world and magic are genius and she managed to avoid the fearful curse of the second book, which tends to be the weakest in a trilogy, more of a filler than anything else, and made Oculta a masterpiece that delves deeper into this world and characters while supporting its own plot. It’s brilliant. I cannot wait for the third book and have no idea what Motayne has in store which makes me even more excited about it all.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rawanaat

    I didn’t realize how much I missed this story and its magic until I started reading. Finn is still just as spunky and Alfie is ever the endearing prince with Luka bringing up the laughs and a bit of shadow of his own.   Plot wise this was really well done even more so than the first book, there were so many elements playing into how the story was shaped I didn’t even notice how much I read through and there was still more to come. The story was packed; it was funny and thrilling, gruesome and dark I didn’t realize how much I missed this story and its magic until I started reading. Finn is still just as spunky and Alfie is ever the endearing prince with Luka bringing up the laughs and a bit of shadow of his own.   Plot wise this was really well done even more so than the first book, there were so many elements playing into how the story was shaped I didn’t even notice how much I read through and there was still more to come. The story was packed; it was funny and thrilling, gruesome and dark at times but still made way for vulnerable moments, to say I devoured it would be understatement, it was just that good. It suffice to say it had all the workings of making it a good fantasy book, as not only the characters were growing and developing but so was the magic, there were so many new shades of it in this book and so many other aspects explored along with the history of Castallan, in the first book it was more of Alfie and Finn against the dark magic to save the world, here, and seeing the aftermath that left a scar wide open and raw was interesting to see.   Anyways I’m even more excited for the third book, I need more of this. The ending just left me speechless, honestly I had an inkling from the beginning, God, I've been hoping for this since the first book but seeing it play out was still overwhelming. Talking about a cliff hanger.  

  17. 4 out of 5

    Itzel

    I can´t believe how fast I read the last bit of this book. I literally couldn´t stop reading because it gets SO good that I just had to finished it. This book is amazing, the first one was not bad at all but this one is such an improvment from Nocturna. There aren´t enough words to express how much I love and adore Finn and how her relationship with Alife keeps developing on this book, it´s such a nice slow burn that, at the end, hits you with SO much feelings all at once. Also I like how the au I can´t believe how fast I read the last bit of this book. I literally couldn´t stop reading because it gets SO good that I just had to finished it. This book is amazing, the first one was not bad at all but this one is such an improvment from Nocturna. There aren´t enough words to express how much I love and adore Finn and how her relationship with Alife keeps developing on this book, it´s such a nice slow burn that, at the end, hits you with SO much feelings all at once. Also I like how the author does not shy away from exploring the trauma that the chracters have gone through and I love the compelxity and deep bond between Alfie and Luka (also we totally need more moments between the three bc yes, they´re trio and they´re amazing) ALSO this book also does not hold back when it comes about talking and dealing with colonialism and racism. And let´s not talk about that ending bc I can´t believe I have to wait at least a year for the next book. 4.5/5 just bc even tho the plot is amazing, you guess a few key points before they happen so when those things happen you´re like "called it". It doesn´t bother me at all and I really don´t know why nobody´s talking about these books (they have all the potential for an amazing netflix show tbh).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Giovanna Conte

    2.75 If I liked the first volume, Nocturna, even though it didn't blow me away, I didn't like this second at all! Alfie and Finn haven't seen each other in months. Alfie is preparing to become heir, while Finn enjoys his freedom from Ignacio traveling. However, a new leader is set to take over and Alfie and Finn are once again forced to work together to preserve the peace of Castallan. My question is a simple one...did we need all these pages, when the whole thing could have been solved with half 2.75 If I liked the first volume, Nocturna, even though it didn't blow me away, I didn't like this second at all! Alfie and Finn haven't seen each other in months. Alfie is preparing to become heir, while Finn enjoys his freedom from Ignacio traveling. However, a new leader is set to take over and Alfie and Finn are once again forced to work together to preserve the peace of Castallan. My question is a simple one...did we need all these pages, when the whole thing could have been solved with half the words written? Did we need Italian or Spanish words thrown in here and there at random? I'm Italian and it's like I'm now "scrivessi qualcosa nella mia lingua, così a caso." In the first book, I had found the writing style to be very slow, almost making it hard to get going. Same thing here. Especially when it's a lot of pages and the story isn't grabbing you, getting to the end seems like an unreachable goal. Just as in the first one, I didn't empathize with the main characters. It's like they're missing something. By the way, I just learned that there will also be a third book, I will read it to conclude the series, but I think I will wait quite a while after the release before starting it. ARC previded by Netgalley in exchange of an honest review

  19. 5 out of 5

    Books and that's the tea

    *Advanced Reader Review* I finished this book in one day! As with the previous book in the series I loved the LatinX world, I loved the vibrancy of the descriptions, I loved the characters, the plotline and the magic system. I was not disappointed at all, the plot only got better with this latest installment. Despite Finn and Alfie having been apart for a few months they are still thinking about each other and soon enough they are drawn back together. They need to work out who Los Toros are and ho *Advanced Reader Review* I finished this book in one day! As with the previous book in the series I loved the LatinX world, I loved the vibrancy of the descriptions, I loved the characters, the plotline and the magic system. I was not disappointed at all, the plot only got better with this latest installment. Despite Finn and Alfie having been apart for a few months they are still thinking about each other and soon enough they are drawn back together. They need to work out who Los Toros are and how they were involved in the disappearance of Alfie's older brother, the crown Prince Dezmin. But the mysterious group are hard to find and even harder to get information from. Not only are they responsible for murders around the city, they are using magic that Alfie & Finn have never seen before and it's threatening to derail the peace talks between Castallan & Englass. Peace talks which Alfie hopes could result in the ending of Englass' caste system giving freedom and magic to the people of Englass. Full Review here: https://booksandthatsthetea.wordpress...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

    I'm not sure how I'm feeling as I anticipate this book. I absolutely LOVED Nocturna but part of what I loved about it was how nicely it wrapped everything up. There were no loose ends, you weren't left wondering what would happen to the characters, even things that could potentially be exploited to make more problems were taken care of, so there is definitely some fear going into this book. When I first heard this was going to be a series I was hoping the future books would follow new characters I'm not sure how I'm feeling as I anticipate this book. I absolutely LOVED Nocturna but part of what I loved about it was how nicely it wrapped everything up. There were no loose ends, you weren't left wondering what would happen to the characters, even things that could potentially be exploited to make more problems were taken care of, so there is definitely some fear going into this book. When I first heard this was going to be a series I was hoping the future books would follow new characters in the same universe- but I now know that is not the case. I will definitely read Oculta but I'm keeping my expectations low for now. And worse case scenario I'll be pleasantly surprised!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Soltero

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *4.5 WHAT THE HELL WAS THE ENDING I feel so confused 😭🤚 Overall I loved this book much more then the first one. Both Finn and Alfie have much depth to their characters. Specifically Finn. I cried a few times during her chapters because I could connect to her on an extremely personal level. I’m so excited for the third book!! Alfie and Finn still had lots of chemistry which I loved so much they deserve the world and back. I’m also happy we got to see a bit of Lukas perspective because I feel like *4.5 WHAT THE HELL WAS THE ENDING I feel so confused 😭🤚 Overall I loved this book much more then the first one. Both Finn and Alfie have much depth to their characters. Specifically Finn. I cried a few times during her chapters because I could connect to her on an extremely personal level. I’m so excited for the third book!! Alfie and Finn still had lots of chemistry which I loved so much they deserve the world and back. I’m also happy we got to see a bit of Lukas perspective because I feel like I got to know him a lot more better. I can’t want to see how everything plays out :))

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mette Christensen

    I got an ARC from netgalley if the book Oculta by Maya Motayne for a honest review. I liked the first book of this series, but second book didn't really catch my attention as much as I had hoped it would. It's a fun story, with a romance story that is some what classic in stories the prince and and thief. The story in it self is entertaining, light and at times fun. But it's just not enough for me at this point. I like the magic idea and the story setting bit it just wasn't enough. So there for my I got an ARC from netgalley if the book Oculta by Maya Motayne for a honest review. I liked the first book of this series, but second book didn't really catch my attention as much as I had hoped it would. It's a fun story, with a romance story that is some what classic in stories the prince and and thief. The story in it self is entertaining, light and at times fun. But it's just not enough for me at this point. I like the magic idea and the story setting bit it just wasn't enough. So there for my rating.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    3.5 stars, rounded down because this book was quite a bit longer than it actually needed to be. However, it was a pretty quick read overall and I appreciated that. The ending was intense and exciting, but it took way too long to get there. This book is also quite gruesome in spots, which didn’t bother me but could definitely be a trigger for others. Overall it was enjoyable but I liked the first one more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fei

    It tickles me to no end that the alfie's people escaped their colonizer and get the opportunity to engage with them and repair the harm (or not). I love that spanish is their language of magic, although seems that there would be more phrases that werent direct exchanged of a word or two of english. Also that ending! Cant wait to read the final book. It tickles me to no end that the alfie's people escaped their colonizer and get the opportunity to engage with them and repair the harm (or not). I love that spanish is their language of magic, although seems that there would be more phrases that werent direct exchanged of a word or two of english. Also that ending! Cant wait to read the final book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    An excellent sequel to Nocturna. Loved the storytelling, the characters and the world building. I found it entertaining and gripping, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holly Olson-Mosby

    I didn't get bored or tune out at any point during this book! My only gripe is there was a lot of repetition of events (characters retelling or ripping events that had just happened), which is really annoying when you read fast. But if you read slowly it would be nice. I didn't get bored or tune out at any point during this book! My only gripe is there was a lot of repetition of events (characters retelling or ripping events that had just happened), which is really annoying when you read fast. But if you read slowly it would be nice.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Riley Wang

    Hi! You might want to publish this in a mobile app so a lot of readers can see your lovely work. Check on the NovelStar app and see how other writers earn by pursuing their passion in writing. You can also check out their Facebook page to meet other writers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amina

    bro dis book is so good. maya motayne is literally a genius, bro marry me plssss. i love how she write every character, i love the setting. i love everything. this is my favorite book series ever and she is my favorite author now. i want a book 3 so bad but idk when it will come out. 😩😭

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    2.5/5 Stars buddy read w Leni🤠 Okay so since I don't feel like writing an essay on what I think of this book, it's suffice to say it was a bit of a shit show. I respect how much time and work the author put in but.. not for me🥴 2.5/5 Stars buddy read w Leni🤠 Okay so since I don't feel like writing an essay on what I think of this book, it's suffice to say it was a bit of a shit show. I respect how much time and work the author put in but.. not for me🥴

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shara

    I really love your story, it deserves a lot of audience. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar, just submit your story to [email protected] or [email protected]

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