Year of the Reaper Readalong Day 4!

Gorgeous photo by @elle.cheshire!

Hey, heyyyy and welcome to day 4 of our Year of the Reaper readalong!

General consensus so far is that Cas deserves the world and I can’t stop crying…

Are you all enjoying it so far? I hope you are!

Have you had any favourite moments? Make sure you let me know in the comments below!

Today we’re reading from chapter 20 to the end of chapter 26, so without further ado, let’s get stuck in!

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Year of the Reaper from chapter 20 to chapter 26. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


We’re beginning today’s section with Cas asking Master Jacomel what really happened to Faro. Master Jac won’t tell him, only tells him that if Ventillas told him Faro was taken away on a ship, then that is what happened. Sigh.

Alas, Cas is now tasked with leading the King and Queen’s court (including Lena) back to Elvira. On the way, Cas tells Ventillas he knows he lied, he knows Faro is dead. Ventillas admits he stabbed Faro himself. Faro certainly did wrong, horribly wrong, but I’m still disappointed that Ventillas would go against Cas’s wishes!

After having a sneaky conversation with some ghosts about a corrupt lynx, Cas and Ventillas, Bittor and the others are off to hunt down the plagued lynx. They fight off four of the lynx and Ventillas very embarrassingly fusses over Cas.

Every now and then, a glimpse of the real Cas is set free. Not the grumpy soul, but the playful happy soul, and every time that happens, my heart melts. Cas, grinning and shaking his sopping wet self out like a dog is one of those moments and I’m living for it. 

They’re off to stay in an abandoned castle for the night to wait out the rain (NOT CREEPY AT ALL). Again, we get to see a glimpse of how caring Cas really is, because this abandoned castle isn’t entirely so, Clara, the youngest child of the family, still inhabits the castle, alone, after all her family perished in the plague. Of course, sweet Cas would help her.

The Queen, also a soft heart, refuses to allow the servants to help as she bathes Clara. And, in all honesty I’m not quite prepared for what happens next. While the Queen washes Clara, Cas sings to her with the ghost of Clara’s mother on hand to tell him which songs were her favourite, Cas sings (and watches Lena dance with baby Ventillas – just adding that in because THIS SLOW BURN – YEEEEEESH!!! I LOVE IT). By the time he’s finished, Clara is clapping away happily and her mother’s ghost has disappeared.

This section is determined to make a mess of me. I can’t cope with Lena saying she was thinking about cutting her hair off too, when Jehan reveals the knots in Clara’s hair are too much and it’ll have to be cut off. These characters are too pure. And I’m even more of a mess when later on, Cas finds Lena crying because she obviously never wanted to cut her hair, but couldn’t let Clara go through it alone. Lena and Cas have a special bond. She’s the only person who’s noticed he can see ghosts, who’s picked up on how strange it is that Cas knows so much about those who have passed, like Izaro. He’s probably the only person Lena would show how distraught she is over cutting her hair too. Seeing them comfort each other feels really special.

We join Cas as he talks to Lady Noa at the camp they’ve stopped at  – she’s indulging her son by feeding him sugar canes (and it’s making me hungry). But, then the little boy turns and shouts for his Mama…

It’s not his mother!!! It’s Lady Mari!!! She’s HERE, at their camp with a random woman’s child! And now Cas is out cold. Oh no!!!

When Cas comes too, a doctor is making Luis vomit, because sick, twisted Lady Mari was poisoning him with the sugar canes (I’m not hungry anymore ?). He’s so innocent in all of this, why would she do that? She’s definitely on a rampage now.

Oh, god! Now Faustina! WHAT IS HAPPENING???? Why is Lady Mari doing this? I know they left her, but she was plagued, they thought she would die. Surely once she came around she’d want to find her friends and her family and reunite? Not kill them off one by one!

Cas has been tasked by the King with tracking Lady Mari down. I really don’t feel good about this. I mean, if there’s anyone that can do it, it’s definitely Cas! But he’s so pure, he must be protected at all costs! He chooses to take Lena and Bittor with him. A strong team for sure, but Lady Mari is ruthless. 

They reach the hospital where Ventillas and Queen Jehan left Lady Mari. It takes a while, the Sisters there are rather adamant on denying that they ever remembered Mari or Ventillas…. Until Lena points out one of the sisters has one of the coins (YEP THOSE COINS AGAIN) on a cord around her neck. They were sewn into Lady Mari’s dress, proof that she was here and proof that this Sister came across her!

Sister Roslyn (with no help from Sister Ivette) reveals that the doctor used to – brace yourself – take patients and experiment on them. One of the sisters reported him, and he disappeared. Sister Roslyn replaced him. Sister Ivette sold Mari to this doctor, his payment was the coin. Lady Mari was still alive. I feel sick.

Sister Ivette and Sister Roslyn take Cas, Lena and Bittor to the doctor’s house. From the outside, there’s no sign of life. Inside the house, they find the doctor dead, and a long time gone. Was the doctor Mari’s first victim? I mean… it would be understandable…

Inside, Cas finds jar upon jar of organs, human feet and lastly, a woman’s womb. This is sickening. 

At least we know the sisters at that hospital aren’t all corrupt, because Sister Roslyn is legit trying to rip Sister Ivette apart after finding out she let the doctor take people to do this to them time and time again. 

Cas and Lena re-enter the house, and together they decide to burn it down, but not before going downstairs to inspect.

A bed, a chair, chains…

They find Lady Mari’s dress, the coins long gone. They find a portrait box. Inside stands a woman dressed in full court regalia… It’s addressed to King Rayan and the woman is named as Jehan of Brisa. But – again BRACE YOURSELF – the portrait isn’t of Queen Jehan as we’ve come to know her, the portrait is of the archer, the killer, the woman we’ve come to know as Lady Mari…

Mic drop. Plot twist of the century.

I have….. No words…..

Believe me when I tell you that NO PART OF ME SAW THAT COMING. I am screaming!

Did anyone anticipate that twist? I’m shook!

I’ll see you tomorrow for our last (cry) section!



55 thoughts on “Year of the Reaper Readalong Day 4!

  1. Did I wake up at little bit earlier just to read todays chapters? Yes, yes I did ?


    Poor Clara seems like a sweet child. But how did she survive the plague? Does she have the same immunity as Cas? If so, how? I hope he lets her stay with him. I love how he has turned protective of little Clara. Especially when she was getting a bath, he saw the bites and scratches and thought of himself when he was imprisoned. I hope he becomes like a father figure to her. When he sang her favorite song in the castle, I couldn’t help but smile along as I was reading ?

    Gahhh I love this book. So many lovely moments! Lena cutting her hair with Clara ? this scene made my heart hurt. And then Cas battling his phobia of being touched to comfort Lena when he found her upset about her hair ?.

    I had a feeling Lena knew about Cas being able to see ghosts, she just didn’t mention it. I enjoyed hearing him explain it to her. I just need to find out how it happened!

    Does Ventillas know what happened to Cas for him to be immune to the Plague?! If lady Mari was taken by Saulo and experimented on resulting in her immunity, that surely means the same thing happened to Cas right?

    My god who is this doctor?! And why do I feel like he was the one to create the plague in the first place?

    Wait what?! WHAT! if I’m guessing correctly does that mean Lady Mari is actually Queen Jehan? And Queen Jehan is the one who was tortured by doctor Saulo?!

    I NEED ANSWERS NOW!… can it be tomorrow already?!

    1. I think Cas wasn’t immune for the Plague, he was ill, he had the plague but somehow recovered from it. Maybe because he has had the plague, he maybe could now be immune for it.

  2. OMG – What just happened?? Here I was thinking Cas and Lena were just going to stumble upon the details of an event and move on, but suddenly we’re in the middle of what is basically a goose girl tale??!!
    I desperately hope that Ventillas and Mari (Imposter Jehan) truly believed Jehan to be dead but I also hope that she gets retribution for having her life stolen from her even after I presume they found out she was still alive.

    But going back a few chapters, Cas is soooo sweet. Singing? Multi talented! Plus the whole scene with little Clara was super adorable. Cas clearly has a soft spot for children.
    I’m suspicious of Bittor. I don’t know why, but something doesn’t feel right about him, but maybe I am just reading too much into his snarky comments.

    Wow. I hope tomorrow’s chapters can top that reveal!

    1. I think that Ventillas and Mari really thought that Jehan was dying because most of the people who got the plague didn’t survive it. Plus….I don’t even want to think of Ventillas (and the queen/Mari) of being able to leave Jehan there when they could’ve known that she would survive it.

  3. I cannot believe that plot twist!! I did say in my last post that I think it is Lady Mari doing everything, but something is still off and more is going on! And I was RIGHT, but I did not expect for Mari to really be the Queen and Jehan to be the one left for dead. I really can’t wait for the confrontation between Jehan and Mari when they come face to face because they will for sure!

    I also really like Lena and Cas relationship. I do think parts of it come on really quickly (when they leave to go to the castle, he’s only been back for a week) and so some of it feels insta-love-y but overall, I like them together!

    I will say, the only things disappointing me in this book is the lack of ghost talking. The idea of seeing the dead is so intriguing to me, that I wish it was played up more in this book!

    Now, I’m going to go finish the book because I need to see how it ends now!

    1. I do agree about the spirits!! I love that storyline, and also wished for it to play a bigger part!

    2. Yes! I really really want Cas to start using his ability more!

  4. Omg, Cas is so sweet. I want to hug and protect that guy now. I must admit I love the slow burn too. I did not see that twist coming!! Wow, they left the Princess alone while she was dying. What would have happened for them to do such a thing?
    I really hope we see Cas and Lena get together at the end.

    1. Cas needs to be protected at all costs! ?

  5. what?! well that’s a twist. I guess we found out the secret between Ventillas and imposter Jehan. when Faustina was dying she said “forgive her” does that mean that they knew Mari was alive? and if so forgive her for what? not wanting to return what her life should be and Mari was stuck with posing as Jehan? so many questions!! I want to continue reading but work is a thing so I guess tonight the temptation will get the best of me and i’ll finish it. Im loving this book so far. I went in blind and so far im really enjoying this book!

  6. I feel like maybe I should have suspected that twist, but I definitely didn’t see it coming! What a place to stop between reading days! I suspect that they thought Jehan was going to die so tried to do the best for her and put Mari in her place in order to make sure the peace between warring kingdoms relying on that marriage would still happen. I definitely need more answers though!

    And Cas? Definitely the best! And he can sing too?!

    1. I didn’t see it coming either! Right? His talents know no bounds! ?

  7. I loved the section of Cas with Clara. I like how he is capable of being fierce and gentle.

    I had a feeling the twist was going to happen just before it did. I always think that’s a sign of good writing. I was there just before the reveal.

    I’m just going to read until the end now though. I want to see how it ends!

    1. He just keeps getting better and better! ??

  8. Oh my god! I did not see this coming! I love it. I wonder why Mari and Ventillas did it, they probably thought Jehan was going to die so to keep the peace treaty switched their roles and names. It’s horrific what happened to Jehan but the fact that she is willing to not only kill the baby of her once friend but an innocent child worries me that she is past the point of no return, i geuss we’ll have to see

  9. What?! I too did not see this coming. I thought of a several different scenarios, but not this.

    I understand why she’s doing what she’s doing, but to hurt children is inexcusable.

    1. I didn’t see it coming either! Such a twist! ?

  10. Not sure I can stop reading now haha. What a twist!!

  11. Oh my!! I’m so in love with Cas and Lena right now!!!
    How sweet they are for Clara ❤️❤️❤️
    I also love how Lena just happened to end up on Cas’ mare??

    And then……l really didn’t see that coming!! Jehan, the queen is really Mari so Jehan is the one who killed Faustina, her nurse and almost killed the Prince and another little boy (Luis). I think she has lost her mind with all that she’s been through. What terrible things did The doctor do to her??? I’m angry but also feel so sad for her ?.
    Can’t wait to finish this book!! (And I also don’t want it to end ?)
    See you tomorrow!

    1. Such a huge twist! ?

  12. OMG!!! I AM NOT OKAY!!!

    Why are we stoping nooow…I need to know more!!!

    I am in such a state of shock right now that I don’t have any opinions what-so-ever.


  13. OMG talk about a plot twist of all plot twists I love it when that happens. I was wondering what’s going to be the cause of why she is doing all this I mean the description did sey its not who us doing it but why and now we know I would be to if someone was pretending to be me. And now ve know the sicret Ventilias ant the “queen” are hidding

    The tender moments in this book are to much I know Cas is the sweets man I’ve read about I kind if want him as my boyfriend now can I take him out if the book please. Oh the way he is with kids is soo sweet and attractive sooo sweet.

    Oh an Lena how she cut her hair off so noble and sweet oh I hope she and Cas become a couple some time soon

    This book is getting better with each page I have to finish it now

  14. Omg, I wish someone had been around to have heard me scream “I called it!!” I’m not sure why I suspected Queen Jehan wasn’t who she said she was, but I’m so excited to find out how this happened. And what’s going to happen to the imposter now??? I can’t wait for tomorrow!!

    1. I am so impressed that you figured it out because I had NO clue! ?

  15. This section was INSANE! My favorite so far. The 4 lynx scene was epic! Clara. That entire part of the story was so heartbreaking. When Cas started singing her favorite songs I was in a puddle on the floor! ? Then the sugar cane & Faustina… ?? The disgusting nurse covering for the murdering, thieving sick Doctor. The House. The jars. I just cannot. ? UGGGGGHHHHH.

    Then came the single craziest twist I’ve ever read: MARI IS THE TRUE QUEEN? I mean, now we know why “Jehan” was being so dodgy. Did she take the identity of the Queen because they were sure she’d die? Or was it before, a kinf of goose girl situation? Did Ventillas participate? It seems the kingdom is much better off with the one they’ve got. So far she’s been kind and doted on both Cas and Clara… what is happening?! I cannot wait to read the next chapters!!! Dying to know what happens next!

    1. Right?! Such a huge twist! ?

  16. I WAS NOOT EXPECTING THAT!! That is a plot twist if I ever saw one. Everything makes much more sense now!

    I love this book and these characters soo much! Sweet Clara & Queen Jehan bathing her & Cas singing, Lena cutting her hair. I’m going to miss them all! Even Bittor!

  17. Well it looks like none of us expected that! I certainly did not see that one coming. I can’t wait to find out what / why / how this life swap occurred? But we’re so close to getting everything pieced together now. Like everyone else I loved the sweetness of Cas with Clara, the singing and then Lena cutting her hair. All beautiful. Some amazing characters in this book x

  18. Oh sweet little Clara, how has she survived?
    And Lena cutting her hair to make her feel better ?
    That’s awful doctor and the complicit sister!
    OMG they switched places!!!
    Cas tried to hurt his friends to help his brother ?
    And then he was chained, that would be so traumatic given his past.

  19. What??????

    Apparently I’m not the only one who did not see that twist coming.

  20. I ended up finishing this book late last night. I will no spoil anything for the last section of the book. But the twist at the end of chapter 26 is what kept me reading though.

    I had a couple of theories about what was happening, but I never saw that twist coming. It just blew my mind. Cas is a cinnamon roll and must be protected at all times. He’s sweet when he needs to be as well as protective. His and Lena’s relationship is just so pure without feeling rushed. I just love them so much.

    1. I didn’t see it coming either! So shocking! ?

  21. I literally have no words for that plot twist! I knew something was up with the queen and Ventillas but I had no idea it was this. Dying to read the next section to find out how it ends. I will admit as I’m reading this that it’s kind of reminding me of pride and prejudice and zombies for some reason and I keep expecting something to jump out and attack the characters ?

  22. I didn’t see this one coming. Never in a million years!! Now, that makes sense with all the hatred, murder and evilness! But why?? What happened?? I need to know!!!

    And that horror house?! I was not expecting something like this. One moment, we have funny sweet tearing moments, in other, horrible despicable ones. And I like it. Very much. I never thought loving this book so much!

    Cas and Lena were made for each other! What a couple of cinnamon rolls ?

    1. That horror house scene had me SHOOK! 100% agree, Cas and Lena are so great. ?

  23. Ahaha…so I happened to have read a couple of goose girl stories recently, so when Lena and Bittor start talking about the king’s man who was beheaded with his horse and both of their heads mounted I was like…gee where have I heard that before. And I thought, you know, a girl arrived in rags with nothing to prove her identity and claimed to be Jehan, how do they even know it was her? But that’s silly, surely in all this time *someone* from Brisa who knew what Jehan looked like would have seen her.

    NOPE APPARENTLY NOT. Y’all I was about to put the book down when we got to that doctor’s house…there are too many real-world stories about people being chained in basements for me to want to read about them in my fantasy stories…but THAT PLOT TWIST!

    Alright. I’ll keep going. And “Jehan” is sus now. Did the real Jehan get sick and Mari decided to take up her identity and continue on for the sake of peace? Does she actually love the king? Or is she plotting something too?

    Also, anyone else think it was kinda silly for the royal family to decide to hit the road when they *knew* there was a clever assassin out there? They’re all just like, when she strikes again we’ll get her! Not considering who might get hurt or killed as part of that.

  24. This book is so incredible and that PLOT TWIST GOT ME! Total shock because I didn’t see it coming at all! It was the most amazing mic drop! Queen Jehan isn’t the real Jehan. Whoa! Such a HUGE secret all this time! Finding this out and seeing what the real Jehan went through at the hands of that doctor, I understand her extreme vehemence in pursuing revenge for being left at this point…don’t agree with it but can understand better. As for Cassia (Cas), I adore him so much. He is truly so kind and nurturing…just love him and want to protect him. I really don’t want anything to happen to him. He and Lena have such a great slow burn friends to lovers romance going on and it is truly wonderful! Also, just a little side note, I didn’t like Bittor much at all, at first, but he’s grown on me by this point. (And yeah….i admit I already finished the book but love discussing it like this! But, I had to know what happened next and before I knew it, it was over! lol I just couldn’t put it down)!

  25. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to finish on time but omg I devoured this book! The plot twist and just everything about it! Can we get some Cas prints because he’s definitely my new book boyfriend. I had no idea what this book was about but I am so glad I picked it up!

  26. That was a twist! I had an inkling that there could be some sister swap type thing but I also thought no that can’t be possible how would no one figure out?? But the whole reason no one has figured it out yet is Ventillas!! Or at least that’s my guess now.

    I love Cas and his adorable cinnamon roll moments. I’m also usually not one for this slow of a burn but in this book I love it, it just works ?

    I’m excited to finish this book tomorrow!

    1. It was such a massive twist! ?

  27. I knew Mari as the assassin was too easy to guess but I did NOT see that twist coming. I gasped!! Poor Princess Jehan. I can’t help thinking back to her POV – how kind and strong she was – and comparing that to the person she has become from all the horror she has endured. I’m sure Mari and Ventillas had their reasons but wow, they better be good reasons!

  28. Lady Rondilla is a hag. Lena is an angel. Cas can sing (adorable). Clara was alive (yay but sad). Lena knows Cas’ secret (we finally know when it started) & doesn’t care. Lady Mari’s appearance confirmed. Poor little Luis & Faustina (I hope he recovers). Jehan & Ventillas still keeping secrets (what is it). The “cursed” position Cas has taken of Queen’s Man (let’s hope he breaks it). The disgusting, disgraceful Sister Ivette. The “lunatic doctor” Saulo. HOLY SHIT! All this time, “Jehan” is actually Mari?! No wonder this woman’s pissed & on this tirade of revenge! So much is getting packed in now (I can’t even form comment sentences – lol), it’s hard to know where to start! It’s even harder not to finish though, so I’m off to finish the book now!!

    1. Your reaction to this section is perfect! ??

  29. This book has been SUCH an enjoyable read, and I can’t believe so much stuff happened in this section!! I’m so impressed with the pacing, because while the action keeps coming I still feel like we get a good amount of time spent with each scene.

    Finding Clara in the attic, and the entire group taking care of her, and ESPECIALLY Lena cutting her hair to make Clara feel brave – that entire sequence was so sweet and heart-rending. And Cas singing!!! (swoon!) Absolutely loved this section of chapters.

  30. OMG! ?? What a big big plot twist!
    I really wasn’t expecting that one coming, but know I can understand the rage of the assasin!
    Loved how sweet Cas was with Clara, and how courageous Lena was to help her too!

    1. Cas and Lena in those scenes with Clara just made my heart melt! ?

  31. I definitely didn’t see the plot twist coming! Does it mean that Queen Jehan really is Lady Mari and viceversa?! I did not expect that!! If that’s it, I guess the real Jehan wants retribution for having her life stolen from her.
    Also, I suspect that she has an inside man, someone that helps her from the inside. My guess is that is Bittor, but I hope I’m wrong.
    I need answers!!!

  32. That PLOT TWIST. I was shocked. That made my opinion of this book rise so much higher, because the author was so good at dropping hints but still shocking me. Also, when they walked into that house, I was not expecting to suddenly feel like I’d walked into an episode of Criminal Minds. That was disturbing. Considering Jehan was probably here for a while, it explains part of why she’s twisted enough to use the personal information she knows about each person in her party to kill them.

  33. The twists in this book are so good. I just couldn’t put the book down. I was shocked when Faustina and the little boy were poisoned. That just seemed like such a cruel thing to do. How is this woman doing all these things and no one noticed her lurking about? I was really glad to see that Cassia’s ghost site was able to help him. Knowing about the lynx attacks ahead of time saved a lot of people from getting hurt. I loved the brother relationship between Ventillas and Cassia. You can really see how much Ventillas cares for him and how he’s spent his whole life making sure that nothing bad happened to Cassia. I can see why he was so upset when Cassia had gone missing years ago. That must have been devastating for him. And I can also see why he was so angry with Faro for betraying his brother and their family. I would be mad too if that happened to me. And can we talk about the plot twist at the end of this section?? I had a suspicion Jehan wasn’t be 100% about what happened with Mari but I had no idea they switched places!! To say I’m loving this book is an understatement.

  34. Well that certainly got intense fast… And explains why princess Jehan is so seemingly hell bent on revenge. The horrors she must have endured… It makes a lot more sense why Jehan/not Mari seems to be bent on hurting anyone, not even limiting herself to children. Reminds me “cool motive, still murder”.

    Seeing Cas being soft around Lena and comforting her like that despite not liking being touched makes my heart melt. And I love how he became more comfortable singing the longer he went on. It seems he gave Clara’s mother peace with that.

    Bittor is now starting to grow on me, it took me a while to warm up to him. Oh… and this all means that Ventillas knew the truth and lied to not only Cas but also the KING. I was right to worry about Ventillas, I really hope this truth doesn’t put him in danger but I know it will… Can’t wait to find out how this all plays out and wraps up, this is a pretty big mess.

  35. I’m quite late with these chapters but OH MY GOODNESS.

    I’m 90% sure (as most other people in these comments seemed to be) that Lady Mari is pretending to be Jehan. It seems likely that Jehan got the plague but the marriage still had to go ahead in order to create peace between the two kingdoms, so Faustina and Ventillas decided it would be best for them to go along with it and pretend that Mari was Jehan. However, I wouldn’t surprised if there was some other completely unpredictable plot twist, because this book has already had so many great ones!!

    On another note, I’m so glad that Cas chose Lena and Bittor to accompany him because I think they have a great dynamic as a trio!

  36. W O W those were some incredible chapters!

    The juxtaposition of Cas singing and helping a little girl and then finding that terrible doctor’s lab… and then the REVEAL.

    I think I first suspected a switcheroo when Jehan (Mari? now it’s confusing) mentioned the coins sewn in the lining of Mari’s (actually Jehan) dress, since I remembered those same coins in the lining of REAL Jehan’s dress in the prologue. But I didn’t want to double check myself and I kind of figured they might have left the money to pay for “Mari’s” medical support. But WOW, the level of anger real Jehan has with all of these people. Definitely excited to finish the rest!

    1. Definitely an intense section! ?

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