Mother of Death & Dawn by Carissa Broadbent Book Review


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Content Warnings: Suicidal Ideations, Traumatic War Events, Violence, Gore, Human/Fae Experimentation, Language, Sexual Content, Enslavement, Death


I can’t believe it’s actually over. It’s over and I have so many feelings. I cried so hard after I finished the book. This was one of the best, if not the best, series I’ve ever read. Mother of Death & Dawn is simply a literary masterpiece in a trilogy of masterpieces; from the foreshadowing to the world-building to the stellar villains. 

Mother of Death & Dawn is the final book in The War of Lost Hearts trilogy. It is here that all of our favorite characters come together to fight, not only for each other but for a better world. However you think this book will end, you’re wrong. There are much larger components and magic at hand that will have you gasping in disbelief. 

So, strap in for the dark, whirlwind conclusion of this absolute amazing story. 


  • Confounding conclusion
  • The epilogue 😭
  • Aefe’s development
  • Unbelievable answers
  • Unexpected plot devices


  • No map
  • Constant negative events



When you have a story this large, with so many moving pieces and characters, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in the sheer size of the environment. However, Broadbent tied everything together with a nice bow, albeit bloody and torn. 

With this being said, I want to revisit my predictions from my previous review now that the series is over. 

  • Caduan will be an ally with the help of Aefe to take Nura down. ❌
  • Or Aefe turns on Caduan to help Tissanah and Max take down both Nura and Caduan. ❌
  • Nura will be killed off. ✅
  • But my real hope is that both couples will end up together, alive and peaceful. ✅

I got half of the predictions right. However, the ones I did get right, happened in a way that I was not expecting.

Caduan will be an ally with the help of Aefe to take Nura down. ❌

In some sense of the phrase, Caduan and Aefe did become allies to Max and Tissanah, because they all wanted Nura to be taken down. However, they are not allies with each other until the very end, when Caduan and Aefe see the kind of world they were creating in the deepest layers of magic. 

Nura will be killed off. ✅

Max puts it best: “I’ve seen what you do to the things you claim you love. We can’t survive your Ascended-damned love, Nura.”

Nura did what she thought was right. She takes what she learned and did the only thing she could think to do at the time: become powerful and learn how the enemy works. Regardless of her twisted and dehumanizing methods, she had good intentions.

But that doesn’t justify the fact that what she does was utterly despicable. So, her death at the hands of Max and Tissanah is just and a great way for her story to end. 

In fact, during that chapter, she reminds me so much of how unhinged Azula was from Avatar the Last Airbender. They are both broken and misguided individuals, and during the entire fight with Nura I heard the sad, slow battle music playing from AtLA.

But my real hope is that both couples will end up together, alive and peaceful. ✅

Caduan & Aefe

Caduan and Aefe’s ending is one that felt right. They have both lived for centuries, they are tired, and just want to be together in peace. They want to right the wrongs that had been inflicted on them over the centuries, and I don’t really blame them.

While their desire for vengeance drives their actions, regardless of how harmful yet justified they were, their love for each other drives their vision for a better future. They achieve their goal of a better future for the Fey, but in such a devastating way. 

Both of them can now rest knowing they succeeded in creating a peaceful world, especially with Nura gone and the Lejaras destroyed.

Max & Tissanah

As the story progressed, I figured one of them would die and in my heart, I knew it would be Max. However, I wasn’t expecting the way he went. And I wasn’t expecting Aefe to revive them as she changed the world for the better. 

I wasn’t expecting the heartache that would come when seeing Tissanah and Max fight for each other and fight to stay alive. I also wasn’t expecting the peaceful and perfect ending these two received. 

But it was all so deserved and felt so right for them.

In fact, it was the epilogue that utterly destroyed me. Because after all these two have been through, after all the sacrificing, the blood, the twisted games, and the sheer loss of life, these two finally got the ending they deserve.

They made their mark on the world, turning it into a better place. They got their cottage in the mountains with a family built on love and safety. They got their happy ending. 

And my gods, it destroyed my heart. Out of all the books I have read, these two are the most deserving of this peaceful and happy ending. 


When this book first kicked off and Ilyzath allowed Max out of prison, I wondered what it was looking for, too. I was shocked when it is revealed to be the Lejaras of Death. But it makes complete and utter sense knowing how it treats its prisoners. 

It was there from the beginning. The prison is so unusual and used commonly that no one thought about it being a Lejaras. It was brilliant, actually, to end the story where it roughly began with Max. 

I still want to know more about what created the Lejaras. Why there were sentient and if they were living beings before pools of magic? We probably will never know, and that unknown is honestly a great part of the story.

We don’t have to have an explanation for everything if built up and done correctly, and Broadbent knew that. 

Plot Thoughts

  • If Aefe and Tissanah got to talk about them being torn apart, I wonder if Aefe would have changed her view when she found out Tissanah didn’t abandon her.
  • Tissanah’s capture by the slavers and being taken to Zorokov drove me crazy. There were so many things she could have done to escape, but she gave up or it was simply a convenient plot device. 
  • Regardless of how much of a flop the attempted coup by Ezra was, I loved the attempt. 
  • I’m surprised at the Sersi ending, but it makes sense. I’m just a bit worried the citizens might buck against her being Queen again since her ruling history isn’t the best. Regardless, I like this ending for Ara.
  • I agree with Tissanah and Max that the Orders should be disbanded. They have backed and caused crimes against humanity. Their name cannot be repaired. And Tissanah’s gild is a wonderful alternative that is more inclusive and bipartisan.  
  • There was so much negative in this story, that it was hard to be surprised when something else bad happened to the characters. It honestly got old after a while. The story could have used a few more ups to break up the monotony of the downs. 


So much has happened to this cast of characters, from Tissanah’s development from being unreasonably self-sacrificing to being selfish in her love for Max, and from Aefe being an empty husk of a person to understanding the complexities of her emotions, that it is difficult to discuss their implications without diving into the other books. 

So, I’ll save that for my series review. I will say that all of the characters and their development are satisfying and positive by the end (maybe besides Nura). 

With this being said, I’m going to dive into a few select characters that I believe deserve the spotlight more than my usual character analysis layout.

Let’s get into it.


I love the consistency of Sammerin. While he doesn’t really change much besides opening up to Tissanah more. His stoic comfort is welcomed in hard times and I found myself basing the situation on Sammerin’s expressions and reactions as well.

At first, I was disappointed in the lack of development with Sammerin, but halfway through this book, it hit me: if it literally wasn’t for Sam, Max & Tissanah would be dead. He is the sole backbone of our favorite characters surviving and thriving, including himself. 

Sammerin doesn’t need complex character development. We see him grow through his use of healing magic and his unbelievable ability to control other humans. His knowledge and sheer strength progress the story in such a subtle way, but it has a huge impact on the success of saving the world.


I have mixed feelings about Brayan’s character. I understand he is used to guide Max on his memory loss journey, provide military support, and make Max face his biggest demons, but he seems…pointless otherwise.

While these are all exceptional reasons for him to be in the story, I still felt his character was lacking. I honestly believe that without Brayan the story would have still been successful and not suffered. With the exception of Max facing his past, that is the only reason I stand Brayan. 


No matter how much Ishqa came through in his promises and actions, I still don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. 

I understand he is trying his damnedest to right the wrongs of his past, but he is so sketchy and elusive with information that it still feels as if Ishqa is plotting something bigger or even secretly a bad guy. 

While his guidance is pertinent to the success of saving the world, he can’t redeem himself in my eyes. There is no coming back from the deception and utter carelessness of life that could convince me otherwise.

(But please try to. I’d love to hear your opinions about Ishqa). 


Aefe’s development and story have been, by far, my favorite in this entire series. She is so complex and violent, but simple and childlike at the same time. Seeing Aefe grow, learn, and reconcile her feelings towards everything is beautiful, albeit heart-wrenching. 

She has every right to lash out against those who tortured her for centuries. She has every right to mistrust the people around her. She has every right to be furious at being brought back to life.

But to see Aefe learn and grow to accept her new body, her desires, and her feelings is a powerful journey. When she finally gives into her emotions for Caduan, found the power and confidence within herself, and learned to live again, I was incredibly happy for her.

She deserves all the good things in life, and in the fitful and peaceful death, she received. It was a great ending to a poor, tortured soul who just needs some rest. 


The writing is consistent in Mother of Death & Dawn as it is throughout the series. So there isn’t much to discuss in terms of writing. I just have a few things I’d like to touch on.

  • Firstly, I read this book on kindle, and there were a few spelling and grammatical errors that weren’t in the previous two books. This was minor as it really wasn’t that many, but it was jarring when I came across them.
  • Secondly, I love the solemn writing style of destruction and the heart-breaking realization of death at the end of each character’s story. It is beautiful and so impactful on my overall emotions. I literally had to take a day to process the ending of this book because of how powerfully they were written. 
  • Thirdly, another thing I want to touch on is how superb the villains are in this book. We get glimpses of how gray the villains are in the previous two books, but in Mother of Death & Dawn we see the full scope. 

Broadbent does an amazing job of detailing the villain’s motives and morality. What’s even more impactful is all the characters roughly have the same motives: vengeance, protecting the ones they love, peace, and survival.  

So for us to see the different ways the villains react and handle the same situation is *chef’s kiss*. They were all right in their own way, justified by their countries and morals, but the impacts their decisions varied drastically. 

    • Finally, the last thing I want to cover doesn’t necessarily fall underwriting, but the writing and storytelling are impacted through its absence: a map. 

    A map would have made a huge difference in gauging the proximity of the characters throughout the story. Broadbent did do a stellar job at providing cardinal directions, sliding into another POV after mentioning a place in the previous chapter, and through the dialogue of the characters. But, it is still a bit confusing.

    I would love to have a map to refer back to as the characters were moving around and planning. 

    Final Thoughts

    I wasn’t aware that a book could so utterly destroy me while fulfilling everything I looked for in a book. My heart is simultaneously full and destroyed. I’ve had to take time away from this series and reading to process what I just read (I even ran to my husband and cried while saying “it was such a good book. I’m so sad it’s over. 😅) 

    But gods-damn, it was beautiful. It was a masterpiece on so many levels. Mother of Death & Dawn held the same sensations and the same emotional grip as the rest of the series but amped up on caffeine. I’m devastated the series is over, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how it ended.

    Please read this series. I cannot express in more words than I already have that this is one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. 


    Series Review: WIP

    What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Facebook Page  |  Goodreads TBR  |  Spicy Rating Scale  |  Author’s Website

    Recommend a Book for Me to Review

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: