Before I get into the review there are 2 things I want to mention:
1. Thank you so much to L.R.W. Lee for letting me Beta read this book! It was so fun seeing this book become what it is now!
2. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Overall: 4/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
If you don’t feel like reading this long review, here is my review in a nutshell: Rock-A-Bye Baby gives great insight into the unique and fascinating fantasy world only slightly dealt with in the first book, Lullaby.
Rock-A-Bye Baby is a prequel novella that takes place during the events leading up to Lullaby, the first book in the Sand Maiden Series. It follows Ali in the Dream Realm, as she learns of her Father’s dark side and must figure out how to save the people of Wake from his plans.
I loved the Dream Realm. During the first book, I was really curious about how the sand people worked and what their world was like, and this novella answered all my questions. The setting was amazing. I felt immersed in this realm and fascinated by so many aspects of it. I especially LOVED Ali’s aunts’ home and their role in this world.
The writing style is very accessible for people who aren’t used to fantasy novels. It adds a lightness to the book that makes it quick to go through. The plot itself can feel kinda slow, but that’s mostly because you know how it will end if you’ve read Lullaby. However, there are plenty of interesting scenes to keep the pace moving. I’ve found that most novella’s lack in the plot department, and while this one does too, but the world-building and short length make up for it.
Now to talk about the characters. If you’ve read my Lullabyreview (link here) you will know that I’m not a big fan of Ali at the start. And since this is a prequel, that Ali is the Ali we follow. We know she develops and grows as a character later on, but unfortunately for this book, our main character is the undeveloped-Ali. However, I will say that there are a few things that redeemed her for me. Mostly her siblings. I loved reading about the siblings’ and seeing them interact. Their dynamic was so fun. I especially loved when they called Ali out for being so optimistic and naive. Which is another reason I can forgive Ali’s optimism here. She gets blatantly called out for it, and there are references to why she’s so unapologetically naive. The other characters in this book were also interesting, and I hope they come back in later books. I loved the insight this book gives into the relationship between Ali and her father. I feel like the abuse is handled very well. A lot of the history between the two characters is revealed in this book, really fleshing out the relationships and adding another level of understanding that you didn’t quite reach in Lullaby. I really can’t wait to see how this battle between Wake and Ali’s Father will end.
Pros- Great world-building, love the family dynamics and how the darker topics are handled
Cons- Can feel a little slow at times
Overall- 4/5 stars.
If you enjoyed Lullaby, this book is a must-read. It adds so much to the world and makes me excited to see where the rest of the series will go.