Coming August 31, 2021, The Gray Mage is the third book (out of 4) in the Realm of Camellia series. I’m not going to include the description here since it’s a little spoilery if you haven’t read the first two books, but you can read the blurb here on the product page.
Today I’ve got some fun book news to share with you, as Angelina J. Steffort stops by to spill the tea on her new fantasy release, Shadow Rule (Shattered Kingdom Book 3).
OK Angelina, spill it!
Shadow Rule is the third book in my young adult fantasy series, Shattered Kingdom. The book is the continuation of Gandrett Brayton’s story as the former Child of Vala enters the dormant Fae forests of Ulfray to lift the curse. Of course, like all my books, it has a romantic subplot that might be heart wrenching.
How about some tea?
In the southernmost territory of Neredyn, tea is an innate part of culture. Prince Taghi of Phornes has been sighted in Shadow Rule, drinking tea :)
There are some books you read that you just can’t stop thinking about, and Isoldesse by Kimberly Grymes is one of those books. Due out on March 2, 2021, Isoldesse is YA Sci-fi Fantasy, and Grymes’ debut book! It’s the first book in the Aevo Compendium Series.
Today I’m helping kick off the Isoldesse Blog Tour. You can check out the other stops on the tour here.
Here’s what the book is about:
Friendships are tested, new alliances are made, and the truth of one woman’s actions from over a millennia ago are revealed.
Kenna and Meegan are college students dealing with upcoming finals, needy parents, boy drama, and what to do with their lives after they graduate in a few weeks. What they weren’t expecting was for Kenna to receive a powerful stone necklace that ultimately changes their plans for a relaxing summer.
Strange things begin to happen to Kenna, like being the only one who can see and talk to the mysterious old woman with a golden aura. Or how in her dreams, a man with vibrant orange eyes keeps appearing who may or may not be real. Though, not all of Kenna’s mysterious encounters are pleasant as she’s haunted by massive beings carrying long swords and wearing armor covered in black scales.
Besides solving the mystery of where the stone necklace came from, Kenna, Meegan, and their friends are taken to another world for a routine evolutionary assessment. The assessment gets sabotaged and causes more chaos for Kenna and her friends, especially for Meegan who is forced to open up and reveal her true identity and the magic she hides.
There’s one name that Kenna, Meegan, the Sendarians, and the monsters who’ve been hunting Meegan and her family for over a century all have in common…
Ok, let’s talk about 5 reasons why you should add this book to your TBR:
5. The cover
This is a given. Just look at it, it’s beautiful! The cover for Isoldesse is stunning, with tons of little details and a gorgeous silhouette of the four main characters. And something about the gold on navy is just eye-catching!
4. The cast of characters
Even just from looking at the cover, you can tell this book is character-driven. From the four leading ladies Kenna, Meegan, Ally, and Darci, to well-meaning scientists, to aliens masquerading as humans, you’ll get to see the story from several points of view. One of my favorites was one of the ‘bad guys’, or I should say, alien gals who is at the heart of the conflict.
3. The quest for answers is never-ending
It all starts with a mysterious necklace given to the leading lady Kenna. And from then on, more mysteries begin piling up for these characters, and each person–human, alien, whoever–holds part of an answer. The multiple POV really works well in the unraveling of the story, and it was really exciting when you get to see some of the characters meet for the first time.
2. The unique storyline
Just like the book’s cover, this story is unique and full of rich detail. It mainly focuses on Kenna and Meegan, two best friends who are just about to finish college when strange things start happening. What I really liked was even though I thought I knew where the story might be going, Grymes took it down several surprising plot twists which made for a really fun adventure.
1. It’s a perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy
Isoldesse meshes both an epic fantasy journey with hard science fiction. The world building is just fantastic, with so much thought put into every little detail. With magic gemstones alongside space colonies, and aliens next to goddesses, it’s a fascinating stage for the epic adventure these friends take.
Giveaway (US Only)
One reader will win a finished copy of Isoldesse. This giveaway starts on February 22nd and ends on March 1st.
When Kimberly Grymes is not writing, reading, or blogging, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and kids, baking treats, or keeping busy with crafts. As much as she enjoys reading books, she loves watching movies and TV, and is always on the lookout for the next great sci-fi or fantasy show to watch. Her favorite part of the day is TV time in the evening with her husband and two min-pins, Jubilee and Cori. She currently lives in Kansas, where her allergies are much better than they were in Connecticut.
Kimberly has a small book blog called the Plum Report in which she reads and reviews science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and or dystopian books. She also enjoys taking bookstagram pictures and sharing them with the book community on Instagram.
Welcome to my new blog series featuring a roundup of select fantasy books of all sub-genres that are published this month. Looking for new fantasy books to read? Keep reading to see what’s new this month, in order of release date.
This month we’ve got a variety of sub-genres: Steampunk, Mythology & Mythical Creatures, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult and more. Content ratings are given by the author. This post contains affiliate links.
Release date: October 1, 2020 Sub-genre: Young Adult Content rating: PG-13
Build more than you break. Heal more than you destroy.
But what if chaos can’t be tamed?
For centuries, the Legion of Pneumos has lurked behind the seat of power in Loren. To preserve order across worlds, they are charged with battling chaos in all its forms, no matter the cost.
Keira Altman, the newest Legionnaire, has spent years perfecting the art of wielding pneuma and channeling order out of chaos. Ripped from her own world and into one she barely understands, the only thing Keira knows for certain is that she has a purpose. Now, if only she knew what it was.
Yet when word arrives that the Regio lies on his deathbed, Keira’s new world begins to crumble around her. As the specter of a peasant uprising looms large, and political maneuvering threatens to unravel the fabric of society, Keira realizes that her only hope of avoiding the coming turmoil may lie in the very institutions she’s fought so hard against. But can she master the forces of chaos without losing herself to the chaos within? And what if the price of order proves too high to pay?
A phantom rider in the night. A magic bracelet hidden below the earth. An alabaster throne in a fiery palace.
If you stumble upon a well-kept secret in the woods, you can bet that life is bound to become…well, otherworldly.
Sage Sallow is a quiet girl with a mission. Determined to solve her brother’s mysterious disappearance, Sage soon discovers more than she could have ever dreamed of in the off-limits woods behind Manorport Academy.
But when a seance goes awry one stormy Halloween night, dark gods arrive with an agenda of their own. And portals that were once closed are now open. It’s up to Sage and her magical new friends to find her brother— and to save more than just one world.
Magic? Easy. But when you’re the owner of a powerful torc with godlike powers, things can get a little complicated.
Release date: October 14, 2020 Sub-genre: YA Urban Fantasy Content rating: PG-13
A magical key, a sassy mouth, and wicked ninja skills have made me a legend among thieves.
I can unlock the past and steal anything, anytime, anywhere.
But solving my father’s murder? Two years later I still have zero leads.
Thanks to my father’s debt, The Thieves’ Guild has me working shady jobs that bring me no closer to the truth. Instead, I’ve got my hands full with dangerous magical artifacts and my ex-turned-rival who is desperate to see me fail.
Nineteen years in this world of magic and thievery have taught me to trust no one. But I can’t do this alone, and if I don’t figure out who spilled my father’s blood, there’s a good chance I’ll be the next one to turn up dead.
The clock is ticking, and the only thing I can’t steal is more time.
Release date: October 15, 2020 Sub-genre: Young Adult Content rating: PG-13
One prince wants her out. Another wants her as a pawn. Someone wants her dead.
Zora wants to win the cup and tell them all to screw themselves.
Yes, 17-year-old Zora cheated her way into the Royal Games, but it was for a very good reason. Her ex-boyfriend thought she couldn’t attain glory on her own. Just because she was a girl. And he was the real cheater. So she took his place.
Now she’s competing for the legendary Blood Cup, representing the Dark Valley. It’s her chance to prove her worth and bring glory for her people. If she wins, of course.
But winning is far from easy. The younger prince thinks she’s a fragile damsel who doesn’t belong in the competition. Determined to eliminate her at all costs, he’s stacking the challenges against her. Zora hates him, hates him, hates him, and will do anything to prove him wrong.
The older prince is helping her, but the cost is getting Zora entangled in dangerous flirting games. Flirting, the last thing she wanted.
Release date: October 15, 2020 Sub-genre: Coming of Age Content rating: PG
Finding out you’re a princess destined to stop a war sounds great, until it actually happens.
Running isn’t new to Azlana. She ran from the harsh words of the kids back home. She ran from certain death when she fled the human city as heir to the elven throne. “It only makes sense to run again.” The Darkness whispers to her when she’s swept away to a hidden school and thrust into a role she doesn’t understand. And that isn’t all this new voice brings. Images of death fill her dreams until she can’t tell where her thoughts end and The Darkness begins. What if its showing her the future of her kingdom?
She has to run to save everyone she loves. But if she runs, she dooms them to a war that may never end.
If she doesn’t assume the throne and unite elves and man, war will end magic forever. But if she stays, the Darkness may overcome all.
Release date: October 27, 2020 Sub-genre: Steampunk / Gaslamp Fantasy Content rating: PG
A missing brother. A secret society. And a mysterious artifact that’s worth more than gold.
Petra and Maisie Everturn just want to run their family’s tea shop, but when their explorer brother Jiordan goes missing while looking for an alchemycal artifact, none of them are safe.
The sisters must enlist the help of another explorer in order to find Jiordan or the artifact—before the mysterious alchemyst society finds them first.
However, when one of the sisters stumbles into the clutches of the most dangerous alchemyst in the city, the race to unravel the clues becomes desperate. And when they discover the truth about the artifact, their quest to infiltrate the alchemyst’s secret society becomes a matter of life and death.
Release date: October 31, 2020 Sub-genre: Paranormal Content rating: PG
The stakes are higher than ever…
As I recover from my last trial where I was confronted by the darkest creatures in history, I hoped things would return to my normal, peaceful life.Not a chance.With my return to Oklealia academy and the arrival of a new headmistress whose inhuman ways turn the academy into a jail, my plate is full enough, but signs of an upcoming threat awaken my fears once more.
Time is running out— for me and the world. When the final battle arrives, will I make the right choice?
Welcome to my new blog series featuring brand new fantasy releases! Each month I’ll be doing a roundup of select fantasy books of all sub-genres that are published that month. Love checking out new books? Keep reading to see what’s new, in order of release date.
This month we’ve got a variety of sub-genres: fairytale retellings, urban fantasy, royal fantasy, young adult, contemporary, and fae. Content ratings are given by the author.
Release date: September 15, 2020 Sub-genre: Fae Content rating: PG-13
Enchanted forests. Deadly bargains. Welcome to the magic of Faerie.
Realms of Fae and Shadow is a breathtaking fantasy anthology featuring eight exclusive tales. Discover magic, romance, and betrayal as you lose yourself in the faerie world…
Can a human girl rescue a cursed fae prince before she’s shackled to a dull mortal life?
When the heir to the Unseelie Court is confronted with an unsettling fate, does he embrace the dark magic of the crown or turn his back on duty forever?
A fae princess is set to inherit a kingdom… only to discover devastating secrets lurking beneath the legacy of her throne.
Experience these stories (and more!) unfold as you journey through a portal to Faerie where danger meets beauty and the darkest shadows face the light.
If you love brooding royals, glittering courts, and fierce heroines, then you’ll adore this dazzling selection.
REALMS OF FAE AND SHADOW is a limited edition collection featuring stories by: Stacey Trombley Kay L Moody Clarissa Gosling Tessonja Odette Joanna Reeder, USA Today Bestselling Author Alison Ingleby, USA Today Bestselling Author Valia Lind, USA Today Bestselling Author Hanna Sandvig
Release date: September 15, 2020 Sub-genre: Time Travel
In a town where magic rules, how do you keep it from destroying everything precious?
Salem, Massachusetts is more famous for its hysteria than its magic, but on the other side of the bespelled barrier, witches do exist, an entire community where those with the most magic wield the most power.
Emma Goodwinter has lived there all her life but has always questioned the way things are. Now a young witch of 50 on the brink of converting into her full sorcerer’s powers, she has no idea that those questions will be turned into outright rebellion, all brought on by the arrival of an unscheduled steam train.
Physician Dr. Frederick Everly is used to his mundane life in 19th-century Boston, but when the train he is in derails and he must confront evil magic to save an infant’s life, he’s suddenly thrown into a confounding world almost a century and a half away from where he started.
Drawn to this unwilling time traveler from the start, Emma quickly realizes that Frederick, too, is becoming a sorcerer. But his is a wild conversion, entirely untrained–the type which legends say can only lead to madness or death.
Quickly discovering themselves in a life-and-death struggle with Frederick’s all-too-magical, and far too malevolent, family, Emma and Frederick must help him survive his conversion and find a way to fight the conspirators, all while facing terrifying new truths about Emma’s past. But how will two unconverted sorcerers stop a conspiracy which began before their births and has already infected the lives of four different generations?
Release date: September 16, 2020 Sub-genre: Young-Adult ContemporaryFantasy Content rating: G
Mer. Magic. Adventure.
After escaping from Rushton, April is ready to fight for peace.
However, in the wake of the tragic death of Queen Freya, the Royal Family is tearing at the seams. The Queen’s secrets threaten to unravel the family when they need to come together to stop the impending war.
Legged terror attacks plague the ocean and in retaliation Kayla plans to weaponise April. To keep the mer’s hope for peace alive, April flees.
Following her pearl visions, time is running out for Princess April Meridia to unravel the pearl secrets and gain control over her powers so she can stop the impending war between the mer and the legged.
With new secrets, new characters and new problems this epic page-turning sequel will not disappoint.
Release date: September 19, 2020 Sub-genre: Royal Fantasy Content rating: PG
She was born an ill-fated princess. She was destined to be a savior.
Princess Kumud Maudlin of Treoles is a rescued prisoner of her own castle after twenty-three years of seclusion. Now that she has a second chance of life, thanks to her rescuer–and sister-Queen Aymeri, she must learn to speak with her words and control the wayward magick inside of her.
Meanwhile, the evil Empress Dimia is advancing toward Treoles with a vengeance for the magick guarded by Kumud’s sentinel sister, and ruler of Treoles.
Will Princess Kumud control her magick and help Treoles retaliate or will Treoles fall before it even stands a chance?
Release date: September 21, 2020 Sub-genre: UrbanFantasy Content rating: PG-13
An empath witch should be able to keep everyone happy, right?
Hazel has put magic and men out of her mind. A break-up meant her own thoughts were bad enough, without sensing everyone else’s emotions too. The ghost in the attic and her sarcastic dog familiar would be way too much to explain to any partner.
Instead, Hazel put all her energy into her job promoting the city she loves – Dunedin, New Zealand. And she is pretty good at it, too. When her neighbour, Joel, needs her expertise to save his woodworking business and stop the sale of his family land, she can’t resist getting involved. But the more time they spend together, the more stubbornly locked away his thoughts are.
Then her powerful aunt is attacked, and Hazel has to find a way to get through to her and discover who or what is behind it. It seems as if her psychic powers are the key to everything.
Can she bear to let magic – and love – back in?
A contemporary witchy fiction story – with a dash of romance!
Release date: September 21, 2020 Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy Content rating: PG-13
A promise made in blood cannot be undone….
Those are the words that have royally effed up my entire life. The promise my mother made to the coven before she died and the one the witches are hell bent on me fulfilling. They think they own me.
Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY owns me.
Not the GRIMMS who want me to be their obedient little soldier. If they knew who I really was, I’d be next on their hunting list.
Certainly not the coven who has some crazy agenda to use me as a pawn against the GRIMMS. They already have the shifters on their side, and now vampires. These witches want a war. Supernaturals against humans, you know, the usual story.
I don’t want any part of it. I just want my freedom.
To get it, I’ll have to make a deal with the werewolf mafia so they can help me locate the only thing more powerful than both the witches and the GRIMMS—a wizard. When their help leads to a vampire attack, a dead witch, and a dead end, Javi and my friends (including the infuriatingly hot and cold Grayson) swoop in to save the day.
But can I risk their lives to save my own? When they find out my real identity, will they still be on my side?
I’ve already lost my parents, I can’t lose them too.
Vampires and Werewolves is the second book in an upper YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal academy series set in the Inner World universe filled with snark (sometimes swearing), lots of supernatural beings, and a low steam romance.
Release date: September 21, 2020 Sub-genre: YA Fantasy Content rating: PG-13
Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!
A mage written in prophecy…
When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.
A hunter forged in blood…
Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He’ll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.
Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…
With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she’s been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she’s ever known.
Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?
Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.
When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake. Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?
A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.
An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.
She lives a nightmare.
As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.
He’s haunted by dreams.
Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s façade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity.
Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.
While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.
This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.
Release date: September 24, 2020 Sub-genre: Epic Fantasy Content rating: PG-13
Sabine Rhyonselle, once a healer in the Human village of Khapor, is running for her life. Aided by a fey race she’s been conditioned to hate, Sabine has escaped the Ruddan who enslaved her. Sabine must overcome a history of animosity and lies in order to save Humanity from extinction. Now half a world away, she joins the Aethel Prince Aodhan and his companions to find the one thing that can secure Humanity’s freedom: the godson Fyrleoht. Can she get to it before the Ruddan do?
Release date: September 25, 2020 Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy Content rating: PG-13
Shapeshifters exist. Monsters are real. And no good deed goes unpunished.
Nursing student Ellie St. James didn’t mean to get involved in a war between rival gangs of shifters, but saving the life of a local mob boss’s child has dragged her into one. When Ellie’s life is threatened because of her involvement, she’s forced to go on the run, protected by Carter Ballis, head of security for the mobster’s family, and a lethal shifter himself.
Blood, fire, and warfare weren’t part of Ellie’s plans, but even if she survives, her life will never be the same. The world is more than she knew, and she’s seen too much. People capable of morphing into deadly creatures from legends and folklore around the globe are coming for her.
The cost of staying alive means trusting Carter to defend her, and he’s every bit as frightening as the creatures that want her dead…
Release date: September 29, 2020 Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy Content rating: PG-13*
She’s falling apart. He’ll do anything to put her together again.
After a brutal shifter attack, Nathra City’s Fae are driven underground, forced to become fugitives. To save them, Reagan, Tarik, and their rebellion friends embark on a mission to the Fae realm. But finding allies might be harder than they thought.
While Reagan continues to struggle with guilt and nightmares from the attack, Tarik must set aside vengeance to keep everyone alive.
None of them are equipped to face the unknown challenges on this perilous journey. And the more they fight to stay together, the more fate seems determined to tear them apart.
Fall of Night is book two in the Genesis Crystal Saga, a New Adult Urban Fantasy Adventure Romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas. *17+ recommendation
Have you read any of these yet, or plan to?
Are you an author with an October release?Click here to apply to be listed in the October post.
What a great day! It’s 50 degrees here in Connecticut which feels like it’s summer weather. Despite only getting four hours of sleep last night because my tiny human loves to see me all hours of the day, I’m in a great mood!
The first book in my Realm of Camellia series has an official new name, and an official release date!
The Starless Girl, through Limitless Publishing, will drop on May 14th, and will be available for pre-sale on May 4th.
To gear up for the release, I’ve opened a reader’s group on Facebook. Join for exclusive content and be the first to find out updates on all of the Realm of Camellia books. I’ve also got some giveaways in the works.
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard that my next book will be published by Limitless Publishing! It’s the first book in the Realm of Camellia series. I won’t say the name right now, since we’re possibly making a change to the title, but the series will definitely be called the Realm of Camellia series! The book will be published sometime this year, I’ll have more information soon, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
It’s 1889 in an alternate Paris, where those who have the ability to “forge” can manipulate matter or minds just like magic–except it’s really about science and art–with infinite possibilities. It’s almost like Alice in Wonderland–especially when you can pass through a mirror to another place. The secret society of the Order of Babel regulates forging, controlled by the high Houses. Plants can be forged for beauty and function, statues can be forged for security, clothes can be forged to give you as many tricks up your sleeve as you can imagine.
This lush backdrop is where Séverin lost his inheritance. Spurned by the Order, he teams up with Enrique, the historian looking for a voice and power with his own community; Laila, the dancer with a life altering secret; Zofia, the engineer who is excellent at math yet awful with anything social; Tristan, a brother to him; and finally Hypnos, the entitled yet clever patriarch of one of the Houses. I have to say, Hypnos was my favorite! He was funny without being too over the top. Enrique was also funny, especially when paired with Séverin:
“You’re doing it again,” said Enrique.
“That whole nefarious-whilst-looking-into-the-distance-thing. What are you hiding, Séverin?”
“You and your secrets.”
“Secrets keep my hair lustrous,” said Séverin, running his hand through his curls. “Shall we?”
This big cast of characters wend their way through a fantastical mystery at the heart of the Order of Babel. I did wonder sometimes whether the big cast was a bit too much–their voices sometimes blended together, when you jumped from one to another in the chapters. Sometimes their personalities were a bit too similar, except Zofia who was quite unique. They each do have clear motives, but it was really their voices (internal & external) that were a little too similar.
A simple heist leads them deeper into the mysteries of the Order than any of them ever dreamed. They must use their wits and their tricks to not only prevent total chaos–but to survive.
All in all, I really enjoyed the fantastic magic, the storytelling, and the suspense. Oh, and there was just enough romance–I’m not a big fan of over the top romance (unless I’m reading Outlander, of course), and Chokshi did a great job with some light romantic touches: it all felt very real and unforced.
I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the rest of this series!
What a magical book! I was really excited to read this book, because it’s a retelling of a Greek myth–but it’s entirely unique, and very well-told.
I recently interviewed H.L. Burke on my blog as part of her Coiled release blog tour, and the book will be available on June 15, 2017.
A twist on Eros and Psyche, the story of Laidra and Calen is at times heartbreaking, heartwarming, and full of intrigue, adventure, and even an Olympian-style quest.
Laidra is cursed with hideousness that worsens whenever she heals someone, while Calen is cursed with the incredibly debilitating–and rather inconvenient to say the least–problem of turning into a giant snake when he is seen by another person.
There’s beautiful symmetry with the two curses, and ugly humanity rears its head in different ways when their respective families are confronted with just how to handle their cursed children.
I enjoyed this read from beginning to end, and though I thought I could see where it was going one moment, was pleasantly surprised by each turn of events. I thought the tale was expertly woven, and–importantly for me–no cringe-worthy romance: I loved watching Laidra and Calen’s relationship develop right from the start.
Burke’s characters always have real depth to them, especially in this book. Even the gods and demi-gods, though by definition are stuck within a certain role, each has quite a personality and lends their voice to the story. I always love the humanization of mythological gods. On the side of a vase the gods look all perfect and pristine, but when they get involved with mortals, they’re squabbling and plotting right down in there.
I would highly recommend for a pleasant YA read that will give you a good adventure, love, curses, intrigue, and even a magical beast or two!
The world behind it is just as intriguing and mysterious as the cover will lead you to believe. Ri just wants to cure her adoptive father Samuel, but two chance encounters in the woods lead her on a wild journey through worlds she never knew–and Samuel and his sickness are part of a much bigger tale. And to top it off, a strange phenomenon called the Culling is wreaking fatal havoc wherever they go.
The characters immediately grow on you. Ri herself had an element to her that I couldn’t quite place–but, no spoilers, you’ll actually find out why that is later in this book. And, to leave us wanting more, that element is revealed in full in the epilogue, no doubt to be explored in the sequel.
Ri encounters and picks up a band of characters throughout her journey, and some very unlikely ones at that–which is probably why the journey is so “fun” as a reader. The chemistry is really fun to explore, and most of them are driven by love, which generally redeems their sometimes darker sides.
I did have a bit of trouble with the pacing in the beginning, but it picks up speed as it goes along. The places Ri and the team travel through, and what they find there will keep you itching to know more about the Culling, what it may or may not have to do with Ri, and what the gods have in store for them all.