Category: Fantasy

Song of the Storm Dragon by Marc Secchia

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(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Storm is coming! The hegemony of Sylakia has been broken and freedom won, but at a shattering cost. Laid low by the vile Shapeshifter pox and Thoralian’s wiles, can Aranya rise again? For war sweeps Herimor at the touch of the Marshal’s evil claws, and he will stop at nothing to possess the ultimate power.

Now, the race is on to find the First Egg of the Ancient Dragons. Accompanied by her friends Zuziana and Ardan, and the magnificent Land Dragon Leandrial, the Star Dragoness must dive deep in her new quest. Cross the uncrossable Rift-Storm to Herimor. Stop Thoralian. Crush his ambitions. Only then will she be able to save her beloved Dragons.

Yet profound Dragon lore enshrouds her purposes. History beckons. What are the secrets of the powerful Dragonfriend and the tiny, lost Pygmy Dragoness? Why did the Dragons disappear? What became of the powerful Dragons of yore?

Arise, o Storm Dragoness! She is legend. She is the whisper of starlight upon Dragon scales. She is Aranya, and this is her song. The Song of the Storm Dragon.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

So not only do we finally get a glimpse of the mysterious Rift in the southern Island World, we get to see Herimor.  If you’ve read the past two books in the Shapeshifter Dragon series, you know that Herimor is populated by Chameleon Shapeshifters and assassinations with various creative poisons are just a fact of life amongst the upper class.  It sounds pretty terrifying and strange but as we learn, it’s not all bad.  And not all of the Marshals are as bad as their reputations.

What I liked about finally seeing Herimor was that it showed more of Marc Secchia’s incredible world-building.  Herimor is populated by so many different species of dragons from the intensely creative Thunderous Thirty to the absolutely ludicrous Metallic Fortress Dragon.  (Yes, I know they were engineered by the Dragon-Lovers but they’re still ridiculous.)  Aside from the occasionally ridiculous dragon species, I was really impressed by Herimor.  From the variety of species to the moving islands, it really is incredible and is the perfect setting for the final showdown against Thoralian.

Aranya really undergoes a journey throughout Song of the Storm Dragon.  She has lost one of the things that defines her to other people: her physical beauty.  She was tortured by Thoralian and now has to deal with the aftermath of that.  And while overthrowing an empire isn’t easy, what comes after is often harder as she and her father try to manage the transition of power.  After decades of Sylakian rule on some islands, how can they go back to their own system of government?  What about the Dragon Shapeshifters that were rescued from Thoralian and his monstrous family?  Where will they go and what will they do?  These are hard questions with unclear solutions that will have to be dealt with while Aranya and the gang race Thoralian to Herimor to stop the First Egg from falling into his clutches.

Add into this whole mix the tension between her and Ardan.  Aranya definitely feels conflicted about her relationship with Ardan, especially after Thoralian’s torture disfigured her entire body.  While that may feel shallow, you have to remember that while she’s brought down an empire, she’s still only seventeen years old.  Being a teenager is hard enough without going from ‘so beautiful men can’t ignore you’ to ‘everyone young and old recoils when they see your face’.  On top of this, add in the fact that Ardan and Aranya’s meeting and oath swapping was pre-determined by Fra’anior himself and the two of them had very little choice in the matter.  If you’re looking for a neat ending to wrap up all of these problems, you won’t get it in this third book.  Marc Secchia is the master of ambiguity and ethical/moral grey areas so of course nothing is all that simple although both Aranya and Ardan get a little closure by the end of the novel.

The plot was fast-paced and complex with some heart-wrenching plot twists, particulary toward the end.  Still, despite the sort of cliffhanger ending it was satisfying on an emotional level and it did resolve some major plot points.  Basically, most of the main questions raised at the beginning of the book are answered by the end but there are still enough questions remaining that I’m going to be pining for the fourth book that’s coming sometime in 2017.

If you loved the previous two books, you’re going to enjoy Song of the Storm Dragon.  I can’t wait to see what happens next in Aranya’s tumultuous life.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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The Onyx Dragon by Marc Secchia

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(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The battle is won, but the war has just begun. Evil stalks the Island-World as the Marshal of Herimor and his Dragon-slaying hordes put nation after nation to the sword. The haunting cry of the Nurguz summons all Dragonkind to their doom. None can resist.

But Marshal Re’akka and his all-conquering Dragon Assassins are not the only trouble on the horizon. For there is a new Dragoness finding her wings, and she will stop at nothing to protect her loved ones. She is Pip the Pygmy Dragon, jungle-born, survivor of seven years in a zoo. She dreamed of being Human. She is more. Much more.

Now, Dragon wings darken the dawn. Diminutive. Sassy. Full of fire and great heart. As Pip and her friends chart a perilous path in search of the secrets of her heritage, they will find a power of old reborn in the smallest of Dragons.

One will stand against evil.

She is Onyx, mighty of paw and deed. She is the laughter of starlight, and she will never allow evil to prevail. Let Dragons thunder! Let the battle commence!

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

After the end of The Pygmy Dragon, Pip was nearly assassinated and the man who was her enemy, Silver, confessed he’s attracted to her. I honestly didn’t think The Onyx Dragon could end on a bigger cliffhanger than that, but it does. But truly, the cliffhanger is just representative of the entire novel: it’s a rollercoaster. And it’s not just a rollercoaster in terms of plot; it’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster as well.

Pip is a great character and here in this second book we see a lot of the good characteristics that led her to succeed in the first book: determination, honesty, loyalty and, most of all, her fierce love for her friends. She really will do anything to protect them and that’s demonstrated in quite spectacular fashion in The Onyx Dragon. I can’t really go too much into plot details without spoiling so many of the twists but let’s just say that the ending was both jaw-dropping but very much in character. One of the parts of the book I liked the most in terms of character development, however, was when Pip had to go find Pygmies near her home island in order to uncover some ancient lore pertaining to her words of power.

Of course, like with the rest of Marc Secchia’s books, the secondary characters are very well developed as well. I’m a huge fan of Silver because I like the whole ‘tortured turncoat’ trope when the turncoat in question goes over to the good side. Although he’s gone over to the good side, Silver still keeps his cards close to his chest and when some secrets he didn’t tell are revealed, his relationship with Pip is tested almost to the breaking point. Speaking of characters, it was also nice to see a young Nak and Oyda and how their relationship progressed because by the time we get to Aranya, they’re already an old couple.

If you loved The Pygmy Dragon, you will adore this sequel. It’s fast-paced, filled with plot twists and great character development and the ending is incredibly emotional. You’re going to need some tissues nearby when you read it, trust me. Honestly, you can’t ask for a better sequel than this. Although Pip’s story seems to be over for now, the choices she makes in this book will definitely play a huge role one hundred and fifty years later in the third book in The Shapeshifter Dragon series, Song of the Storm Dragon. I can’t wait to find out what happens!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider

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(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne.

I just recently got back into gaming after a hiatus that ended up lasting several years. When I got back into it I bought Dragon Age: Inquisition and fell in love with the world of Thedas. Normally I would role my eyes at video game tie-in novels but I decided to give Dragon Age: The Stole Throne a try because the lore I found in the game was very rich, detailed and consistent. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.

The first thing I have to say is that The Stolen Throne works both as a video game tie-in and a regular novel. You don’t have to play the games to understand the book and you don’t have to read the book to understand any of the games in the franchise. So I’m basically judging it as I would any other novel. Wtih that said, I really enjoyed the book.

The thing that stands out most in this novel is the characters. Maric is your typical young prince (even if he and his mother are rebels on the run in their own country) and his naivety in the beginning is hilarious. He also finds the perfect foil in the serious, very mature Loghain, an outlaw who lives with his father and other Fereldans who resist the Orlesian occupation. Loghain challenges Maric’s preconceptions about his own country, his people and the realities of the world. They initially hate each other but their friendship grows as their struggle against the Orlesians continues. It seems like a rather typical story of enemies becoming the best of friends but their friendship happens quite organically and it’s tested again and again, particularly when Loghain falls in love with Maric’s intended.

I think my favourite character in the whole novel is Katriel. She’s an elven bard, which in the world of Thedas makes her both admired and a complete pariah. She’s an elf, which means she’s constantly discriminated against by the humans (which make up the majority of the population). But she’s also an Orlesian bard: a singer, courtier and an assassin-for-hire. Katriel has had her fair share of hardship and she’s fairly cynical but she still falls for Maric despite her contract to kill him. At first she seems to see him as representing a more innocent life, a better life for her. Then, later on, she really does seem to love Maric on his own merits. Katriel is a complicated and fascinating character and her story is way more nuanced than the whole “assassin who falls in love with her mark”.

The plot is quite fast-paced. There’s plenty of political intrigue, battles and interpersonal strife. Obviously, the road to the throne is hard for a young, inexperienced prince with a scattered army and few allies. David Gaider manages to balance his beautiful descriptions with the intense action scenes. While some of the plot twists were pretty typical, there were times when I was pleasantly surprised. Because although the plot summary makes it sound like a typical ‘young man fights to regain his throne/birthright’, The Stolen Throne is so much more than that. There are plenty of spins on tired old stereotypes.

If you’re a fan of the video games, you’ll obviously enjoy the book. But even if you’re not, this isn’t a bad fantasy book to pick up if you’re looking for a spin on a story as old as time. I can’t recommend it enough.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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The Carnelian Tyranny by Cheryl Koevoet

The Carnelian Tyranny by Cheryl Koevoet

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Three months after her trip through the vortex, Marisa MacCallum is having second thoughts about her engagement to Darian Fiore as she struggles to adjust to royal life.

But when palace spies uncover a secret plot to assassinate the royal family and eradicate the Crimson Knights, Marisa and Darian must put their plans for the future on hold to stop Savino da Rocha and his legion of warrior giants from stealing the throne.

After narrowly escaping an attempt on her life, Marisa is left to defend Crocetta while Darian marches off to war. But when Savino strikes at the heart of the kingdom with supernatural powers of darkness, Marisa must wage an even greater battle against the spiritual forces bent on destroying her family and ending the Fiore dynasty forever.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

Normally, I try to avoid books that deal with heavy religious themes.  They just aren’t for me as most of them come off as overly preachy and generally obnoxious.  With that said, I did love The Carnelian Tyranny, which basically follows the story of the life and death of Jesus Christ in an alternate world.  So what made this book different from so many religion-themed books I’ve read?  Well, for one there’s not all that much preaching.  Yes, there are scenes where the characters pray and debate their faith but it never comes across as Cheryl Koevoet herself saying to her readers “You must accept Christianity”.  No, it was just a book where faith is presented as a normal part of many of the charcters’ lives and that was that.

And what really separates The Carnelian Tyranny from many other books I’ve read with similar themes is that while the religious aspect is part of the plot, it’s not necessarily the main focus at all times.  No, Marisa’s doubts about her engagement and her role as the future ruler of Crocetta are front and centre.  There’s also the whole Savino angle as our devious Count isn’t going to take Marisa’s perceived insult toward him lying down.  So the religious plot and the political plot are intertwined in a way that feels quite natural, particularly in a society generally modeled on Medieval Europe.  And of course there’s also Marisa and Darian’s relationship, which becomes strained because Darian doesn’t understand why Marisa is so reluctant to get married young and Marisa is having a hard time accepting her new high status even though she knows it’s her duty (and her birthright).

Marisa in this second book is a little more confident and just a little more sure of herself.  She’s working hard to learn the language of her people as well as the customs and responsibilities being a ruler of Crocetta involves.  Marisa has Darian to support her but their relationship obviously isn’t perfect.  They argue and fight but you can always tell they love each other deeply.  I can’t go into much detail without spoiling some amazing plot twists, but when they get separated it’s this love that keeps both of them going even when things seem completely hopeless.  Best of all, Cheryl Koevoet doesn’t neglect her secondary characters as she lets us see things not only from Darian and Marisa’s points of view but also those of Marisa’s brother Marcus and a few other notable characters.

With a relatively unpredictable plot and some great character development, The Carnelian Tyranny is a solid second book.  On top of that, there was also some great world-building as readers were introduced to the politics of the entire world of Carnelia because Crocetta is not as isolated as it may appear.  There are outside forces constantly at work and not all of them are friendly toward Marisa as the new ruler.  The only real quibble I have with The Carnelian Tyranny is that I felt everything was wrapped up too neatly in the end.  There weren’t any outside threats other than Savino when the story was over despite the fact many countries/kingdoms would love to attack anyone near them when they’ve proven weak (as history has shown us time and time again).  And one of the outside kingdoms that came to Crocetta’s aid didn’t actually play that big of a role in the war against Savino.  I felt there was more to explore in the way of international politics.

However, if you loved The Carnelian Legacy, you’ll probably enjoy The Carnelian Tyranny as much as I did.  I can’t wait for the third book.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Dragon Thief by Marc Secchia

Dragon Thief by Marc Secchia

(Cover picture courtesy of Amazon.)

Kal was not a thief. He certainly did not intend to steal any dragon’s treasure.

He was an adventurer. Avid art collector. Incurable wealth adjuster and risk-taker. Kal had legendary expertise in the security arrangements of palaces and noble houses the world over. He hankered for remote, craggy mountaintops and the dragon hoards he might find hidden beneath them. Besides, what harm was there in looking? Dragon gold was so … shiny.

Most especially, he was not planning for any treasure to steal him.

That was a little awkward, to say the least.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

Dragon Thief starts with our loveable rogue Kal foolishly trying to steal a dragon’s horde and finding a gorgeous, naked woman amongst the treasure.  What’s a rogue to do?  Does he rescue her as well or is this some sort of trap set up by the dragon?  What could a dragon possibly want with some random woman?  Well, as Kal finds out there’s more to the woman than meets the eye because the woman, Tazithiel, is a Shapeshifter.  And although she’s not happy about a thief in her hoard, things take an interesting turn and the two work out a mutually beneficial truce that turns into a friendship, then something more.

Both Kal and Tazithiel have problematic pasts and both have huge trust issues.  Kal has trust issues by virtue of his chosen profession while Tazithiel has a horrific past filled with abuse because of her shapeshifter status.  Yet they come together with a fascinating goal: to find out what’s on the other side of the 25 league tall mountains that encircle the Island World.  Is there a world beyond there containing something other than islands surrounded by poisonous clouds?  What manner of creatures live beyond the Rim-Wall Mountains?  Obviously Kal and Tazi’s journey isn’t as straightforward as they’d like, but they do find answers in an interesting way by the end of the book.

Marc Secchia has brought his trademark painstaking care to world-building once again.  Not only do we learn so much more about various islands and cultures within the Island World, we learn a lot more about dragon lore and the fate of Aranya and the Sylakian Empire.  There are also more technological innovations than we saw in any of the previous books because Dragon Thief takes place 311 years after Aranya, which was the most recent book in the Island World’s long timeline.  I don’t want to give away too much, especially if you’ve read the previous books in the same world, but let’s just say some things have changed tremendously while others will never change.  Especially people/dragons.

While the beginning is a bit slow after Tazithiel decides not to eat Kal on the spot, the beautiful writing style keeps things interesting as the two new lovers work out their issues.  After that, the plot speeds up quite a bit because dragons aren’t exactly the kind of creatures that are welcome everywhere in the Island World.  And once Kal introduces Tazi to some of his friends and associates…let’s just say things get interesting as Tazi discovers a whole difference side of our thief.  Best of all, throughout the book there is Marc Secchia’s trademark humour that had me quite literally laughing out loud at some points.  So while there are some pretty heavy themes in Dragon Thief, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Although there’s no official sequel set, the ending is satisfying yet leaves a little wiggle room if Secchia wants to continue the story of Tazithiel and Kal.  Their actions have some very fascinating implications for our Island World and I can’t wait to see what he does with the new revelation about the Rim-Wall Mountains.

If you haven’t read any of Marc Secchia’s dragon books, Dragon Thief is a great place to start.  It’s funny and touching, fast-paced yet with plenty of character development and there is some incredible world-building going on here.  And if you’re already a fan like I am, Dragon Thief is a great installment in the overall story of the Island World.  It builds on what we’ve seen and learned in previous books and introduces us to both an old friend and a whole new cast of characters to love.  You really can’t ask for more.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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*Not available until Decmber 12, the release date.

**Not available.


Like all of Marc Secchia’s dragon books, you don’t really need to read this one in a particular order.  However, it does help if you read the books in order of publication because of certain minor spoilers that crop up.  Here’s my current recommended reading order:

  1. Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons #1)
  2. The Pygmy Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragon Legends #1)
  3. Shadow Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragons #2)
  4. Dragonfriend (Dragonfriend #1)
  5. Dragonlove (Dragonfriend #2)

Like I said, you don’t have to read all of these books before Dragon Thief but they will certainly give you a greater appreciation of all of the mythological references contained within the book.  For example, there are references to the Pygmy Dragon, Hualiama and Aranya.  They’re easy to figure out in the context of the book but again, you’ll have a greater appreciation of just how intertwined Secchia’s various series are and how rich the mythology he’s created is if you do.  With that said, if you’ve read the first two Shapeshifter Dragon books you may want to wait until the third is out because there are some minor spoilers in the references to Aranya throughout the book.  And of course the very existence of dragons is a bit of a spoiler considering how dire Aranya’s situation is at the end of Shadow Dragon.

Mind of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

Mind of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Moira is a powerful empath, a psychic graced with the ability to read emotions and memories. Her skill is as much a curse as a gift, for in the harshly stratified city of Braxton empaths are slaves. Clever and beautiful, Moira has learned to rely on no one but herself. Determined to escape life as a concubine, she kills her master, and is imprisoned for the crime.

This could be the end for Moira, but the government has need of her skills. A mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix has been planting suggestions in his victims’ minds that drive them to murder and suicide. To gain her freedom, Moira partners with Keenan Edwards, a handsome young detective, to stop the killer.

Hunting the Phoenix will bring Moira on a more dangerous road than she imagined, forcing her to confront dark minds, twisted moralities, and her growing feelings for the detective.

[Full disclosure: I requested and recevied a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I wasn’t really sure what I expected from Mind of the Phoenix, but it certainly exceeded whatever expectations I did have.

Moira is a truly amazing character.  She’s been a slave in a pleasure house for years until at the age of 19 she was sold off to a private owner that she then killed.  She evaded capture for 6 months before being taken into custody pending execution—until even the Elite (the powerful empaths that work with regular humans to suppress their less powerful brethren) admit they need her abilities to solve a recent spree of suicides that are likely murders.  Throughout the investigation we see Moira start to open up just a bit.  In the beginning she’s very cynical and sarcastic, both of which are clear defense mechanisms considering what she’s been through.  And then as time goes on and Keenan shows her some of the good in the world, she opens up to him a bit.  She still struggles with her inner demons and she doesn’t exactly have rose-coloured glasses on by the end of the novel but she at least softens her outlook a little bit as she sees the good in some people.

Keenan is truly an enigma.  He’s not your typical tough, silent detective type and he’s certainly not the typical bad boy type of person that you see in so much fiction now.  He’s just a man struggling with demons of his own, much like Moira.  As a detective he’s seen a lot and feels quite a bit of responsibility on his shoulders.  In a world that is clearly morally skewed, he does the best he can to be a good person.  He’s not perfect—the second scene where he holds Moira’s head under water definitely shows that—but he’s not a monster.  And he’s certainly not the type of man Moira is used to and can easily fit in one category.

Lest you think so, let me say clearly that any romance between Moira and Keenan is not the main focus of the story.  Jamie McLachlan does a great job of depicting the inner struggles of the characters while at the same time moving the plot along quite quickly.  The mysterious Phoenix is on the loose, implanting commands in people’s minds that make them commit suicide when a certain phrase is read.  How can he or she be stopped when you don’t know who you’re looking for or what their true motives are?  Moira can search through minds but not even she can undo some of the blocks the Phoenix places in them—at least not without utterly destroying the mind of the victim.  When you think you know the true identity of the Phoenix, the plot twists and you’re left wondering whether or not that person is the Phoenix.  Jamie McLachlan writes great interpersonal struggles, but she also writes one heck of a murder mystery.

If you’re looking for something a little different from the regular fantasy/speculative fiction, Mind of the Phoenix is the perfect book for you.  It has political intrigue, two separate murder mysteries and some great intrapersonal/interpersonal conflicts.  And yes, it has just a hint of romance and deals with the whole idea of putting the past behind you so you can live in the present.  Best of all, it’s extremely well-written.  You’ll be up reading into the early morning hours just like I was last night.  I can’t recommend this book enough and I really can’t wait for the next book in the Memory Collector series.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Spindle by W. R. Gingell

Spindle by W. R. Gingell

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

She’s not a princess . . . but then, he’s no prince.

Polyhymnia is deep in enchanted sleep. High in a tower, behind an impenetrable barrier of magical thorns, she sleeps, dreams, and falls ever deeper into her curse.

Woken by a kiss, Poly finds herself in an alien world where three hundred years have passed and everyone she has ever known is dead. Luck, the enchanter who woke her, seems to think she is the princess. Understandable, since he found her asleep on the princess’ bed, in the royal suite, and dressed in the princess’ clothes.

Who cursed Poly? Why is someone trying to kill her and Luck? Why can’t she stop falling asleep?

And why does her hair keep growing?

Sometimes breaking the curse is just the beginning of the journey.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Spindle by W. R. Gingell is almost a perfect retelling of Sleeping Beauty—almost.  Despite the amazing world-building, the characters and the plot Spindle fails in one simple way: exposition.  Or rather, lack thereof.

Now, I’m not the sort of person that loves an info-dump at the beginning of the book.  I prefer a slow revealing of the main character’s backstory and the story of the world the author has created.  But in Spindle there is an infuriatingly small trickle of information.  Poly wakes up to find a rude, somewhat forgetful wizard broke her spell and thinks she’s the princess.  She has magic hair that won’t stop growing.  She has a spindle in her pocket but can’t seem to remember that it’s there.  Poly accidentally takes them not to Luck’s (the wizard’s) village during a journey spell but to an entirely fictional world because she was holding a book.  And through it all, Luck keeps insisting she has magic while Poly blithely denies it, even though she constantly demonstrates magic.  It’s really, truly infuriating.  As I said, I don’t need a bunch of information in the beginning but Gingell leaves the readers even more confused than Poly for a minimum of 35% of the book.  Even after the 35% hurdle, things aren’t really explained adequately until the 50-60% mark, which is just a little bit ridiculous.  I can understand conveying the confusion of the main character but it just shouldn’t be this frustrating or last this long.  It was only out of sheer stubbornness that I kept reading past the first half of the book.

However, when backstory was finally revealed to us, the readers, it is fascinating.  Gingell has created an amazing world where magic is studied as a form of science but still tries to outfox even the most clever efforts to unravel its mysteries.  There are three types of ‘magic’ and all of them are very, very different.  The world Poly wakes up to is 300 years after her time and the world has definitely moved on.  The kingdom is now a republic, the fashions have significantly changed, there are two countries instead of three because of the war that started when the castle was put to sleep, etc.  She has to navigate this crazy new world with an unhelpful Luck, who seems oblivious to everything but his own studies and Onepiece, a dog who turns out to be a boy.  It’s a vibrant, imaginative world but it’s just so incredibly frustrating that instead of revealing a little bit in the beginning, we get huge amounts of information dumped on us after the 50% mark.

Poly herself is a pretty cool character.  She was just one of the princess’ ladies in waiting and was the target of most of the princess’ wrath.  But she’s stubborn and becomes more and more self-assured.  After sleeping for 300 years she’s desperate to get to the bottom of the curse and when Luck doesn’t seem to be all that interested in helping her, she tries to find out on her own despite the remnants of the curse.  Once she’s in Luck’s village she quickly adapts to modern life and tries to help the villagers deal with their absent-minded wizard who is supposed to take care of their little magical troubles (like the fact that the wild magic of the Forest keeps moving the fields).  Luck is a very frustrating character in the beginning but you do see glimpses of how smart and sweet he really is.  Poly and Luck make a very interesting duo.

Despite some weird time skips that weren’t really indicated in my Kindle copy (although that’s probably just a NetGalley formatting issue), the plot was amazing.  It’s not exactly fast-paced but there’s a lot of self-discovery and character development once you get past the information-starved beginning.  Gingell has created just an amazing world and despite my frustration with the beginning, I would absolutely love to read more about Poly and Luck or even just about other characters in this world.  W. R. Gingell has a great thing going here but the beginning is a huge deterrant to prospective readers.  It’s hard to convey but despite the rough beginning I really, really loved this book and if my review has intrigued you at all, I would encourage you to give Spindle a try.  It’s far better than many fairytale retellings I’ve come across.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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