What’s it all about?:
Hopeless he’ll never be more than the boy who didn’t save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.
And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.
His shape-shifting brethren feed off the auras of humans, and Jeslyn’s golden hue is exactly what Lucino needs to increase his power. The longer it takes Avikar to reach her, the more entranced she becomes with Lucino’s world, and the harder it will be for Avikar to set her free.
He failed his family once. He won’t fail again.
What did I think?:
First of all, many thanks to NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press for allowing me to read a copy of this fantasy/young adult novel in exchange for an honest review. I was initially attracted to this novel by its intriguing premise which involves a quest, strange creatures (and strange humans, to be frank) and a supposedly mythological other world ruled by your average tyrant. Our main character is a humble and quite ordinary young man called Avikar who works on his family’s farm. Sadly, the family have undergone a recent tragedy where Avikar’s younger brother drowned and as Avikar was in charge of looking after him at that time, he has never got over his extreme guilt. As a result, when his sister Jeslyn is kidnapped, Avikar is determined to bring her back, whatever the cost.
Unfortunately, Avikar’s mission is going to be far from easy. Jeslyn has been taken to the land of Daath, known as the thirteenth country that has been mostly forgotten by the other twelve countries and exists purely as a myth. The country is beautiful, lush, colourful, magical and vibrant and ruled by Luciano who is searching for a bride. Luciano is not your normal bridegroom however. In fact, it would be a push to actually call him human! He is a shape-shifter and a very dangerous and powerful being whose people feed off the auras of ordinary humans. He has captured Jeslyn under pretence of making her his bride to rule alongside him but he actually just wants to feed off her, as she has a particularly pleasant and rare golden aura.
So, the quest is on. Armed with his best friend (who is also Jeslyn’s love interest) Derrick, he sets off to try and rescue his sister. However, naughty Luciano isn’t going to make his journey a walk in the park. The brave young men have many battles and thrilling adventures and meet with some very interesting and deadly individuals along the way. As they get nearer to their goal, Avikar seems to become more mature and even more determined almost as if he has “become a man” and there is even potential for love with the introduction of Raven, a fiesty and independent young woman whom they meet on the journey. They had better hurry though – with each day that passes Jeslyn is falling deeper under Luciano’s intoxicating spells and there is a danger that they will not be able to get her back.
This story had oodles of potential and as I mentioned at the beginning, I really loved the premise. The world-building is good but I wished that the author had put in more descriptions about Daath, it seemed a fascinating land and I felt that I couldn’t really picture it in as much detail as I would have liked. As for the characters, I think there are a few that are excellent like Avikar, Luciano and Raven. In Avikar, I enjoyed reading about his individual journey and how he changed as a person, Luciano was an ideal villain who left me wanting more and Raven was gutsy and strong-minded (I do enjoy my female characters with a bit of a bite!). My criticism has to be the character of Jeslyn. I so, so wanted her to be strong and I felt she was a bit two-dimensional, kept fainting all the time, mooned over Luciano a bit too much and didn’t really seem to consider Derrick, her boyfriend at home! Aside from this minor annoyance, it is quite a good read, although I don’t think I’ll be rushing to read the second in the series unless Jeslyn grows a backbone, it would just irritate me too much. Fans of the genre however will definitely enjoy it.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):