Book Review: Sow by Tim Curran

18043337Title: Sow

Author: Tim Curran

Genre: Dark Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Goodreads

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Holly is not herself.

She was once a pretty young woman, healthy and strong, completely devoted to her husband Richard. When she became pregnant, he was ecstatic. They would finally have a child to complete their love.

But then Holly began to change.

She began reading strange, old books and consorting with a mysterious midwife named Mrs. Crouch. Day by day, she becomes less like the woman Richard married, slowly degenerating into something evil and monstrous.

The child she carries is not his. In fact, it’s not even human.

Holly is about to unleash hell into the world.

Sow is a disgusting, vile little thing of a book. Surprisingly, those are its most redeeming qualities. If “The Exorcist” made you squirm, then Sow will definitely make you gag.

Richard’s wife, Holly, is pregnant. At first, everything is just peachy. Holly and the baby are doing great, and Richard couldn’t be prouder. But then, Holly begins to change. She goes through horrible episodes where she acts like a completely different person. Even her features begin to change. When other people are around, she still resembles the Holly Richard knew and fell in love with. But when they’re alone, she sometimes turns into a horrific, terrifying monster that makes Richard scared out of his mind.

If you’re looking ofr subtle horror, then I’ll tell you straight on, Sow isn’t for you. If they ever made this into a movie, it would be a lot more along the lines of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” than “The Others”, in terms of horror, gore, and the what-the-fuck-oh-gross effect. Richard is a sorry character. At the start, it isn’t clear if he’s simply losing his mind, or something terrible is really going on. Nevertheless, his unwillingness to give up, also shows that he has more qualities than I first grave him credit for. Holly’s transformation is truly gruesome and frightening. I’m not usually scared of possession stories, like “The Exorcist”, but Sow hit a nerve with me. Now, on to the list of ‘scary stuff’, I’ll get to add pigs. Oh goodie.

What didn’t work for me, was the swearing however. When Holly completely turns into the Sow, there’s a lot of swearing, most unnecessary, and some scenes that are just plain yuck. They’re not even scary. Just ew. Also, the story of how Holly got possessed is predictable and bland.

There were some original elements here that stood out, and the writing was decent as well. However, there weren’t enough unpredictable twists and turns to make this a truly outstanding book. Especially at the end, the gore and disgusting events often overruled the scary aspects of the story.

A decent horror read, but not ideal for fans of subtle horror. I liked it, but it’s not one of my favourites.

Book Review: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

16045120Title: All Our Pretty Songs

Author: Sarah McCarry

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

All Our Pretty Songs was a confusing read for me. On the one hand, there’s very lyrical, poetic prose, which I liked. Somewhat. I mean, it was all great in the beginning, but by halfway through the book, when things started happening, the events and actions were completely dominated by the lyrical prose, which made me feel like nothing was happening at all.

The book is told from first person POV, and it’s one of the best first person POVs I’ve ever read, I’ll grant the author that. By page fifty or something, I was so deeply enthralled in the main character’s world and mind, that I’d deeply connected with her, and with her best friend, Aurora. If the book had been all about Aurora and our MC, then I could’ve lived with the action scenes flying by too quickly. The friendship between Aurora and the MC is amazing. They’ve been BFFs since they were both little kids, and before that, their moms were best friends. Both without a father – MC doesn’t know who her father is, and Aurora’s dad passed away – and without reliable mother figures, they only had themselves to depend upon. While they’re both very different, this only strengthens their relationship. Aurora and the Narrator both have history, they share many years together, and they both deeply love each other, almost like sisters.

But then, Jack comes into the picture. Our Narrator’s relationship with Jack is weird from the get-go. Whereas the relationship between the Narrator and Aurora is convincing and heartwarming, Jack doesn’t convince at all. From the moment they meet, our Narrator falls head over heels for him, and Jack instantly likes her back. The problem is that her reaction to this guy is completely over the top and exaggerated. The Narrator talks about going all Juliet on him if he doesn’t want her (as in, killing herself), and not being able to live without him, blah blah. I get that emotions can be strong when you’re in love for the first time, but this strong is heavily exaggerated, and not a very good example.

There were things I absolutely loved about this book. The paranormal part – we get glimpses early on, but it’s only fully explored in the later half of the book – is great. It’s a twist on classic mythology, and I’m a huge fan of mythology, so I’m definitely on board. I liked the Narrator. She’s not your general, typical YA main character. She’s down to earth (except when it comes to Jack), courageous, intelligent, willing to do everything for her best friend. The music was another great addition to the book. And the dark and gritty feel and unsettling atmosphere were excellent as well.

But like I mentioned, whatever action happened, it was over in the blink of an eye. Everything was dominated by the prose, making this book a lot slower and more boring than it had to be.

That said, I did enjoy the book enough that I’ll give the second one in the trilogy a shot. This one had a rather unsatisfactory ending, and I’d like to see what happens next. So while I found the action greatly lacking, I’m invested enough in the characters, particularly the MC, to want to know more about what’ll happen to them.

If you’re a fan of lyrical prose and friendship stories, All Our Pretty Songs may be a good choice for you. Keep in mind though, this is definitely not for the younger YA audience due to language, some more explicit scenes (nothing too graphic, of course) and a possible bisexual relationship.

Book Review: Conjure House by Gary Fry

17912071Title: Conjure House

Author: Gary Fry

Genre: Dark Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

The village of Deepvale has a sinister past. Built in the 1400s, it has been home to a number of sordid characters, including Peter Suman, known locally as ‘The Conjurer’ due to the diabolical experiments he was rumored to have conducted during the 19th Century, in a dark old house beside a lake.

In the 1990s, after a bet with his elder brother and three friends, seven-year-old Simon Mallinson goes missing inside the now derelict Conjurer’s House.

Fifteen years later, his brother Anthony is back in Deepvale, following the brutal deaths of his parents. And strange events have begun to occur in the village again, including the apparent return of young Simon and his creepy new friends. Worse still, Peter Suman appears to be back, too, bent on achieving what he failed to do over a hundred years earlier…

Conjure House, a novel of cosmic terror from Gary Fry.

Conjure House uses a lot of the standard horror elements – supposedly haunted house, obsessed mad man, town legend, childhood friends returning home to deal with a terrible event in the past. He manages to turn them into a convincing story that offers something unique and original, while staying remarkably close to the well-known tropes. The opening chapters started out very strong, drawing the reader into the story by showing us the disappearance of Simon, main character Anthony’s younger brother. Simon risks a step inside the Conjure House, and poof, he’s gone. That’s enough to make me interested, sure.

Flash forward. Anthony is now a grown up, and he’s done well for himself, with a wife and kid who adore him. But when his parents are brutally murdered, he decides to come back to his hometown. There, he meets someone who looks an awful lot like Simon, and who tells his son that he’s his uncle. Anthony invites his old gang of childhood friends to come back to town, and to put the past to rest for once and forever.

Remember how I metnioned the opening chapters are strong? Well, unfortunately the rest of the novel lacks that strength. First of all, the characters. Anthony and his wife soon act like strangers after moving, and it’s obvious from the start they have a very different view on things. Makes a person wonder how they fell in love in the first place. The characters act like they’re not real people, and this counts for all of them. Anthony is like a shell of a person. His emotions are all wrong and mixed up, much like a robot trying to be human. It’s just not realistic. Even how he reacts to his parents’ death, or seeing Simon again…It feels very, very odd, and not in a good way. Not sure if the author intended this, but all characters suffer from the same syndrome of not acting very human.

Then there’s the writing. It starts out strong, reminiscent of horror classics in the 1900s, with a descriptive writing style. However, it soon becomes bland. It doesn’t manage to hold suspense up for very long. By page 115, I grew bored, and even contemplated not finishing the book. It gets better about a dozen pages after that though, when the pace picks up again and the grand scheme is revealed, we figure out why and how Simon went missing, etc. But the middle part of the book could’ve been stronger. There are a lot of repetitive sentences, some scenes drag on without end, others are rushed.

All in all, Conjure House is an okay read, but not much more than that. The idea was there, and it was intriguing, but writing and characters could’ve been stronger.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (33)

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. It’s where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for me to plan my reading week, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading.

Click HERE to view all my ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?‘ posts.

Finished Reading

   

Currently Reading

   

What are you reading this week?

Book Review: Messages from the Dead by Sandy DeLuca

17903824Title: Messages from the Dead

Author: Sandy DeLuca

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Horror, Ghosts

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Goodreads

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Donna had never been like other girls.

She was raised by her enigmatic grandmother, who held séances in her parlor, mystifying strangers who came to their home on smoky summer nights seeking messages from deceased loved ones.

Year later, she’s settled into a normal life with her husband Joe, and attending art school at Castell Community College in the evenings with her best friend Andrea. But Castell is much more than a school.

Once home to a children’s hospital, the ghosts of the restless dead still roam the darkened hallways, and now they want something from Donna…and they’ll stop at nothing to get it…

Donna’s grandma was way into spirits. She claimed to be a medium and held séances in her parlor, all while Donna watched and learned more about the spirit life. However, Donna tries to stay as far away from the dead as possible. When she grows up, she gets married, and does everything to have a normal life. Things start to go wrong when she starts attending art school at Castell Community College. Castell isn’t a regular school. It was once a children’s hospital, and nowadays the hallways are still crowded with those dead children’s souls…

I’m usually a big fan of ghosts. I love ghost stories, in all shapes and forms. However, Messages from the Dead was a giant dissapointment for me. There’s no suspense build up. The book starts out with showing us the ghosts almost right away, and we learn early on Donna’s community college was once a children’s hospital, still haunted by the dead. There was no giant mystery to solve. A lot of things that should’ve had a purpose, didn’t. So many things were completely radom, which was terribly annoying. The story also felt rushed, like the author had wanted to finish it as quickly as possible.

A lot of people seem to like the novella, but for me it didn’t have a lot of qualities. The first person narrative worked somewhat well, but didn’t entirely convince me. There wasn’t enough tension. The story was predictable, and at times, boring. The ghosts weren’t scary at all. I felt like the character, Donna, wasn’t really developed, too many things were left unsolved, and in general, this book just didn’t work for me.

 

Book Review: Shiftling by Steven Savile

17912072Title: Shiftling

Author: Steven Savile

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Goodreads

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One summer in 1985, the funfair came to the sleepy rural town of Ashthorpe, and with it the smells of hot dogs and candy floss, the allure of magicians and the Big Wheel, and the sounds of young girls giggling. But what promised to be the highlight of the season for a band of teenage boys soon turns to tragedy.
Years later, when Drew receives a mysterious phone call, he learns one of the most important lessons life has to teach: the past can never be forgotten.
For the past wears many faces, and some of them are drenched in blood.

Shiftling didn’t appeal all that much to me, at first glance. I’m not a huge fan of shifters in general, and the title suggested this would be another, albeit darker, werewolf story. But after reading a few more titles by the publisher, all of whom I enjoyed – some more than others – I was curious. Plus, seeing as this is a novella, I figured it would be a quick read.

Trust me, Shiftling isn’t about werewolves or anything at all. It’s far less cliché than that. However, the premise sounds like a bit of a cliché, I’ll give you that. Something happens during the summer of 1985 that continues to haunt the main character, Drew, until present day. Where have I heard that plot before? Oh, like in a bazillion other horror stories. Either way, I decided to read the book just for the heck of it, not expecting much.

Drew and his gang of friends, Scotty and Spider and some others who’s names I’ve already half-forgotten (they didn’t matter as much as the two mentioned) want to go to the fair. The year is 1985. Problem? They don’t have enough cash to go to the fair, so they start doing a bunch of odd jobs to get a sufficient amount of cash to go to the fair. One of these jobs includes working for Old Man Hamilton (okay, I’m not sure on his last name, I forgot, and I’m too lazy to check), an obscured, freaky old man who lives in a dilipidated building in the middle of nowhere. The old man agrees to have them tend his garden. For free. Which not everyone likes, but for some reason, Scotty, Drew and Spider agree to do it. Then Scotty gets a mysterious guy from the old man, and what ensures is a tale of darkness – of monsters and humans, of a past drenched in blood.

Mr. Savile manages to conjure a story that’s both dark and unsettling, but at the time starts of light and casual. It starts with introducing us to the main characters, and all seems nice and great. There’s a certain innocence to the young boys, a playfulness that seems lacking in today’s society. But the tone grows increasingly darker and more threatening. When Scotty and Drew confront the monster, their innocence is ripped away, and they’re left as mere shells of their former selves. The events that transpired have an effect on everyone, not just the boys in question. This novella has an astonishing amount of depth to it. The author manages to paint the gang of friends very convincly, as well as the strange events happening to them. The past is seen as something wonderful and amazing, but at the same time, dark and threatening.

The story may not be the most original, but the way Mr. Savile makes the characters and setting come to life is sublime. The monster encountered is convincing, and the effects on the present day life of the main characters, very unsettling. Well-written and thought-provoking, this novella is a must read for fans of dark fiction. My only pet pevee – and why I gave it a four as opposed to five star rating – is how easily I figured out what was going on, and the whole Spider business. I won’t say anything more as not to spoil anything, but that part of the book was a bit predictable.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Adela Arthur and The Creator’s Clock

adelabanner

I’m happy to host the starter day party today for “Adela Arthur and The Creator’s Clock”. I’ll be reviewing the book on August 1st, so stay tuned for the review, and meanwhile, check out the other tour stops!

Tour Schedule

July 26th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

July 27th: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

July 28th: Book Excerpt @ Brooke Blogs

July 29th:  Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

July 30th:  Book Excerpt @ Bookcracker Caroline

July 31st: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

August 1st: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

August 2nd: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

August 3rd: Book Review @ The Single Librarian

August 5th: Promo Post @ Deal Sharing Aunt

August 6th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

August 7th: Book Excerpt @ NightOwl Reads

August 9th:  Book Review @ Auggie Talks

August 11th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

August 13th: Book Review and Excerpt @ Atifa’s Bookshelf

August 15th: Author Interview @ Forever Book Lover

August 17th:  Book Excerpt @ Krystal’s Enchanting Reads

August 19th: Book Review @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

August 20th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

August 22nd: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

August 24th: Book Review @ Bookaholic Ramblings 

August 26th:  Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

About Adela Arthur and the Creator’s Clock

aaandcc.v1-FinalTitle: Adela Arthur & The Creator’s Clock

Author: Judyann McCole

Genre: Fantasy

To Who Ever This May Concern;

I wish I could tell you the contents of this book were purely fictional. That I, Adela Arthur, was just a normal sixteen year old from Portland and that dragons, giants, elves and mermaids were just myths. I wish these were legends shared from crazy old grandparents to crazy old grandparents around campfires. After all, that is what I used to believe.

I never would have thought they lived on the other side of our mirrors in a world called Cielieu. But they do…

I never would have thought there were humans, better known as Volsin that lived among them with the ability to create light from a single thought. But there are…

I never would have thought I was one of them… But I am…

I am the last Arthur and I was brought to the human world after a Volsin, filled with greed, began to strip the light from our kind.

The human world was supposed to be a safe haven… but he’s found us and the only way to stop him is to go back to Cielieu and begin training as a student in the Elpida Castle of Light.

Like I said I wish the contents of this book were purely fictional and not my life…

ADELA ARTHUR

Author Bio

judyannJUDYANN MCCOLE was a senior in high school when she started working on Adela Arthur and the Creator’s Clock during her history class. It started off as short story for a group of young kids she babysat for and grew into an adventure she herself wanted to go on. She is currently attending college in Virginia. Where she hopes to finish the next adventure in Adela Arthur’s life. She begin writing when she was in middle school most of it was just simple poetry but she was inspired by Maya Angelou and even a little of Dr. Seuss.

Links

Website~ http://judyannmccole.com

Blog~ http://thetorturednovelist.wordpress.com

Facebook~ https://www.facebook.com/judyann.mccole

Twitter~ https://twitter.com/JudyannMcCole

Goodreads ~ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18045451-adela-arthur-and-the-creator-s-clock

Book Review Special Offers by M.L. Ryan

SpecialOffers coverTitle: Special Offers

Author: M.L. Ryan

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Meet Hailey – possessed by an otherworldly being who was trapped in her Kindle.

Hailey Parrish was quick-witted, irreverent, and hadn’t had a date in three years. She only wanted an eBook reader because her collection of paperbacks threatened to take over her small living space. Little did she know that the “special offers” that prompted the purchase included much more than a reduced price in exchange for a few ads. The device came pre-loaded with the essence of Sebastian Kess, an erudite womanizer with magical abilities from a parallel dimension. When she inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined. And soon her predicament introduces her to yet another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. Can Alex and Hailey find a way to return Sebastian to his own body, stay one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is, and not lose their sense of humor?

Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, a bit of science fiction and a healthy dose of quirky humor.

This book was hilarious! That’s the best way to describe it. Hailey Parrish, the main character, has a sarcastic sense of humor that made me laugh out loud at times. She hasn’t had a date in three years, and although she kind of wished she had, a large collection of paperbacks threatening to take over her small living space, is a good way to live with not having a man in your life. But since paperbacks are old-fashioned, and they take up her much-needed space, she bought an eBook reader during a “special offers” purchase. Unfortunately those “special offers” included more than a reduced price! The eBook reader is pre-loaded with the essence of Sebastian Kess, a womanizer with magical abilities from a parallel dimension.

When Hailey accidently releases him, he starts inhabiting her body. These circumstances lead her straight to another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. But if they want to be together, Alex and Hailey will have to find a way to return Sebastian to his own body and stay one step ahead of the criminals pursuing him.

Hailey is a lovely character. I liked her sense of humor, her wit, her sharp intelligence. I also liked Ale, but I liked Hailey better. As an avid reader, she reminded me of myself, complete with weird little habits. The humor is what drew me to this book, but Hailey is the one who kept me reading.

There were a lot of genres featured here: action, suspense, romance, comedy, and the author handled all of them well. If you want a read that will have you laugh out loud, sit at the edge of your seat in suspense, or make swoony eyes at the romance, then this book is for you.

Book Review: Creation by Kat Mellon

CREATIONTitle: Creation

Author: Kat Mellon

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Who owns what you create?

Creation is a provocative exploration of what it means to be free. Set in a dystopian future where creativity is exclusively harnessed for the greater good, two artistically talented individuals remind us all never to take for granted the product of our own work and imagination.

Creation is inspired by Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

I started reading Creation thinking nothing much about it. The blurb didn’t say much, so I had zero expectations. Turns out this book was a pleasant surprise. It’s a very short read, at only 42 pages in .pdf format, but it’s a thought-provoking, provocative story that explores boundaries of freedom and creation, and dares to explain what it means to truly be free. The story is set in a dystopian future where creatvitiy is harnessed for the greater good, it’s forbidden to prefer one artistic piece above another, and those who think they’re more talented than others are severely punished. It’s not a bright future, not one I’d want to live in, but it shows us how often creativity is taken for granted, sometimes by the artist, but more often by the general public.

In the future, all artistic, creative people are forced to say in one house, where they fill their days writing manuscripts, working on paintings, practicing ballets, or writing symphonies, etcetera. They’re stacked in the house alphabetically, and our main character is in the room with the ‘J’s, Janet, Jess, etc. Creativity is used solely for the greater good, and the individuals themselves have no gain from it. Every masterpiece they write is taken away, every painting they finish is stolen from them. It’s a frustrating world, where not even creativity is truly free anymore.

The story was interesting, but even more so was the commentary in the novel, the silent and thoughtful punch to today’s society, especially online, where ideas are stolen in the hundreds, where talented artists get their art copied and misused every single day. A short, fast-paced read that made me think for a long time about the true meaning of creativity.

Contest

P.S. Kat’s hosting a contest for Creation! Learn more about it by clicking the image below.

Book Review: The Chosen by Annette Gisby

chosen_promoTitle: The Chosen

Author: Annette Gisby

Genre: M/M fantasy romance

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon, Amazon.co.uk, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn’t interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air, and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?

Prince Severin of Arcathia occassionally wanders into Oscia, in disguise, as not to upset the tentative peace after centuries of waging war against each other. He uses money he saved to buy slaves and set them free. This time, his eyes falls on Havyn, a young slave, who Severin decides to rescue. But Havyn isn’t an ordinary slave. With abilities far surpassing the ordinary, and traces of magic in his blood, plus a sharp tongue and a good amount of wit, he makes an excellent match for Severin, who has no interest in women or ever getting married, and would much prefer Havyn’s company. However, Severin doesn’t want to force the young man into something he may not entirely agree with, so he stays mute about his feelings.

When Severin and his travel companion, the royal wizard Ildar, leave to go back to Arcathia, it is decided that Havyn, with his magical aptitude, will become Ildar’s newest apprentice. However, this means it is the young man’s duty to stay chaste…Something that grows increasingly tougher the more time he spends with Severin. Relationships between princes and former slaves are highly frowned upon, naturally, but that doesn’t stop Severin and Havyn from longing for each other…

I was surprised by the depth of this story. At only 96 pages in .pdf format, it’s a quick, but intriguing read. The fantasy world we’re introduced to, with the neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia, is a vast, imaginative world, and well-explained, even in such a short time frame. We’re straightaway introduced to our main cast, and the relationships between the characters take shape rather quickly, but not too quick. I’m a fan of slow romance, the kind that builds gradually over time, starting with attraction and only over time developing in love. While there was definitely a build up here, I would have no problem if the build up had lasted longer.

The book started straight into the action though. Fantasy novels often start by rambling off the world’s history in the first few chapters, but this certainly didn’t happen here. The story is very character-driven, and it’s the characters who shine and make the book come alive. I preferred Severin over Havyn, but I liked both of them. Severin had a more serious attitude, which I preferred. His internal struggle was very well described, and I could easily relate to him.

Story-wise, I was hooked. This was a fast-paced, intriguing, romantic read.