Nocturna (A Forgery Of Magic#1) | Book Review

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)Author: Maya Motayne
Genre : Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Audiobook available from Storytel.in
Audiobook Duration: 12 hours
Released on: 07-May-2019
Publishers: Balzer + Bray

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Let me warn you, its dark ! Dark Fantasy and a lot of magic – elemental and a special kinda one called propio – a magic that’s unique to each person and appears to them when they really need it.

Prince Alfehr is not ready to ascend the throne – the throne that was supposedly his brother Dez’s – and is hellbent in avenging his brother’s death and trying to bring him back, all at the same time. Finn Voy is a badass thief, and her propio is face-shifting that helps her survive and to escape her mentor-slash-evil-adopted-father.  Luka is Alfie’s cousin and his best friend, who is left with the loss of dealing with Dez and a runaway Alfie and is rightfully mad at him for leaving him.

When Alfie accidentally releases a dark magic into the world, he seeks the help of his best friend and Finn (who he meets when he is reckless and trying to get hold of forbidden magic books) Together they devise a plan – one that leaves Alfie with no other choice than to get help from the person who caused his brother’s death. Only Problem – the dark magic is growing and infecting his people and said murderer is in an isolated prison bound with magic. So the plot is all about how and if they survive this evil magic thing.

So the world … is amazingly built, intricate details are shared throughout the book. The history of the Kingdom of Castallan , their elemental magic and how they were enslaved by the Englass and fought their freedom strikes a similarity with real world. And there is also the story about how the Gods created Castallan and and about Sombra, the God of Darkness who is buried because of his threat of bringing about Nocturna to the world.

The main characters – all three of them were good and I loved Luka so much!! Finn was fantastic and broken and monstrous, while Alfie was hurting and scared and conflicted. The author has hinted a romance between them but nothing happens in this book so maybe the next one and I can’t wait !! But all together, this first instalment was almost perfect and fulfils all fantasy lovers expectations.

The relationship between this book and me could be described as a slow burn romance!! I initially found it really hard to get into the story because of the complex magic system, but the book wowed me over towards the end. I read other reviews when I was about to give up in the beginning and many found it similar to Shades of Magic series by VE Schwab. I’m yet to read it, so that didn’t put me off.

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A definite 4 stars from me!!.

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Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts on it, if you have.

You can buy the book from Amazon using my link.

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Ash Princess – Book Review

I recently read Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian and thought I would revive my blog by writing a review for the book.

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Source: Own Picture

Synopsis
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here
As you can see from synopsis, this book has more or less a Cinderella kind of plot where the kingdom’s fair and just ruler is overthrown by an ironist villain and the story is about avenging and rebelling against the villain. There are several books on similar story line in YA fantasy but I haven’t read that many of hem so I still found the book interesting and amazing.

What I liked 

  • Character arc – Theo

Theo’s character shows a fantastic transformation from the beginning of the book till its end. When punished brutally and ridiculed among a crowd, you cannot expect a young child to think of revenge. Theodosia suffers under the hands of the Kaiser and for every rebellion that breaks out, the Kaiser takes out his anger on her. When she is ready to give up all hope, the Kaiser makes her do something that inadvertantly sparks the rebel in her. Even then she doesn’t immediately become a rebel overnight. She plots, she manipulates, she acts and finally gets the revenge she wants.

  • Concept of magical stones

The Spirit gems, although not much explored in the book, made it sort of interesting and fascinating. The inner conflict that Theo has against using them, only makes you appreciate the fact she wants to be just and deserving in front of her Gods.

  •   The Two Kingdoms and their differences

The author has painted a vivid difference between Kalavoxian and Astrean kingdoms and their cultures. How Astrea came into being, how brutal Kalovaxians can be when it comes to wars and acquiring other kingdoms is all explained well in the book. The fact that the Kaiser does not allow Theo to grow up as Astrean, but he and his courtiers wear and follow Astrean customs and fashion, is just another way of showing his rank and power to her.

  • Other Important characters

Cress!! She definitely needs to be mentioned in the review. She grows in Kalovaxian ways and never realises that her people are to be blamed for the death of innocents because she feels that they deserve it for rebelling. She is sweet enough to her kingdom’s prisoner  but what happens in the book and her character transformation after that is absolutely good. I’m looking forward to reading about her in the sequel.

Artemisia is total badass and never cares for Theo’s feelings towards doing right. She feels Theo is not suffering enough like her people in the caves, rather she is living inside a castle and the luxuries it has to offer.

Other characters like Prinz Soren and Blaise didn’t really make an impression, although I did feel pity of Soren.

What I didn’t like

  • Definitely, the love triangle

The love triangle felt weak and forced, because of Theo’s feelings towards Soren and Blaise felt meh! I couldn’t really get into the love story and all along it felt like every other YA fantasy. Or more like a game of Kiss, Marry, Kill !!

  • Similarities with Sansa Stark

You cannot stop wondering about how similar are the character arcs of these two strong fictional females. Sansa was also ridiculed and abused in King’s Landing in Game of Thrones and Theo’s experiences are almost the same. Especially when the Kaiserin calls her little lamb!

You’re a lamb in the lion’s den, child. You’re surviving. Isn’t that enough?”

Sansa too later becomes focussed on revenge and avenging her dead siblings and parents. Theo wants revenge for all the people who died at the Kaiser’s hands and especially the death of Theyn who slit her mother’s throat. I just want my characters to be different and stay with me without reminding of another literary character.

But overall, the book is written really good. Though its starts off slow, the latter parts regain pace and leaves you wanted for more towards the end. I can’t wait for Lady Smoke, the sequel that comes out in 2019!. I’m looking forward to read more about the Spirit Gems, the fate of Cress and Blaise, more Astrean and Kalovaxian history and of course, the Dragnonsbane!!

I would recommend this book to you if you love YA fantasy and books like Throne of Glass, Red Queen etc.

My rating 4 stars.

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More about the book

Author : Laura Sebastian

Publishers: PanMacmillan

Published on : April 2018

Source: own copy, purchased from Amazon.in

First book in trilogy.

You can get the book from Amazon.in

If you have read this book, let me know how did you like it?

If you know more books of similar plot line, I’m happy to discuss 🙂

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