Right from the beginning I was captured by this book. Readers first meet Sarajane as she is searching for her mother who has vanished with no explanation and no leads. The effect of her mother's disappearance is felt by the whole family, and affects every aspect of their lives. Sheridan did a great job of setting up the backstories of her characters and making sure the readers cared about what happened to them.
Another great aspect of the characters in this book was Sheridan's ability to write unlikable characters. The king of Saskia is a very complex character. Many times, I wanted to throw something at him. Yet, at other times his redeeming qualities made me want to give him another chance. Even Sarajane's mother had this duality to her character that will make readers struggle to know their feelings toward her. There were no stock characters. Everyone had a story, a life before the book, that played a role in their decisions and actions. I am very interested to continue following the characters and seeing how they change and grow.
The world of Saskia was well developed as well. Details like the physical landscape and overall geography of the kingdoms were carefully planned and added depth to the story. The magic system was unique and the story behind it was something I found very interesting. This first book provided some answers about the world and magic, but I got the impression that there is more left unsaid. Along with the world, the overall story was very well thought out. I didn't notice any plot holes or sections that didn't mesh with everything else. Sarajane's introduction to this world was full of conflict, complications, and danger. I was entertained all the way through.
Finally, the romance. There are really two love stories this book explores. Sarajane's mother and biological father face no end of problems given their stations in life when they first meet. All of which is complicated by her mother becoming pregnant with Sarajane and being forced to flee. It was very interesting to see these two be reunited and see the changes in each one. My feelings about them changed several times throughout the book.
The other romance is between Sarajane and a guardian named Tristan. At their initial meeting. Sarajane can't stand him, which is perfectly reasonable. Yet, as they are pushed together during traveling and fighting, true feelings begin to emerge. That hardly means being together will be easy. Strict class systems are only part of the problem. Forced arranged marriages are an even bigger issue, but in the end the danger facing them both and the wrath of Sarajane's father present no end of problems keeping them apart. I have no doubt that these two will face many problems throughout the book that they will have to overcome in order to share their lives.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The storyline, world, and characters were engaging and kept me turning pages right up until the end.
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About the Author
Aoife Marie Sheridan is twenty nine years of age. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, a small town just outside Navan. Aoife was raised in Navan but left with her family at the age of sixteen. Aoife has always had a passion for writing but mostly poetry. This is her first time to write a novel.
Aoife Marie Sheridan studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked in this profession for several years but with the economic downturn she was made redundant.
Aoife Marie Sheridan now spends endless hours reading and writing.