Series Review: Spoken Mage by Melissa Cellier

I reviewed Voice of Power a few weeks back. This series was so good I moved straight onto the next, and the next, and the next, and I wanted to share my thoughts (and enthusiasm). So, here you go…

Book 2: Voice of Command

Elena has found the power in her voice–now she must decide how to use it

Finally accepted as a mage, Elena struggles with her commonborn roots. And when disaster strikes the kingdom, she can’t shrug off the death toll as the mageborn have always done. Yet the limitations of her spoken magic hold her back–both in saving lives among the people and in competitions in the Academy’s arena.

In desperation she turns to an unlikely source of assistance–Prince Lucas. But just as she begins to master her powers, she finds herself the pawn of stronger forces.

With everything she’s struggled for almost within her grasp, she must decide what–and who–is worth sacrificing to come into her full power and take her place among the mages.

My review:
In book two, Elena changes from the oddity half the people in power want to destroy while the other half want to treat as a scientific specimen, into someone they all think they might be able to find a way to exploit. Her gradual change of status is convincing and an excellent source of conflict – for Elena herself as well as those around her.

Elena’s self-awareness is hugely entertaining, while her determination is inspiring. I really like this character – she’s a true pleasure to spend time with.

The romance in book two is unfolding wonderfully – it’s messy and impossible and heart-wrenching, although the move from antagonism to a solid friendship strikes me as good progress. But they are going to have to work very hard for their happy ending – and I love it!

Book 3: Voice of Dominion

Even the Spoken Mage has limits to the power of her voice

Elena may be the only Spoken Mage in history, but she struggles with limitations. Unable to stockpile written workings as her mageborn year mates do, she runs the constant risk of burning out. But when the Armed Forces draw the third years to the front lines of their war, Elena’s strength and flexibility may be necessary to keep them all alive.

As Elena wrestles with how much she will sacrifice for the war, Lucas must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for her. Faced with a greater threat than even they realize, Elena and Lucas must work together and either fight or be consumed by their enemies.

My review:
Wow. Non-stop drama. Things move fast and furiously in book 3, with a trip to the front and immediate danger casting doubt over the future of them all. The friendship group is a delight with their refreshing banter providing a great counterpoint to the tension of battle. As I read, I found my heart-rate increasing as the tension and rapid action ratcheted up. This series gets better and better!

Book 4: Voice of Life

In her fourth year at the Academy, Elena should be focused on final exams and graduation. Instead, she has no choice but to stop a decades-long war–at least if she wants any future with Lucas.

But it’s hard to stop a war when you’re nowhere near the front lines. And an unexpected invitation–one she can’t refuse–only complicates the matter further. Embroiled in political machinations beyond her experience, Elena will have to plumb the depths of her remarkable power and new abilities.

As she finally learns who she can and can’t trust, she’ll risk everything to win a future for herself, her family, and her kingdom. But if she makes a misstep, the price could be more than she’s willing to pay.

My review:
This is impossibly good! About a third of the way through I had to check how many books are in the series because there was so much going on that I couldn’t believe it could all wrap up in this book.

But it does, and it does so beautifully. There are so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to predict what’s about to happen, but it all unfolds beautifully and the ending was deliciously satisfying.

Melanie Cellier is definitely one to look out for – I’m so pleased she’s got a plentiful backlist for me to work through!

Love fantasy? Try Katy Haye’s Princess Witch series, now complete and ready for you to binge-read. Start Relle’s story with Dragon Thief, full of magic, danger, deadly royals and a heroine who won’t accept her fate tamely!

Cover graphic for Dragon Thief by Katy Haye.

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Review: Fae Hunter by Sarah K Wilson

About the book:

Our lives are nursery rhymes and faerie stories now, Allie.

When Allie Hunter’s twin sister steps through a magic circle into the Faerie realm, she opens the door to deadly fae, bent on causing havoc and harm to Allie’s village.
Rendered blind to all but the spirit world, Allie is frustrated and angry but determined to bring the fae down. No matter what that might cost her.
But in a world where lies are truth, power is sustenance, and every action ripples into violence, how can one mortal stop all of Faerieland?

Illustration of the cover of Fae Hunter

Review by Katy Haye:

My first review for 2020 is an absolutely stonking story. If everything else I read this year could be just half as good I would be a very happy reader!

Sarah K L Wilson is a phenomenal storyteller. I was gripped from the first word, sunk straight into the world of Allie and her village.

Fae Hunter rocks along at a breathless, hectic pace and is chock full of feelings. I wanted to wrap Allie in a hug and spent much of the book enraged on her behalf, wanting to burn down her awful neighbours.

Like an original, blood-soaked fairytale,  Fae Hunter is bursting with vengeance and fury and I loved every single word.

***I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Fae Hunter. It releases on January 7th and is available right now at the laughably low price of 99c/p. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy right now, because I can’t believe it’ll stay that low for long (it certainly shouldn’t!)***

 

Love fantasy? Try Katy Haye’s Princess Witch series, now complete and ready for you to binge-read. Start Relle’s story with Dragon Thief, full of magic, danger, deadly royals and a heroine who won’t accept her fate tamely!

Cover graphic for Dragon Thief by Katy Haye.

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Review: Voice of Power by Melanie Cellier

About the book:

In Elena’s world words have power over life and death—but none more so than hers.

As the daughter of shopkeepers, Elena has always known that the mysteries of reading and writing are closed to her. Only the mageborn can risk harnessing the power unleashed from putting pen to paper. Until Elena discovers an impossible new ability and joins the elite ranks of the mages.

But with the kingdom at war, the authorities can’t agree if Elena is an asset, or a threat they need to eliminate. Thrust into the unknown world of the Royal Academy without friends or experience, Elena will need all of her wits, strength, and new power to carve a place for herself.

Except as the attacks become more personal, wits and strength won’t be enough. Elena will have to turn to new friends and an enigmatic prince to unlock the mysterious potential of her words and survive her first year as a trainee mage.

Review by Katy Haye:

My last review for 2019 and my goodness, it’s a cracker! This YA fantasy started out as an unassuming, easy read, but it has real depth.

Melanie Cellier has created an excellent world with in-built tensions, and the magical system is refreshingly new and convincing.

Elena was a strong and relatable character, and I loved how she grew during the course of the book – and how that tied in with the world and its politics and beliefs. I hope the next in the series will go in the direction I think has been hinted at – where there is lots of scope for character development and a whole heap of drama.

My only niggle is that the romantic elements were beautifully handled, low key and believable – up until the kiss, which felt clumsy and tacked-on to me.

Overall, I loved this book and I’ll definitely be continuing Elena’s adventures (Voice of Power is first in the series).

Love fantasy? Try Katy Haye’s Princess Witch series, now complete and ready for you to binge-read. Start Relle’s story with Dragon Thief, full of magic, danger, deadly royals and a heroine who won’t accept her fate tamely!

Cover graphic for Dragon Thief by Katy Haye.

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Review: Blood Trial by Kelly St Clare

About the book:

The dice are rolled at midnight.

As the twenty-one-year-old heiress to the Le Spyre fortune, my life should consist of strawberry mojitos and golf carts. Right?

But I’m determined to forge my own path.

Desperate to escape the meaningless games of the rich, I flee my family’s estate.

Secret alias—check.
Place to sleep—uh, kind of?
Job—crap!

I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but that’s the least of my worries.

My city is a giant board game. The players are supernatural— freakin’ vampires—including an overbearing crown prince whose unwanted attention could spell my demise.

Now, I must play their deadly game, or my grandmother and best friend will pay the ultimate price.

Review by Katy Haye:

Okay, so first I have to point out that this is NA, not YA. It’s a step up in maturity from what you might have read by Kelly St Clare before. There’s chemistry and steam aplenty between our hero and heroine, but nothing explicit or unacceptable. Just be aware!

Blood Trial provides a refreshing new take on the vampire myth and the premise of the story is both crazy and captivating. I always love Kelly St Clare’s characters and I utterly *adore* Basilia’s determination and sass.

The relationship development between Basilia and Kyros was spot-on and I just loved watch them prowl around each other as they learned more about the other and their feelings started to gain real depth. It gave an excellent portrayal of a couple determined to get both head and heart in alignment before acting on their biological attraction.

I love all of Kelly St Clare’s books and this series looks set fair to become a new favourite. I can’t wait to read book two, which I pre-ordered as soon as I finished Blood Trial. Click the graphic above and grab your copy (to buy or with your KU subscription) NOW!

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Review: Awaken by Skye Malone

About the book:

Dive into an underwater world of ancient secrets, dark magic, and love that will risk it all…

Running away from home was never Chloe Kowalski’s plan. Neither was ending up the target of killers, or having her body change in unusual ways. She only wanted a vacation, someplace far from her crazy parents and their irrational fear of water. She only wanted to do something normal for once, and maybe get to know her best friend’s hot stepbrother a bit better at the same time.

But the first day she goes out on the ocean, strange things start to happen. Dangerous things that should be impossible. Things to which ‘normal’ doesn’t even begin to apply.

Now madmen are hunting her. A mysterious guy with glowing blue eyes is following her. And her best friend’s stepbrother seems to be hiding secrets all his own.

It was supposed to be a vacation. It’s turning out to be a whole lot more.

Review by Katy Haye:

I liked Awaken, but I didn’t love it. The characters were vivid and enjoyable, and the premise was fun, if not providing anything new, but the plotting wasn’t as assured as I would have liked. There were a couple of frustrating moments where Chloe behaved in strange ways. She was desperate to get back to the ocean – but then stayed in the house and went to the bookshop rather than visiting the beach her soul was apparently crying out for.

I did, however, love the twist with Noah and Maxim three quarters of the way through. They were a great addition to the story, and the family dynamics were excellent in Chloe’s “second” family.

Overall, Awaken was okay, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I always want to. It’s not a priority to move on with the series.

Posted in fantasy, fiction, magic, mythology, review, Romance, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , ,

Review: Supernatural Reform School by Sullivan Gray and E C Farrell

About the book:

I went from one of the most powerful supes in the world…

…to the bottom of my class at Supernatural Reform School.

The academy is for the rejects: shifters who can’t shift, witches who can’t spell, and psychs like me, who are powerless. All I want is to get my powers back online.

Not to make friends.

Definitely not to fall for my dragon shifter instructor.

But I’m beginning to think that losing my powers was no accident. Someone is stealing magic.

As I dig deeper into this conspiracy with my fellow reform-schoolers, we uncover a lot more than we bargained for. And the tentative human/supernatural relationships hang in the balance.

We may find out the truth, how can we do anything to stop it when we don’t have our powers?

Review by Katy Haye:

I love, love, loved this. Cade (very glad she had a shortening because I wasn’t in the least sure where to put the emphasis in the name Arcadiana) was the best heroine I’ve read in a long time. I guess the usual paranormal story is for a “normal” girl to suddenly discover she has otherworldly powers. Cade was the opposite: a powerful supe, she abruptly loses her powers and has to deal with life where she’s nothing special. She was angry, determined, scared, spiky, damaged, and just so real. I was totally rooting for her throughout the story, even when she was at her angry worst pushing everyone away.

The academy setting made for some great relationships. There were goodies and baddies, without the authors falling into the tired trope of pretty girls who don’t like the heroine = spoilt, stupid and nasty.

And Sebastian. Oh, Bash… A fabulous love interest. I’m a bit biased by reading his prequel that you get by joining Sullivan Gray’s mailing list, where you get to find out more about him, but I am rooting for him to get his powers back just as much as I am for Cade to do so.

There were some excellent twists and turns, and a big arc that will need a few more books to resolve. I can’t wait, because I cannot get enough of these characters.

Highly recommended!

 

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Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

 

About the book:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Review by Katy Haye:

I’m in two minds. There was so much to love about Children of Blood and Bone. The world-building and the premise of oppression and freedom was a fabulous foundation for the story, and the writing was magnificent, rich and glorious. The characters were utterly fabulous: complex and conflicted, I ached for them. They faced truly thorny problems and struggled with how to deal with them.

I did think the tension sagged in the final quarter of the book, which is a shame when you’re in the finale and everything should be crashing together. And then I’ll freely admit I didn’t even understand the ending. I don’t want to give a spoiler, but I assume it was supposed to be a massive twist to drive readers into the next in the series, but I didn’t find it particularly startling and I couldn’t understand why Zelie was so shocked and horrified. Sorry to report, it irritated me enough that I don’t think I’ll bother with the next, which is a great shame because it was otherwise a fabulous read.

Your experience may vary, and I kind of hope it does!

Can’t get enough of fantasy? Try Katy Haye’s Princess Witch series. It’s complete and ready for you to binge-read. Start Relle’s story with Dragon Thief. If you like magic, danger, deadly royals and a heroine who won’t accept her fate tamely, Dragon Thief is the book for you!

Cover graphic for Dragon Thief by Katy Haye.

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