“Don’t let it win by becoming the person it expects you to become. That’s the only thing we can do in our lives, fight against those who put us down.”
Format: eArc (NetGalley) I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published: 5th March 2014
Publisher: Sarah Dalton
Score: 5 out of 5
Synopsis taken from Amazon:
Mae never asked to be craft-born. She never wanted that burden.
The realm needs magic again, and the the King of Aegunlund has been waiting for the first craft-born girl to marry his son, Prince Casimir.
In Mae’s town of Halts-Walden, the ambitious miller claims his daughter Ellen is craft-born. Mae knows this is a load of hogwash, but she’s glad Ellen will have the unfortunate pleasure of becoming queen instead of her. All she has to do is sit back and wait until Casimir and Ellen are married, then she will finally be free of the threat of her fate. But on that day an event so shocking and terrible occurs that Mae finds herself entering the neighbouring cursed forest on a quest she never thought she’d have to follow.
Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing, no one, will get in her way
Yes, yes, yes! Yet another YA fantasy novel that I adore – thank you Sarah Dalton!
Firstly, I absolutely LOVE the cover. I was completely drawn in by this and thought it was really simple yet intriguing. It really conveys the fantastical element of the novel, without giving anything away.
The writing, oh my word the writing. Sarah Dalton has a true gift, this book is written beautifully. Each page had such vivid imagery and description, the prose flowed from chapter to chapter, keeping pace and momentum. I felt like I knew everything about the realm, Waerg Woods and villages, but there was still always more to come.
The setting is awesome. A world in which class matters, people are ostracized and isolated due to their heritage. A vile dictator, who calls himself King – I really hated this man! The Waerg Woods are terrifying. Throughout the journey of our main protagonists, Mae and Casimir, the woods become an eerie, fantastical place in which they encounter many hurdles. I won’t give too much away!
Mae and Casimir, I love them! Mae is our female heroine – a strong, independent and stubborn young woman seeking revenge. I enjoyed her struggle with her emotions and inner demons, coming to terms with her gift. I was rooting for her the whole time, willing her to do the right thing!
Casimir is our swoon factor, a royal prince accompanying Mae in order to find his betrothed. At first I wondered if I would grow to like him. He was the stereotypical, pompous prince, spoilt rotten. As the story develops we get to know him better and he certainly shows his vulnerability. Throughout his journey I feel he builds courage and breaks down his social class prejudices.
Anta, Mae’s stag – he was a wonderful addition to the narrative and became a lifeline, aide, support and friend. Incorporating an animal into the mix is wonderful and not something I have read much of.
The ending……cliffhanger….suspense….Noooooo! I want to know what happens, now! I can’t believe that the story ended as it did, hats off to you Sarah Dalton – I will definitely be purchasing the next instalment!
Thank you for the opportunity to review this book, I wish Sarah Dalton the success she truly deserves.
‘A MUST read! A YA fantasy novel which is beautifully written. A good balance of fantastical elements, romance, and powerful setting. Great characters and vivid description – you will definitely want to read the next one!’
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