[A quick note: I love the cover of this book. I couldn’t resist doing spraying the edges. I had a bit of motivation to try ombré edges. Being my first time, I think it came out great. This book is even prettier now. And great news, the second book comes out this month! So if you’re someone who hates waiting, you can dive right in after reading this one.]
“𝗔𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁. 𝗣𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺 𝗳𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲. 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗹𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺𝘀𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀.”—Andrea Robertson
Ara was still in her mother’s womb when her kingdom fell. And the twin heirs to the throne disappeared, their lives purchased by the sacrifice of Ara’s father. With his death, so too died the last Loresmith of Saetlund. The Loresmith became nothing more than a myth. Fifteen years later, when the twin heirs appear in Ara’s obscure little town, claiming that she’s the key to regaining the kingdom. She’s the heir to the Loresmith title by blood. The time for hiding is over. She has a choice to make, seek her destiny or let the tyrants continue. But to take up her birthright, she must set out on a quest to seek the gods and gain their favor, or all will be lost.
This story grew on me, page by page. Filled with quests, an awesome book map, gods, lore, and a fight to regain a kingdom, it had a Viking-esk feel that captured my attention. There were a few timeless tropes like lost heirs, earned birthright, coming of age, betrayal, and found family that I really enjoyed. The characters were each unique and I especially loved Teth and Fox. While this book was a little slow, repetitive, and bloated in the beginning for world building purposes, it was a pleasant light-hearted read. And the second half moved faster.
First and foremost, this was a coming of age. Heirs to a kingdom unite with a legendary figure from lore who must also come into her own birthright. Together they go on a quest across the kingdom, hiding from enemies and facing tests. There wasn’t a whole lot of “newness” here. But it was still fun. However, I was a little disappointed. Here’s why:
Marketed as Game of Thrones meets An Ember in the Ashes, I expected a bit more. The action wasn’t as high-stakes as I was led to believe. Even for a YA. This might have been a marketing mistake. If I had gone in blind, it would’ve been fine. The story was written for a much younger YA audience (15-year-olds vs an older later teens). But it was sweet and didn’t fill me with anxiety like some edge-of-your-seat books tend to do. And I’m definitely looking forward to the next book coming out in a few weeks! I’ve come to really like the characters.
“𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲. 𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗰𝗲𝗮𝗻. 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝘄𝗶𝗺 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲. 𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗲𝗽𝘂𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲.”—Andrea Robertson
I do want to highlight a couple of things I especially enjoyed. Firstly, the idea of the Loresmith and Loreknights. I’ve never seen a book with a female blacksmith who has the power to forge legendary weapons. In this sense, it defied gender roles and I appreciate that. Secondly, there was also a hint of queer representation. I liked that too. And finally, I appreciated that Ara’s abilities were tied to a few key personality traits, and that her power was limited to one important rule: she was never allowed to lift her hand against someone unless in defense. This would insure that she would never misuse her power.
Overall, this is a lovely read for adults who enjoy YA fantasy and are looking for something low-key and enjoyable. That makes it the perfect read for the end of a stressful day. And it will absolutely appeal to the general YA audience it was intended for.
𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟰/𝟱⭐️