Eramane is stolen away by a dark force, only to find that it has a special role in mind for her.
The village of Eludwid is plagued by a unique problem: every once in a while, a horrific beast descends upon a local woman and impregnates her, often killing or traumatizing her husband in the process. The book opens with two such cases, as one woman jumps to her death in front of her grieving husband, rather than face giving birth to the child of a monster, and another goes through with the delivery, knowing that the Riders, protectors of the village, will never let her baby reunite with The Nameless One, the beast that threatens them all. Eramane Fahnestock, however, lives a regular life with her family and friends, though she longs for more adventure and excitement. While on a picnic with a young man who wants to marry her, Eramane and her date are beset by the beast itself, and Eramane is seemingly rescued by the handsome and mysterious, Adikiah, who promptly takes her back to his castle. While it’s clear Adikiah is not the savior he claims to be, Eramane trusts him for a surprisingly long time, despite the fact that he will not let her leave the place he’s brought her to. She quickly learns of his own connection to the Nameless One, and the role he expects her to play, one different from that of the women presented at the beginning of the book. Meanwhile, Eramane’s brother Samiah discovers she is missing and sets out to find her, but he might be too late to save Eramane from the Nameless One, and from herself. Jumps into Samiah’s point of view can be jarring, especially since the present tense voice works better in Ermane’s first person chapters than in the third person chapters of Samiah. Sometimes the plot progresses too quickly, missing opportunities to build conflict to its breaking point, rather than simply introducing the conflict. In one example, Eramane begins to suspect that Adikiah might be less than well intentioned, and almost immediately, his nefarious plan commences - more time given to her attempts to learn about his plan and stop him would add more conflict to what is already a solid suspenseful read. Otherwise, this is a well paced, well written story, with good suspense, and a good main character in Eramane. Readers will want to know what happens to her after this book.
This solid fantasy tale is well paced and well told, even if it misses some opportunities.