In this romantic YA debut, princess Aishling Morrighan Delaney must survive her teenage years and a horde of evil faeries that want her family destroyed.
Everyone knows that Aishling, the daughter of an Irish parliament member, is the princess of Clan Delaney. What they don’t know is that she’s the Gael Siridean, a slayer of savage Alorcán faeries; she’s also secretly “unofficially betrothed” to her best friend, Patrick, prince of the Kavanaughs. Their marriage will unite Ireland’s two most powerful clans, keeping this world—and the parallel Otherworld—safe from brutal Alorcán rule. Helping Aishling through her formative years are Cearnaigh O’Brallaghan, friendly Maolán faerie and combat mentor, and Morrighan, a war faerie who bestows the teen with enchanted weaponry and armor such as a faerie cross pendant. But formidable forces work against them, including the demonic Satariel and the bestial Dullahan. There’s also Raphael, a rakish demon who’s thrown into this combustible mix to distract Aishling from her fate. During her trip to Spain with the Trinity College Orchestra, she and Raphael are entranced by one another. But will Aishling resist this dangerously inviting lover for the sake of her clan and country? Debut author Stephens weaves a dense skein of fantasy and romance in the first volume of her new series. The magic begins with transporting depictions of Ireland, where “[d]rops of sunray billowed down through the green canopy to spotlight the springy ferns covering the forest floor.” Against this backdrop is faerie lore mixed with Buffy-style action. Stephens briskly delivers Aishling’s teen years with ethereal, compact prose: “I felt like a painter’s canvas, soaking in the artist’s passion and inspiration; so tedious were his brush strokes, so masterful his details, I could feel every fine line he produced on my skin.” Stephens also takes a direct approach, as when Raphael says that Aishling is “the most exquisite creation” he’s ever seen. Such a sure narrative hand, not to mention the epic finale, will assure readers the adventure has only begun.
A sumptuous, entrancing debut.