A series opener blending fantasy and horror with an undercurrent of romance.
The sudden disappearance 50 years ago of the Sun Goddess, Raina, left the realm of Asidia awash in moonlight and misery. The annual Calling drafts boys, such as 18-year-old Kiara’s sickly brother, Liam, into the Knights of Eternal Star, who then venture into the accursed land of the Mist in search of answers. But Kiara’s brazenness captures the attention of the Hand of Death, the Commander of the Knights, and she’s recruited in her brother’s stead. Years of rigorous combat training have prepared Kiara well for the Knights—but not for the growing attraction between her and the Hand of Death himself, enigmatic Commander Jude Maddox. As they journey into the Mist, they must trust each other in order to survive and untangle the legends that just might save the realm. In a crowded fantasy field, the novel distinguishes itself by leaning into the macabre nature of its literally dark world, complete with shadow beasts, flesh-eating spiders, and the mercurial Mist itself. The unrelenting action sequences are not for the squeamish, and the dead (and undead) body count piles up. Cutscenes provide necessary narrative magic, reviving Kiara and Jude’s romance and buttressing the worldbuilding lore that opens many of the chapters. Main characters are cued white.
An atmospheric and promising first installment.(map) (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)