Crown Prince Alfie has unwittingly unleashed an evil god that must be recaptured before it destroys the kingdom of Castallan.
Unable to come to terms with the death of his older brother, Prince Alfie has traveled the world, searching and failing to find magic that will bring Dez back. Back home, uncertain of his fitness to be the new crown prince and still trying to find the elusive magic, he meets Finn, a thief with a rough background, a sassy tongue, and the ability to change her facial features to resemble others’. When his cousin is poisoned, Alfie—an inexperienced bruxo—improbably releases a god that has been bound for centuries by the combined magic of the finest bruxos. Will the cousin be saved? Will the kingdom? Unless he is recaptured, the god of darkness, Sombra, will cast darkness over the world and bring about Nocturna. Debut author Motayne has created two likable and well-fleshed-out characters in Alfie and Finn but has failed to do the same for the world upon which the novel rests. Tequila, sangria, flan, and the peso are but crumbs standing in for worldbuilding. Other characters in the novel are as sketchily described as their world.
An interesting premise, likable characters, and high adventure carry this novel, but it is difficult to see it becoming a trilogy without a backbone to hold it up. (Fantasy. 14-18)