In Snider’s debut fantasy, Emelyn discovers that her destiny will take her far from her mundane life as a servant.
Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Renaissance, the novel primarily follows Emelyn, an orphaned servant in a small town who dreams of a more meaningful existence. She starts her day excited about the annual festival and hastily completes chores. At midday, a spell of music and dancing, led by strange creatures, overcomes the townspeople. The enchantment provokes abnormal behavior. Emelyn is somehow immune to the spell and escapes with Corran, a stranger. Two Magisters, who employ magic to evade the creatures casting the spell, join the duo. Emelyn has only heard rumors about Magisters, and she’s hesitant to trust them, until they mention knowing her parents. Driven by her curiosity, Emelyn heads north with the Magisters. Corran reluctantly follows. The reader discovers magic and new cultures along with Emelyn. The protagonist’s voice, however, is sometimes frustratingly timid. Trusting and naïve, she often solves mysteries slowly. When convenient, Aldren, one of the Magisters, provides his perspective. Though these chapters give some insight into the world of the Order, they mostly serve to fill in some blanks where Emelyn may be absent and are too infrequent for the reader to connect with Aldren. Still, Snider cleverly unravels the plot, revealing various mysteries—the secret of the Order, whether the Magisters are trustworthy, Corran’s identity, Emelyn’s ultimate role and importance—giving readers new reasons to keep reading.
While slow to start, Snider’s fantasy grows more addicting with each chapter.