Meh. This an ok fantasy. It’s an easy read, but the story doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s listed as a YA Fantasy and while the story is as simplistic as a YA book, I think the inclusion of a lot of discussion about sex takes it out of that category. Perhaps if you’re talking about college-age YA, then perhaps.
Shine is a mundane orphan without any magical power in a royal family full of mages. Because she has no magical ability she is barely tolerated by the family and left to run the family’s country estate. She lives on the estate with the mundane aunt that helped raise her and a telepathic cat. When the entire family descends on the estate for the annual Fertility Festival, all hell breaks loose. There is plenty of family drama, fights, a secret letter, a fugitive from another land, and eventually a murder.
There is almost no worldbuilding in the book, so I didn’t have any idea why the world was set up the way it was. There were a few allusions to a war between mundanes and mages that resulted in a pact between the two that offered protection for the mundanes, but no specifics were given. There was also no full explanation as to how the mages got their power, or what powers they had other than being able to fly and move people around. Shine’s character was developed a little bit and I liked her, but she didn’t have much of an arc throughout the book. There was almost no character development of any of the minor characters, although several of them were fun to read. Most of them were very one-note and the usual stereotypes.
The book was fun and interesting to read, but it seemed to meander and didn’t really have much of a point. It leapt from one drama to another. The overarching storyline of Shine trying to help a fugitive get back to his homeland could have been so much more interesting if it had been developed better. The ending was abrupt and completely underwhelming. I’m not sure if this is the first book in a series or not, but if it isn’t, then the ending is even more disappointing than I thought.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Rebellion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.