Once upon a time…
A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.
Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.
With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.
This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart.
As we all know, I’m a sucker for anything mythological. So adding Irish mythology to the Beauty and the Beast story? Not to mention that gorgeous cover? I smashed the download button on my phone so fast my finger throbbed painfully the rest of the day.
This story has vibrant characters, breathtaking scenery, and such a unique voice that I was KO’ed from the freaking prologue. It reads like a fairy tale. Do you remember the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast? With the deep voiced narrator recounting the events of the Beast’s transformation? How it pulled you into the narrative? Drew you in until you were so entranced by the story, you grew still, watching the screen intently, just waiting to hear what would happen next?
Yeah, the prologue sucked me in like that. Like a freaking, I don’t know, black hole of narrative wonder.
My favorite part came from the wide cast of fairies. We meet pixies, gnomes, boggarts–a slew of mythological fae. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are creepy (I’m looking at you, MacNara Twins) but they all seem to personify the core elements of fae lore: they’re tricky and clever.
I appreciated that so much. It added an element of suspense to Sorcha’s tale because she–and by extension you, the reader–never really knew if a situation or encounter was going to swing in her favor or against her efforts. And Hamm utilized that suspense masterfully. Half the time I was left sitting on the proverbial edge of my seat, convinced she’d run into a malicious fae, only to see that very creature offer advice or point her in the direction she needed to go. Similarly, fae I thought would help ended up hurting her quest.
Each character in the story had such a vibrant personality. And more, they all experienced a level of depth that made them feel real. Harmful actions were done with the best of intentions while good deeds had ulterior motives. Each character wanted something, and I could see their desires on the page, making them all that more believable.
This story was captivating. I’m giving it 4.5 stars and the only reason–the ONLY reason–I’m not giving it more is because I had trouble pronouncing some of the words. That’s not on Hamm’s fault in the slightest but I would have loved a pronunciation guide with the glossary.
P.S. I’ll be reveiwing the conclusion of Sorcha and Eamonn’s story next week, so come back for my review of Veins of Magic.