Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Julie Janis
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Life has never been easy for Derrick. Having been raised among the Nixormans—a species with quick reflexes who pride themselves on being great soldiers—all Derrick wants is to join the human world and finally belong. When Derrick meets a human girl in the forest, he finally takes a stand against his guardian and leaves for the human kingdom. But what he expected is far from what he finds. The human kingdom is suffering from the winter and is bathed in more Darkness than what he imagined.
Being the princess of a suffering kingdom cursed with an eternal winter didn’t make Kota Holland’s life as grand as it could be. Especially after her mother dies and her father marries a Dark mage. But when her father becomes ill and her stepmother takes control, Kota will do anything to heal him—even if it means dabbling with Dark magic for a cure.
When a cunning Dark mage enters their lives and offers to fix everything, Derrick and Kota find themselves making an unbreakable deal to get their answers. Failure to uphold their end of the deal and a curse will take their lives.
As Derrick’s and Kota’s lives intertwine, they find the winter growing stronger and the kingdom’s resources depleting. Without the answers they seek, more is at stake than just their lives. They risk the entire kingdom’s survival.
One wrong step and everything they’ve worked for will crumble.
Thank you to the author for an eARC.
A GOOD DEBUT.
An enjoyable read! I liked this for an author debut. It was well written and had a good cast.
I liked the main characters and thought they had solid depth and intentions. Kota and Derrick were easy to follow and cheer for. The magic system could have used some more boundary explanation but it was unique. The concept was there and I understood most of the parameters.
There were quite a few plot holes I noticed. A mix of wondering why someone had made that choice or needing more on a side character to further explain the situation. Even though the story moves well with action and slower moments there’s room for the pieces that were missing.
It was unfortunate that most of the antagonists were POC. The evil stepmother and stepsister vibes were alive and well. As were many, many other tropes. It took away from the surprising twists because you could see them from a mile away.
Derrick and Kota have a sweet burgeoning relationship. Personally, I’d love some angst, but it’s tender and I like it well enough. Killian is a great morally grey character. I’m curious how he further fits into the series.
A mixed bag, but a positive debut. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Fantasy
- Language: none
- Romance: flirting
- Violence: physical and magical altercations, torture, near death experiences