ARC was provided by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published before the release date (September 8th, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Loss of a parent, grief, murder, death, scenes of spiders (for those with arachnophobia), human experimentation
I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book! Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this book. All I needed to know was magic and a sea serpent that loves cake! What more could you possibly need? Apparently, we needed more because this book delivers so much more than those two elements.
“It was the raspberry sundae that did it.”
Our story follows Noa Marchena, an ex-princess who only wants two things; to restore her family to the throne and to prevent her brother, Julian, from being consumed by the dark powers he wields. Though these things are easier said than done. With her hands full from babysitting and a cake loving sea serpent, it makes being a royal advisor to her brother that much harder. And now that they know their enemies are searching for long-lost magical languages, Noa’s job just got that much harder.
Noa is quite the main character to follow. She’s the middle child of the the three siblings in this book and she’s quite the strategist of the family. Noa always seems to have her hands full with writing in the Chronicle, a book of record, and having to babysit her younger sister, Mite, when Julian isn’t teaching Mite how to practice her magical abilities or doing the important duties required of a ruler. Noa is the only one who doesn’t have any magical abilities or at least, she thinks she doesn’t. Once she uncovers she can speak one of the long-lost magical languages, Noa’s personality starts to change and we begin to see the flaws. And you know how I loved flawed characters.
This book is also broken down into three sections; Astrae, Evert, and Whelm. So below I’m going to give a spoiler free summary of each section.
✨ Part I: Astrae
Astrae is actually a moving island that you can steer by a ship wheel and is also the island Noa and her siblings fled to for safety. Here the Marchena siblings have found refuge and made the island their base of operations to plan to reclaim their home, Florean. Even though Julian has bound a sea serpent to their island and has allies on the island who are willing to help, this doesn’t stop their enemy forces from finding a way to impact their defenses and cause chaos. After a batch of mysterious mangos arrive on the island, suddenly defenses are becoming corrupted and the enemies armies have found their new safe haven. And now it’s up to Noa to save the whole island or be destroyed by the enemies who have taken everything away from them.
“That was when she realized two things at once: One, she was reading a magical language. And two, the man in the gray robe was standing right in front of her.”
✨ Part II: Evert
After the chaos the enemy armies have left, Noa, Julian, and Mite walk around the island to assess the damage that’s been done. The outcome isn’t good, but despite the damage, they were able to learn that the enemy forces are searching for the lost magical languages. So they set sail for an unmarked island known as Evert to find one of the lost magical languages. And once they uncover it, Noa’s curiosity gets the better of her, only leading to a great discovery. We also see Noa’s personality begin to change which seems to put her into some dicey situations.
✨ Part III: Whelm
Once Noa gets out of a really dangerous situation, she seems to find herself in another difficult situation. This time, she ends up losing one of the lost languages and thus, the enemy soon descends upon them. And the final battle will be one you’ll never forget!
I truly loved the world building throughout this book. I especially loved the way the magic languages came to life throughout this book. There’s a lot of mystery and something so exciting about it all. And can I take a moment to appreciate the otters in this book?! They’re the cutest and I loved how the author made them to be fluid between words, how they’re the only creature with that ability. I love that so, so much!
And of course, I have to tell you how much I feel in love with the sibling bonds. Despite how much they get on each others’ nerves, at the end of the day they would do anything to protect one another. And it felt like a true sibling relationship between all three of the Marchena siblings. They annoy each other, they get frustrated with one another, and they love each other so much that they do things to protect each other. We also see how they feel disconnected from one another and I really appreciated that.
My one real issue with this book was Mite’s chapters of her point of view. We only receive a few of these chapters and I felt like we could have done without them. Not to mention, for those who have a fear of spiders like myself, these chapters are laced with spider content. So I’m not the biggest fan of these, personally, but I think many readers will appreciate. Just know these chapters do have spider content.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. As I mentioned, I didn’t know what to expect going in except magic and a sea serpent. I just loved it and it’s such a fast read! I wasn’t it expecting it to fly by so fast. There’s definitely a presence of needing to know what will happen next and I think many readers are going to love this book come fall. And there’s also an old, lazy dragon who acts like a cat! Come on, content for the heart! Truly, a great read for those who like fast paced fantasies!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.