Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.
But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.
This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.
Overall, I really enjoyed the excitement and adventure of this story. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I wanted to know how the story was going to play out. Were her powers going to help or hurt her? Would Shalia get to see the desert again? Would Shalia and Calix grow to truly love each other, or was Calix only using Shalia? And what about his brother? Where does his loyalty lie? So many exciting plot twists!
But. Calix exhibits some violence against Shalia, and for me personally, it didn’t work in this story. I couldn’t see past it, and it remained a dark cloud over my reading experience. I’ll clarify and point out that there are only a few instances of this throughout the book, because I don’t want to mislead you into thinking it’s constant and the focus of the story. It is not. It was simply something I could not look past.
If the synopsis and my review have you intrigued, but you’re unsure, I recommend checking out some other reviews before making your final decision. This book will definitely appeal to plenty of readers. It contains mature content, so I’d personally recommend it for older and/or more mature readers.
Book stats: Hardcover, 448 pages, Bloomsbury UK, January 30, 2018