I want to start this post off firstly, by saying I’m sorry. Life has been quite hectic lately (as I’m sure you’re all aware) so I haven’t been powering through my books as fast as normal. I’m hoping that I can pick up the pace a bit soon and keep punching those reviews out for you all 🙂
Published by Vampa Productions (7th September 2018)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, V Productions, and the author via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 3.5
Luvenia Rousseau lives life terrified. She is terrified that any day now, the tyrant Queen that rules her war-torn land, will demand her collectors come, come for Luvenia, for her sister Ester, and her mother and brother. Every day she wakes up wondering, is today the day? She already lost her father, she can’t afford to lose anyone else. So when her brother comes home after being away for months, they think that things will be okay for a little while, but it is not so. When Luvenia’s family is torn apart, she thinks her life is over, close to death and ready to give up, she is given a second chance at life by a dear friend she didn’t even realise existed. Luvenia finds herself spirited away to a magical place called Aureland. There she meets a powerful and kind Queen who is battling against the very enemy that threatens Luvenia’s existence. Together they will train and work towards a brighter future. Together, they can conquer anything, can’t they?
I was really interested to read this book as it’s premise sounded incredibly interesting. And honestly it was. We meet Luvenia and her family as they struggle to get through life day by day, living on the most basic of foods, wearing clothing that at times can barely keep them warm, and smuggling strawberries for sale out of their prohibited strawberry patch. Life isn’t great, but they’re living, so that’s the main thing for them. Until Luvenia is forced to face the truth about herself, and her family as the evil Queen Pietro tears her family apart.
Luvenia, in the beginning, was an incredibly strong character, she worked hard for her family and herself, and she made sure that she took care of them. After the attack from Pietro and her collectors, Luvenia is transported to a world that she didn’t even know existed. This world is the polar opposite of her homeland, Orford. Aureland is magical in all sense of the word, so I was really interested in seeing how Vampa was going to meld the two together into a coherent story. And for the most part, I feel like it was done incredibly well. I still don’t entirely understand the whole world set up, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the gist of it. Aureland is only accessible through certain portals, so I see it as almost a parallel universe of sorts. I still don’t understand how certain people knew of the world though I believe it has something to do with the whole Keeper thing. Keepers are people with magical abilities, and when parent’s know that their child has these abilities, they can send them to Queen Nuria in Aureland in order to be trained in the way of the Keepers, at least, I think that’s how it works…
So I guess you could say that at times it almost felt like there was a lot of info dumping because the world is incredibly complex, I just don’t think enough time was given on the mechanics of the world for me to be able to truly gauge how it works. As said above, for the most part, I get the gist, but there’s still a little more to explore here, and I’m kind of hoping that it is done so in future instalments.
Once Luvenia makes it Aureland, her character changes completely. Which, in a way, I can understand, she went through an incredibly traumatic event and had a lot of deep seating issues from before this to deal with as well. So, your girl isn’t going to be totally well adjusted after just going through a tragedy. I enjoyed the way her character was so established in the beginning, broken down completely, then rebuilt into who I believe she was really meant to be. Her friends, Darius, Thera and Khyan are all interesting characters, though I feel like they weren’t really given the time they deserved. I know about them, and I have an okay feel for who they were intended to be, they still felt a little flat and almost walled off for me. I just don’t think I really got to experience them in their full intended light. Some emotional things happen, and while I was like “Aww, that’s a bit sad” I wasn’t really moved as emotionally as I feel I should have been. A little more time spent and depth given to the characters could really make this story shine how it deserves to.
The narration was okay, though I did notice at times there were single words that were written in the wrong tense. This story is written in third person past continuous (I think, I could be totally wrong here), though at times there would be one word thrown in a sentence in present tense. I also feel that third person may not have worked so great for this story as it felt like we were kept at arms length. I’m thinking first person really would have put us in the action and into Luvenia, allowing us to feel a full spectrum of emotion. I also found the narrative to be more telling than showing for the most part, which made me feel like I was simply reading a story, not experiencing it as I would have liked. There were a few lines used in the narrative that gave it a more flighty, cheesy kind of feel, but that could be the author’s intention as well.
All in all, this was a fairly enjoyable read. It kept me coming back for more, and for the most part, I was invested in the story, it’s characters and where the plot was heading. I’m looking forward to continuing the story as it ends on quite the cliff hanger, even though I had a feeling this would happen, I didn’t see it being THIS way. And that is all I’m going to say on the matter. You’ll have to read it to find out what I’m talking about 🙂