Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
This is a story about hidden lands, runaway princes, grimoires, hidden motives and powerful wizards
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Wow. That is the only word I can think of that will sum up my reading experience. I haven’t read fantasy in quite a while and just wow. I happen to be a fantasy geek but I don’t read fantasy all the time because I like to devour fantasy novels, read them slowly (which means for me to not read it in one day). I read this book in about 2 days and I loved it.
I was browsing through titles on Netgalley when I came across this one. I was intrigued by the summary. It kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland; she stumbled into a library during a storm and discovered a whole new world.
So I decided to request it. Initially I thought it was more on the urban fantasy side but when I got the book and double checked I realized it was a high fantasy. Again I am a fantasy geek so I was worried this book would let me down. I am very glad it didn’t.
At first when I started the book I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I read on because the idea was still fascinating and little by little and then all at once I was in love.
Boyce does a FANTASTIC job with her world building. She just has a way with words, her descriptions are livid and I can feel the whole world come to life. Really this is a huge thing coming from me because I usually don’t talk about world building, I mean it’s always there in the back of my mind but you know I don’t really notice it. She has all these different settings within the kingdom and you can really feel the magic in the air. I sound super corny right now but I am just amazed by how great the world building was.
She never leaves loopholes either (as far as I can see), you wonder about how Kara communicates with them? She tells you. She doesn’t leave much room for criticism, even from me and I always look for something that makes the book less than perfect.
Kara is a great female lead. She isn’t stupid, she doesn’t deny stuff. Like in the begging despite all the proof she could have just said that this was all b.s. and that she was probably hallucinating. It happens quite a bit these days, main characters denying the truth. She embraces it. Despite this she is also appropriately naïve, she is new to this world so if she were to stroll around with confidence that would make no sense. Being naïve doesn’t mean she is stupid. She makes a lot of good decisions but there are some bad ones in there too and she learns from her mistakes. Despite this she is also human, she has her weaknesses, she is also tempted by magic from time to time. I love how realistic her character is. She is neither too perfect nor too broken. She has this great power but the author doesn’t make her seem all powerful because again she has her flaws, being the Vagabound doesn’t make her free from those.
Braeden is a great male lead. His determination is impressive. I just kind of love his voice. He is trying to overcome his fears but he desperately needs the Grimoire to help him gain the freedom he seeks. In the beginning he helps Kara mostly because he wants the Grimoire but slowly he opens up to her and starts to genuinely like her, this of course doesn’t change the fact that he still needs her help. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Their relationship develops really slowly and really because this isn’t a romance, the development is internal but it’s really fun to see how their feelings toward one another change ever so slowly.
The author does a great job with her secondary characters, none of them are flat, they all have some sort of depth to them. This is Ourea, everyone has their secrets.
The plot is well paced, it slowly picks up speed and then bam the book is over and you are left there wanting more. I don’t want to discuss the plot simply because I don’t want to spoil anything; it’s something you should experience on your own.
I recommend this book to all fans of fantasy, it is a must read if you are a fantasy geek like me.