Saturday, February 27, 2016

Weekend Read: First Light

Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection. 

While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince.

From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.

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My Review:
Four out of five stars

Michele Paige Holmes presents a fun mix-and-match of fairytales in her new YA fantasy. It is a blend of adventure, mystery, and, of course, romance. With an interesting mashup of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and many other beloved tales, Holmes creates a fresh new story that created a world that felt both familiar and unique. Her characters and plots led to many unexpected moments. There were many times I was sure I knew what would happen, only for things to take a sudden twist that left me wondering how our heroes could possible succeed against insurmountable odds. The magic added both wonder and humor, especially the fairies, to this rich world of evil queens, hidden identities, and both gifts and curses.

Adrielle was a good main protagonist. She starts out as a Cinderella-type figure in many ways, but with a personality and life situation that made her more real. It was hard to see how she would ever get her happily-ever-after when everything got in her way. I really liked how in the end it is all over her life experiences, the good and bad that shaped her into someone capable of fulfilling her role to save the kingdom. I also enjoyed how the magic leaves scars, a good reminder that past things can’t be fully undone, but we can learn from them and become better.

There were a couple things that did bug me a little. While the main narrator, Adrielle, was written in first person, other viewpoints were written in third person. The shifts were a bit disorienting the first couple times, but once I got used to it, I found it worked alright for the story. I felt the other viewpoints weren’t always necessary, and a couple times took away from possible tension, but, at the same time, it was nice to get to know some of the other key players in the story.

A nice read for any teenager or adult looking for a good, clean magical romance.


*I received a free ebook in exchange for my honest review.

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