Book reivew: Nightborn by Jessica Thorne

 by Jessica Thorne

I enjoyed the first book, Mageborn, so when I saw this pop up on Netgalley, I grabbed it. Wow. I enjoyed it even more than the first.
The story opens with Grace Marchant and Bastien Larelwynn (the Lord of Thorns) in a foreign court, where Bastien is playing -or rather trying not be played by – courtly games. Meanwhile something odd is happening to the Mageborn. They are being converted, filled with darkness and turned into vicious and powerful Nightborn. There’s no way to save them, and the only way to destroy them is to kill them or let them kill themselves.
Grace’s powers are dangerously close to turning Nightborn. Quite early on, something terrible happens to Bastien (I can’t tell you what it is, but it’s pretty terrible) and everything goes wrong.

There’s romance and magic (the costly kind, not the nice twinkly kind) and quite a lot of violence. The pace doesn’t let up right until the end. It’s a brilliant fantasy adventure that gallops along.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy. The usual disclaimer that I know the author in real life – we belong to the same writers organisation. This is my honest review of the book.

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Book review: Mageborn by Jessica Thorne

MagebornMageborn by Jessica Thorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace is a soldier and her job is to round up the ‘Mageborn’ who have magic. What she can’t tell anyone is that she suspects she might have some magic too. And it might be getting stronger.
Bastien Larelwynn, the Lord of Thorns, is the king’s brother. Kinda shadowy. Grace comes into contact with him when he drains the magic out of her friend … and her friend dies.

I liked the complexity of the world – especially the criminal world that isn’t completely disconnected from the city guards. The fact that magic can be stolen and redeployed was interesting. Grace is strong and well trained, but has insecurities and fears, just like anyone else. Bastien is all dark and broody, but becomes more and more likable as the story unfolds.

There’s a complex fantasy world, a thread of romance and lots of fighting and stabby, stabby action. I galloped through this book at a pace and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

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Book review: End of Magic by Mark Stay

The End of MagicThe End of Magic by Mark  Stay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I’ve been listening to the Bestseller Experiment Mark Stay (and Mark Desveaux) does. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while. I figured that if I can listen to him talk for so many hours, I’d be fine reading a book written in his voice. I was right.

This is unusual take on the usual fantasy trope in that this is a story about coming to terms with the loss of powers, rather than people coming into their powers.
Sander Bree is a royal mage who has power (both magical and political). Without that power, he’s a bit lost. He needs to learn to do all manner of things – like light a fire without magic and be civil to people against whom he has no protection anymore. He also has to save a little princess who will die if he doesn’t get back in time.
Rosheen Katell has an honour code she lives by, but losing her magic and fear for her brother’s life means she has to compromise it.
My favourite plot was the sub plot of Oscar the moon child and how the loss of the Lapis Moon unshackled him. There’s a naivety about him which makes put himself in dangerous positions, until he realises what he can do.
I enjoyed this book. It’s a while since I read high fantasy and it was nice to get back to it.

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Book Review: Back To Reality by Mark Stay and Mark Oliver

Back to Reality: The feel-good novel of the year!Back to Reality: The feel-good novel of the year! by Mark Stay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve listened to the Marks’ podcast (The Bestseller Experiment) for a year and I was keen to read the book to see if it was any good. And it was!
It’s a fast and funny time slip type story. 42 year old Jo (with her unhappy life) suddenly finds that she’s swapped bodies with 24 year old Yohanna who is really Jo from an alternate reality. They have to get back into each other’s bodies before their time runs out and one of them dies.

Having listened to the podcast I felt weirdly affectionate towards this book even before I started it, like I’d watched this story grow up, and there are certain bits (like the character names) that popped out as Easter eggs. This added an extra dimension to the story for me.

This is a nice, feel good story with the right balance between fantasy and realism. Also, there is, as promised, a funny bit with a cow.

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