Synopsis:

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Review:

“Fear is a part of life; all the matters is what we do with it.”

After many burning disappointments in the department of new YA releases, I’ve finally found a great fantasy story that I couldn’t put down! This story is the type of book that makes you snarl at whoever interrupts your reading time.

The land of Visidia is composed of many islands. Every island population has their own magic, different from each other. They can control only one type of magic and it’s forbidden to have more than one. Visidia’s ruling family of Montara is the only family who can control soul magic. Amora Montara prepares herself to demonstrate to her people she can control her soul magic and become the rightful heir to the throne of Visidia. However, the ritual doesn’t go as planned and Amora ends up having no other choice but to abandon her home and runs away. She finds out that things are not so perfect outside her reign. She has to also find a way to come back and prove that she deserves the title of queen.

So her adventure begins, and the reader is in for a real treat. I would say this novel probably contains all the usual YA tropes. Nevertheless, the plot is suspenseful and gripping. The magic system and the world building are perfectly melded together. I was in awe with both the geographic description and the marvellous clothes and fashion details for each island and their population. I liked the main character — she is smart and resourceful. I loved the “period scene” because the writer makes Amora seem more down to earth. Even the other side characters are well developed, with their own stories and personalities. And prepare yourself to fall for Bastien!

You would totally have this title in your Summer TBR, with a great magic system, romance, mermaids, sea adventures, and badass characters. I saw this story described as a “pirate story”, but I think that’s not the right label for it, and it sets wrong expectations for other readers. Amora’s monologues were a bit repetitive and the ending was slightly chaotic and rushed, but I have great expectations for book two, which I can’t wait to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you Titan Books and NetGalley for a copy of this book.