Sometimes we survive unscathed. Other times we are left scarred.
Following an unforeseen attack, the White Elm council is depleted but even more determined to find and prosecute their former member, Lisandro, and his followers. Suggestions of a spy within the council ranks, however, cast doubt and suspicion every which way, and trust is suddenly a commodity no one wants to afford
My Rating: 5 Stars
I think one of my favorite things about reading the first series an author has written, is witnessing the development of their writing style. I posted a review of Chosen yesterday (yes, I read the books this quickly – I’m already halfway through the third book. They’re THAT good) and rated it 4.75 stars, only because the pacing was a bit off for me. In this, the second book of the Elm Stone Saga, the pacing was fantastic. I couldn’t put this book down for anything.
My favorite thing about this book was the rapport between Aristea and Renatus. I found myself looking forward to their interactions – they are both so stubborn and strong willed that each conversation was interesting and tension filled. In Chosen, Aristea made the decision to be Renatus’ apprentice. For her, this means that she will be tied to Renatus for life, and when he steps down from his position as Dark Keeper, Aristea will fill the role automatically. It also guarantees Aristea the first spot on the council that opens up after her 20th birthday. The ceremony itself was so well written and completely original – in an effort to avoid spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail, but it was one of my favorite chapters.
Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the wholly unique way that Morgansen describes the magic all of the characters in the series are connected to. As someone who enjoys primarily Fantasy novels, I am used to magic just kind of being something that the main characters “reach for”. In the Elm Stone Saga, each act of magic is done and needs to be viewed in a different way. For example, when Aristea is Scrying, she has to access a part of her mind that in the first book was hidden from her. However, for Displacement, Aristea has to look at the fabric of the world, and manipulate it. For me, this made the book feel more “real” if that makes sense – I’m not ashamed to admit, I may have spent a few minutes trying to find the part of my brain that harbors my ability to Scry. I mean, if Aristea had trouble accessing her abilities, maybe that has been my problem my whole life. Right?? (It didn’t work, and Socks looked at me like a freak, but what does he know?)
My Takeaway: This book was filled to the brim with action, adventure, deception, and twists. It kept me guessing until the very last page, and upon finishing it, I immediately reached for the next book in the series. There is a very good chance I will pay for shipping from Australia just to have this series in hardcover on my favorites shelf.