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. (Goodreads)
Are pirates making a comeback? It looks like they might be.
I went into this book not knowing what to expect. All I knew is that there was magic, some sort of forbidden magic, and pirates. Both of those things are present but so is so much more. You only really get a glimpse of this world, but it’s enough to spark interest in what is to become a series.
One of the book’s strongest points is its protagonist. Compared to her, all the characters fall a little short, but she’s the protagonist for a reason. While in many ways she isn’t relatable, her motivations and feelings are. We view the world through her eyes as she discovers the truths, which in many ways makes her an unreliable narrator but in a good way. As she learns and develops as a person we learn as the audience. (Also, on a totally unrelated tangent, she is the first protagonist I’ve read in a YA fantasy book who menstruates, and at the most inopportune time. An icon!) Additionally, in young adult books, we rarely have a story where the characters are morally grey, and even though this story still manages to make a defined villain they’re more grey than what’s often portrayed. This is a refreshing change for the genre and I hope to see more of this in the future.
This book is a good book but with flawed world-building. This can’t be held against it entirely, cause most of it seems intentional. As mentioned above, the protagonist doesn’t know much about her own kingdom, and the book being told from her perspective gives us a more closed view of the world. When her world begins to open up we only get glimpses of it, most likely because she’s evidently overwhelmed with all the things she is coming to realize. With the coming sequel, we can only hope that this changes as she adjusts to the changes around her and life after learning the truth of her kingdom.