I’d uploaded this book onto my Kindle and there it stayed – but two of my targets for this year is to read more books by Indie authors and to read more books by authors I’ve not read before. And this book ticked both boxes…
Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains. Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life – a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.
This is medieval fantasy with a large dollop of romance – and there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you know what you’re getting. It seemed to me the few negative reviews I read were from folks who were expecting something else.
I enjoyed the premise that with the birth rate falling in Darmid, Rowan is being scurried along into marriage far more quickly than she wants. Eyebrows are raised that she hasn’t yet slept with her intended – which makes absolute sense in a world where no one is going to mind if a union results in a child. Rowan’s first person narration of her side of the story is engaging and I found myself rooting for her, particularly at the start. As the story progressed, inevitably the momentum moved away from her and towards the other main protagonist, our troubled hero, Aren. His backstory and magical ability means that he isn’t initially all that sympathetic, but I really enjoyed the early start of this story and found the beginning of their relationship engrossing.
The world is well described and as they moved around, we got a ringside seat to a variety of backdrops and an interesting cast of characters that helped bring it to life. Sparkes manages to convincingly portray a sense of tension around both the problem binding Rowen and the fact they are being pursued. I’m hoping some of the characters will make a reappearance later in the series – I particularly liked Ruby the dragon, and would appreciate seeing more of her.
Did the story reach a satisfactory conclusion, given it is the first in a trilogy. Oh yes – this particular story arc came to an appropriate ending, with several major plotpoints left waving in the wind, ready to be resumed in the next book book, Torn, which has recently been released as an ebook. I’m certainly going to be tracking it down.