by L. Penelope
Series: Earthsinger Chronicles #2.5
Also in this series: Song of Blood and Stone, Breath of Dust & Dawn, Whispers of Shadow & Flame
Publisher: Heartspell Media
Publication Date: March 16, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
While battling a vicious winter storm, Roshon ol-Sarifor, along with his father and twin brother are kidnapped and thrust on a journey that takes them far from home—leaving his sister Jasminda believing them dead. Their captors claim that the Queen Who Sleeps is behind their abduction—She wants them to reclaim a magical object hidden in a deadly part of the ocean. But a violent encounter with a gang of pirates forces the ol-Sarifors to seek refuge on a smuggler's ship, where Roshon meets a girl unlike any he’s encountered before.
Ani Summerhawk never met a risk she didn’t take. But with a price on her head, she and her older brother need to make a quick getaway from a deal gone bad. Every ship in the sea is seeking the reward for returning her to a ruthless captain who believes she's his property. But when her brother agrees to transport three passengers to a dangerous destination, Ani’s heart is put on the line for the first time.
The two families battle a treacherous sea, greedy sailors, and a powerful mage as they struggle to retrieve and secure the ancient artifact. And the attraction between a high-spirited girl and a cautious boy comes to a head when they discover that their biggest fight just might be with each other.
Set two years before the events of Song of Blood & Stone, this action-packed novella answers the question of what happened to Jasminda’s family and sets the stage for the events in Cry of Metal & Bone (Earthsinger Chronicles, book 3).
I am very glad I have an ARC of the third book waiting, because oh boy does this end on a cliffhanger! This novella fills in a bit of the plot as to what happened to Jasminda’s family and also more information about the death stone mentioned in the last book.
Roshon doesn’t really believe in the Queen Who Sleeps, and being kidnapped by a psychotic nun in her service doesn’t exactly help matters either. But his father, Dansig, feels compelled to answer her summons to find a mysterious object that’s apparently been lost in the ocean for centuries. A run-in with Raunian pirates complicates things even more, and soon they’re being pursued across the ocean. Can Roshon and his family retrieve the stone before it falls into the hands of their new enemies?
“None of us chose this, but the path is the way. We can’t do anything else but follow it, no matter where it goes.”
Each book and novella has built on the worldbuilding of the Earthsinger Chronicles, and this one is no different. This novella introduces the Raun pirates, specifically Tai and Ani, two siblings with a very complicated family relationship. While the Raunians consider piracy and smuggling perfectly honorable, breaking a contract will lead to a loss of honor and shunning – something that happened to their father. So while Ani is conflicted about the contracted apprenticeship her mother has set up for her with a very successful but cut-throat captain, she’s reluctant to break it. At least, until they decided to help Roshon and family out with their mission.
“The man was brave but foolish—two of Ani’s favorite qualities in a person.”
The story is focused on the relationship between Ani and Roshon, so much so that Dansig, his father, and Varten, his twin, seem like afterthoughts. Ani and Roshon are polar opposites – Roshon’s focused on planning and preparation, while Ani lives more in the moment. Their clashing personalities, though, hide a respect and attraction for the other person. The progression of their relationship was a bit quick for my liking, but it goes along well with the rest of the action-packed plot. The pacing is excellent, and more hints are given about amalgam magic.
Overall, this is an interesting addition to the Earthsinger universe, and it definitely sets the stage for the next book!