I want to start by saying that this book is probably one of the best debuts that I have ever read. Holly Rose brings in magic, trauma, and loss, forming a story that is unforgettable.
Reyna Ashbourne is the daughter of Nolderan’s most powerful mage. Her life is simple and easy, but everything changes when the love of her life admits to being a necromancer, a dark magic user that raises the dead.
Necromancer’s are illegal and sentenced to death in Nolderan and after her boyfriend’s father is exiled for necromancy, Reyna must find a way to save Arluin from the same fate.
When the living dead plague the streets of Nolderan, Reyna must rise to power and become as mighty as her father, defeating her heart and the shadows threatening to tear her down.
Reyna was a character that I actually started out the book hating. She seemed spoiled and prissy and she just wasn’t a character that I felt myself relating to. However, as she continued to go through her story, I did find myself liking the other half of her. The second half of the book showed her in a different light, someone who strived to be the best and defeat her demons, someone who I could actually enjoy reading about. Her journey as a spoiled girl who took things for granted into a powerful mage who uses her power for the good of her people is something that I loved seeing. She was no longer a princess that needed her father to fight her battles, no, this time she could do it herself and she could win.
Eliya was a character that I loved from the beginning. I feel like she needed a lot more story though. It was kind of like she was there just so that Reyna could have a best friend. I needed more from her and her character. Why is she Reyna’s best friend? What else does she do when she isn’t with Reyna? She can’t be just an alcohol obsessed best friend who saves Reyna a few times and is super powerful. I needed more.
There were insane twists and turns when it came to Arluin and his character. I started the book a little unsure of him just because he seemed a bit too good to be true. He was clearly broken inside from the loss of his father and his necromancy magic that he used as a child. Despite this, he still seemed like a good guy. At the end of the book, I was shocked with his story and how he had developed throughout the three years of Reyna’s time without him. He was honestly a little scary and his insanity made me think twice about him and his character.
Nolderan seems like one of those places that is super magical, like Hogwarts or something, but at the same time, it seemed so very human. It was interesting seeing the story fit so well with the setting, especially with the aether crystals being described in nearly every setting, and it was also really cool to see how Reyna would change with each setting.
As I mentioned above, for a debut novel, this is one of the best I’ve read. Holly Rose brings in magic and trauma and mixes it all into one book that is gut-wrenching, emotional, and intense. At the same time, some things definitely could be improved.
The descriptions caught me off guard sometimes with the huge info-dumps. It was too much and I wanted to imagine some of it for myself. It read a bit like a fanfiction when the settings were being described and it was really hard to focus when all I was getting was world-building and no plot. This did improve in the second half of the book, however, the first half was a little slow in my opinion and this could’ve been greatly improved by cutting down the heavy descriptions.
I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the Legends of Imyria series. Holly Rose has built a world that was creative and magical, enticing me to read more and more!
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