Wednesday 24 May 2023

Book Review | Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier | prettylittlewriter

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer's apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.’

This is a book that I would never have purchased from a bookshop as I’m quite fussy with my fantasy novels. However, as I received it in my fairyloot YA sub, I thought I’d give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Cas is a great MC, you really empathise with him after the trauma of his entrapment and torture, and I found myself really hoping he’d get a happy ending—of sorts.

This is the first novel I’ve read about a disease that wipes out many people (minus those I’ve read with mentions of covid), and although the novel is fantasy, as the disease is the plague it becomes relatable to the past of the real world.

There were some quite harrowing moments throughout, especially when Cas stumbles upon a character that has died or is in a bad way.

It was interesting to have the element of ghosts throughout, with Cas being able to see them and speak to them, however, it didn’t really play a big part in the story. It did however have its moments, when he was able to get extra information from a ghost to help in the living world.

The relationships that played out within the story were done well, I enjoyed Cas & Lena’s story, and Cas’ friendships when he returned to his kingdom. I would have liked to see more from the romance between Cas and Lena, but that’s just me being a sucker for romance.

The main mystery involved within—who tried to assassinate the Queen’s maid and child—was drip fed to us which kept you guessing until the big reveal at the end, and I thought it was very cleverly done.

Overall, I would say it’s a very well developed world and a clever story that kept me interested the whole way through, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a historical fiction fantasy novel.

4/5 stars

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