Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published By: Harper Voyager (March 19, 2019)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars!
The natural magic of the classic The Island of the Blue Dolphins meets the danger and courage of The Hunger Games in this dazzling, intricate stand-alone fantasy novel set in award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst’s beloved world of Renthia.
Life is precious and precarious on the islands of Belene. Besieged by a capricious ocean full of malicious spirits, the people of the islands seek joy where they can. Mayara, one of the island’s fearless oyster divers, has found happiness in love. But on the day of her wedding to the artist Kelo, a spirit-driven storm hits the island with deadly force.
To save her loved ones, Mayara reveals a dangerous secret: she has the power to control the spirits. When the storm ends, she is taken into custody by the queen’s soldiers and imprisoned with other women like her.
They vary in age and social status, but to many they are heroes who will aide the country or witches that will sacrifice themselves trying. No matter who they are, the women are sent to a terrifying place—an island filled with bloodthirsty nature spirits, and left without food, water, shelter, or any tools except their own instincts and magic. Whoever survives the Island of Testing will be declared heirs to the queen. But no matter if she wins or loses, Mayara knows that the life she dreamed of is gone.
Even though I haven't read the original trilogy to this series, I am familiar with Ms. Durst writing and I just knew I would be able to jump right in and have no issues at all. I do love being right!
Not being familiar with how the trilogy ended I was a bit worried I wouldn't get a feel for the world that Durst created, however, after the first few chapters she quickly put my mind at ease with her detail to characters and her setting. I felt like I was stepping into a brand new book, not a continued series. I had no trouble at all quickly becoming immersed in the imaginative and creative world that is this series.
Full of spirits and demons, monsters of both the supernatural and human kind and love story and family ties that defies them all, this was such an easy story to get caught up in. Fantasy or not, I could easily picture it all. From the islands to the ocean, I was right there with them through the whole journey.
It truly was original and fun and makes me want to go back and read it all over again, but this time starting from the very first book.
Truly a fun and magic filled ride that I don't regret jumping blindly into.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*