Author: Farah Oomerbhoy
Series: The Avalonia Chronicles
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person by Aurora, past tense
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: ARC, Netgallery
Release: August 15th, 2015
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Rating: 4 Stars
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.
With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.
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A beautifully written fantasy world!
This book contains the elements of everything I love in a good fantasy: escape into another (more awesome) world, an evil queen, magical creatures, an impossible love, the idea of regaining one's rightful place, and of course, a mysterious guy who saves people (aka love interest). The world was rich in description, from the rooms to the ball gowns to classes to the use of magic. This was definitely one of the more descriptive and vivid fantasy novels I've read in a while.
The story portrays Aurora, who lives with her adoptive Uncle's family (her adoptive parents died). At first, I thought this was a Cinderella story, but I was completely wrong. And I'm glad of it, too! Aurora finds herself kidnapped and taken to the world of Avalonia, where she discovers some key elements to her true identity. If you haven't guessed already, Aurora belongs in Avalonia, and also has the ability to wield magic. The land of Avalonia is being threatened by the evil queen Morgana, who intends to force all seven kingdoms to submit to her control within a few months. Needless to say, the task of stopping her lands upon Aurora's shoulders.
The world of Avalonia is huge. Thank god for the map in the beginning, because without it, I would have been completely lost, left to trying to puzzle out where was what. You have forests, palaces, dukedoms, and magical schools. Such a cool world! I wouldn't mind visiting it, you know? Maybe just spend some time there for vacation. Or I'll just move there.
Rafe was charming as any. He's your standard mysterious good-guy who happens to be following/protecting Aurora, going under the anonymous name Black Wolf. I'm hoping that his character will develop a more, as I'd love to see more sides of his personality. I really ship him and Aurora, and I hope that their relationship works out (because honestly, after we find out who Rafe really is, who wouldn't ship them?).
Aurora gains quite a bit of power in this book. She's a rarity, and has the potential to be extremely powerful (which she is). That's a lot of magic at her fingertips, and the fact that she needs to wear an amulet to keep her powers under control speaks of how scary the true extent of her powers can be. Though she seems like a nice girl, so I wouldn't mind being friends with her. Doesn't hurt to know someone who can incinerate people with a single blast, you know?
The only slight downside was Aurora. Aurora was forced to go from place to place as a means to run from Morgana. I get that. But I can't help but feel like it's a little like running away, especially since she goes without much of a fuss. I wanted to see a bit more attitude and stubbornness from her, to see that she wants to fight Morgana on her own terms, instead of simply doing whatever her Granduncle tells her is best. Similarly, Aurora's character annoyed me a little bit. She was too innocent, too naive, and because of it, makes some really reckless and questionable choices. But hopefully it means that she has the capacity to make the biggest of character growth, and toughen up into a warrior!
All in all, a great debut novel! I was shocked when I realized I only had 10 pages left, because I really wanted to know more of the story and the world. Does anyone know when the next book comes out? Hopefully soon...