Fantasyvampires and witches and dragons, oh my!
Try to imagine this. Try to imagine that you’re the last of a dying, powerful breed. Try to imagine that you can’t live alone. You have to marry a modern-day king, or you’ll die.
That’s me – the Last Queen. As my life falls apart, I’m forced into a world of dark magic, death, power, and arrogant kings who will do anything to acquire me.
In this violent game, I will need to align myself to live. But, instead, I will choose to fight….
The Last Queen is the lovechild of two things: urban fantasy… and chess. A strange mixture, but it works surprisingly well. I had a couple of small quibbles with it – the main character’s internal monologue can be a little repetitive, for instance – but I really enjoyed the fresh concept and the action-packed ride.
I wish the book had built to a more satisfying resolution, but considering this is the first novella in a serial fantasy (is that what we’re calling these episodic stories?), it’s understandable. The second and third installments are already out, so you won’t have to wait long for more.
Odette C Bell is nothing if not prolific – by my count she has sixteen series openers available for free at the time of this posting. If you liked The Last Queen, check the rest out as well.
Twin sisters, Madison and Morgan have been through a lot in their life, but nothing prepares them for the night they run away from home. The night they come up against something they never believed existed – werewolves.
Madison is killed by the werewolves but before Morgan meets the same fate she is saved by a fantastic female warrior who takes her to Valanork, a mystical world, where she grows up and trains to be a Valkyrie warrior. The powerful women of Valanork, teach her everything they know and she excels.
Ten years after her first encounter with the werewolves, Morgan learns that the werewolves’ alpha, Serban Balin, is planning on attacking her new family and laying waste to Valanork. They must unite to take out this threat but Morgan is torn between her duties as a warrior and Jason, the man she has fallen in love with.
Will Morgan choose love over war? Will the werewolves take over Valanork? If Morgan chooses war will she succeed or join her sister on the other side?
Phew. This was rough. All of the action was told, not shown – even things that the main character couldn’t have known are just blatantly handed to the reader instead of letting us figure things out through Morgan’s eyes. It was impossible to connect with the characters, and the plot fell flat.
The Werewolf Saga is a neat concept – it just needs some more work. For now, though, skip it.
Kady always knew the nomadic life she was living was because her aunt was hiding from some dark force, one Auntie described as magic. When Kady awakens in the middle of the night with her house crumbling around her, Auntie hustles her into the night, hides her, and engages in a battle of magic symbols that set the dark sky ablaze.
While Auntie succeeds in hiding Kady, she is captured during the battle. Kady, now realizing her aunts admonitions about the power of words were very real, must choose. She can do as her aunt had always warned her — to run far away if the two were separated. Or she can search for her aunt.
As strange powers emerge, Kady begins to realize there’s magic trapped inside her. Will this new magic help her succeed in retrieving her aunt?
I have to admit, I’m kinda digging this trend of episodic fantasy series. Sometimes it’s nice to get a taster instead of committing to a 500-page tome. Trapped was a very nice taster. It’s classic girl-discovers-powers YA fare – the setting has a cool Middle Eastern vibe and the writing is solid. You can breeze through it in a hour or two, and the next installment is already up for grabs. Give it a shot!