Author: Farah OomerbhoyPublication Date: 15 August, 2015
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative
Series: The Avalonia Chronicles, book 1Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 14 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.
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.
One moment you're a plain ordinary girl, struggling to find your place with your deceased adoptive parents family, you're being bullied at home and at school, and no matter what you just can't seem to fit it. The next you have been whisked off against your will through a magical tapestry into a whole new world. A world of magic, Fae, Pegasus, and more. You're being hunted by an evil queen and saved by a handsome outlaw. You discover that your birth parents were killed and that you are so much more than you ever knew and the fate of many rests within your hands.
I really enjoyed the world building in this book. Farah Oomerbhoy creates a beautiful landscape (even the parts that aren't so beautiful) in rich detail allowing the reader to almost feel and taste the world around them. One of my favorite world building passages comes near the beginning of the story when Aurora is brought by Kalen (who I just loved) into his home town of Pixie Bush...
"The rays of the midday sun shone on the forest floor, creating dappled specks of gold that danced about our feet as we walked. I was completely entranced. It was as if I had entered yet another world. This was not the bleak crowded stone castle of Lord Oblek. This was a fairy village, a magical place in the forest. IT was more fantastic than I could ever have imagined it might be. Tiny wooden cottages with thatched roofs covered in vines, and half hidden by foliage, nestled at regular intervals in the very heart of the woods, and small flower-lined paths connected the cottages. It looked like a picture out of a storybook." - Aurora
Farah continually had me as entranced as Aurora as she laid this new world out for me.
Aurora is an interesting character, naive yet incredibly brave. She frequently laments the situations she finds herself in but I love how she doesn't let them drag her down. She finds ways to overcome her challenges, they may not always work out the way she plans or desires, but she doesn't give up or become this weak character that has to be taken care of.
"I had to stop running. I had to turn and face my life head on." - Aurora
It's lovely to watch Aurora begin to come into her own in this story. Yes, she is constantly on the run, but what 16 year old thrown into a world they could only imagine, learning to control a powerful gift, accepting who and what she is, falling a little (maybe a lot) in love, and just trying to stay alive while being hunted by an evil queen wouldn't stay on the run. Yes, she does some things that make you want to roll your eyes and shake her silly, but remember she is a 16 year old girl, thrown into a whole new world (you're singing the song now aren't you? Sorry.), and learning exactly who she is. She is also a girl who has never had any control (power) over her life, but suddenly she has all this ability and no idea how to handle it. I look forward to watching her grow because really she has no where to go but up. We have to remember as well that this is just the first book in the series, we can't have Aurora stand her ground too soon and loose the story. Luckily for us there are so many little plot lines going on beside the major storyline that I think we could stay in this world with Aurora for a long time to come.
I loved Rafe, of course I did. I mean come on. He's a rake, he's an outlaw, he's handsome, he's a rescuer of those in need, he's mysterious, and full of secrets. Like many characters in books you will at times want to give him a good shake, but I have faith that things will work out with him...They have too, he is simply too good of a character for them not to. I am also really hoping that in book two we will get more development of his character, there is just so much there in terms of Rafe and I want to know it all. I think you will likely figure out some of his big secrets before they are revealed but that is often the case with books so I wasn't too bothered with it.
I am really hopeful we will get more of all the characters in this story. Some seemed to slide into the background and the book went on and I can say that I missed them, but we have more books to come so who knows what will happen. Sufficed to say I am really looking forward to the second book in this series!
I think that this book is a fantastic read for any YA fan, particularly those who enjoyed Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia...as I read along I would reflect back to these stories so I know it will be a hit for fans of those series. It is a fairly quick and easy read (things can get a bit confusing when it comes to all the different kingdoms, but thankfully there is a map, yeah maps!) that you will find your self totally immersed in, not coming back into your own world until you are finished and anxious for book two.
~ HAPPY READING ~
About The Author:
For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah's first novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles will be published worldwide August 15th, 2015.
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