Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother’s life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.
About the Author
SOURCE: AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS
Ember is a teen existing under the archaic rules of the middle ages and under her father’s rule which controls everything in her life. Her father had made a deal with a local mystic (sorcerer? magician? witch? — not quite sure yet) in order to save her and her mother’s life during her birth. The payment? When Ember turns sixteen she must dedicate her life in service to Conatus and the local guard that protects the area from otherworld creatures and demons. Her father thinks she will be living in a convent and taking a spiritual vow but this secret service turns out to be nothing like that. While her father is greatly opposed since he would like to marry her off for personal gain, Ember thinks this is exactly what she need to get out from under his complete control and the life as a wife, subservient to men for the rest of her life. YAY! to Andrea Cremer again for bringing forth feminism and empowerment to teens girls!
The story reminded me a bit of those revolving around the Knights Templar except with supernatural forces and the church at odds. Ember finds herself well suited to fighting demons and she is awarded unique weapons in the shape of a full moon. I was so happy to see one depicted on the cover since I wanted a confirmation as to what I was imagining. There are forces between the Guard and sorcerers that can conjure evil in the form of revenants, wraiths, and demons. When one of the “Weird Sisters” goes rouge and joins an evil sorcerer that is not exactly what he seems. You get glimpses of how the Nightshade trilogy actually started except with a lot more new characters. I became very fond of Barrow, Ember’s mentor after her initial mentor is murdered. Even though there seems to be a great difference in their age, it is probably only five or so years.
Overall, this is an excellent start to a new series and even though I found it to be a bit slow in places because of all the world building, all of the characters came together for me at the end. Now that all the settings and characters are introduced, I except to be in for a wild and exciting ride in the next installment. And I will be waiting for a year for it I guess! Ember is a very dynamic and strong character that learns from her mistakes. There is a lot of promise here. This one is best suited for teens since there is some violence, a bit of kissing, mentions of alcohol use, but given the era that the story takes place, completely natural.