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Free on 23rd Sep 18
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Anais, the eleven-year-old daughter of a fishmonger, enters the Great House of Brightshire as a scullery maid. Isolated from her peers, she fears a life of solitude and menial chores. The only person who shows her any kindness is a scribe, who offers to teach her how to read in exchange for her help in acquiring goods at fair prices in the market. When she discovers a manuscript describing the art of magic on a routine trip to the market, she can’t help but feel tempted to try it, even though magic is strictly prohibited. Giving in to temptation, she starts spending her hours practicing simple spells for her own amusement, but when one of the girls from the kitchens goes missing – amidst rumors of monsters rising in the south and devouring townspeople – Anais decides to use her new skills to find the missing girl. In her search, she befriends the Lord of Brightshire’s youngest son, Cedric, and his cousin Mediera. Finally having friends she cares for is great, but practicing illegal magic and fraternizing with those above her station puts Anais in more danger than she can handle.

Free on 23rd Sep 18
View on Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

"A short enjoyable fantasy, with a lot of promise for the rest of the series."

Reviewer: .


Apprenticed at a young age, Anais, the daughter of a poor fisher family finds herself apprenticed to the Great House, home to the local Lord. At first she is assigned to be a scullery maid, but after a run in with some of the others ends up becoming washing clothes, day in and day out instead. A chance encounter with the Lord's scribe, Thellium, allows her a chance at freedom when she is asked to buy items in the market for him. Along side the quills and parchments, she also buys a book of magic, supposedly forbidden in the area. Hiding it from him, she starts to read and then practice arts that should remain forgotten. Then while sneaking out one night she encounters the Lord's second son, Cedric, who is intrigued by Anais and her actions. They soon become friends and as their adventures begin to get them into trouble, old foes of the kingdom begins to arise again threatening them all.

This is the first in the line of a series of fantasy stories following the main character, Anais of Brightshire. This was a well written and enjoyable introduction to the characters, neatly setting up the plot for later books while describing the people and area around. The characters come across strongly despite their different outlooks and feel consistent in the way they act and respond. Anais' change from scullery maid to scribe's apprentice may be a little fortunate, but is still believable as it occurs. I didn't notice any errors or spelling mistakes and the chapters were easy to follow even with some time jumps between them. I read it through in one sitting, surprised by how easy it was to read and follow. The main events and the reasons for it crop up over again, so by the end it is fairly easy to remember what happened.

The only issue I have with the book is that, while it was short and enjoyable, it was very much setup for a longer story-arc. A taster from the second book begins to flesh out more of the plot and certainly changes a few things around.

However, if you enjoy the writing in this story, it is a good taster for the series.

Rating: 4



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