Author: C.L Schneider
Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races. Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price. A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end. With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.
This book is one of the most original fantasy novels that I have ever read, and I was completely taken aback by the very adult aspects of the story. I don’t know why I expected this novel to be geared more towards the young adult genre, but I was excited to find that the author didn’t hold back any reins and let the sexiness and violence come out in the best possible way.
One of the most unique things that I found about this book was that C.L Schneider made it so that magical people are seen as lesser beings. In so many other books, magical beings are described as better than anyone else, but this wasn’t the case with this novel and I appreciated that. In Schneider’s world, magical people are lowly because their power is too strong and destructive, and I thought this was a wonderful contemporary view. I also liked how the non-magical characters in the story could manipulate the power that the magical characters had and take it for themselves. This was an interesting take on slavery, and it forced me to create a new perspective.
But as I continued to read on, I found that Schneider described the feeling of magic within a magical being as pleasurable and it was one of the most shocking things that I have read. However, I felt that her descriptions were beautiful and even in her more adult scenes the writing was not too graphic. One great example of this is:
“Pleasure came next, penetrating the pain, fusing with it until I couldn’t tell one from the other. Together they overran my nerves, sweeping over me and through me,stroking and stimulating the smallest, darkest parts of my soul.”
Her writing is poetic, and when I read her book I felt as though I were listening to a beautiful song that sped up at times and took it slow at others. Schneider is a wizard with her words, and she manipulated them like a true professional.
The only reason I didn’t give this novel a 5 star rating was because I felt that the story was at times choppy and some characters were seen as disposable, which made me question their importance in the story. But overall, I loved the originality of the book and I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series. Schneider has put together a strong and original world, and it was like a fresh of breath air to read something that wasn’t similar to anything else I have read. I loved this wild mix of sex, violence, and power and appreciated the far-fetched ways it related to today’s society.
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