Where to start? The writing, the characters, the plot, the world(s) – everything about this story is excellent. And unique. I can’t think of any other story quite like this that mixes unicorns and alternate realities, swordplay and mystery. I thought it was going to be pretty typical fantasy, and then everything takes a spin.
One of the first things that stood out to me was the way Ami’s artistic nature comes through in the descriptive imagery. As we see what she sees, we also see HOW she sees – the worlds are described/painted in colors and textures, which is exactly how any artist sees the world. Also, the descriptions are really comforting to a reader because they aren’t overdone, and your own imagination is given room to fill in the gaps.
Even if a book has lovely writing, it can fall flat if it’s not a good story. This is a great one. I never lost interest in any of the characters, and the complexity of the characters (I’m trying to remain spoiler-free) turns out to be one of the most interesting aspects of the book. The connection between Ami and Hero is simple and solid. The conflict between Adam and…everyone else is a great catalyst for everything that happens. The plot moves along with nice bits of action broken up by interactions that let the characters connect. The book could have remained on just the simple storyline and been a nice read, but the added layers of complexity add a real depth here that strengthens the story. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next because mysterious elements kept creeping in that told me something was going on beyond what I’d figured out already. I hate predictable stories – this certainly wasn’t that – and even the use of unicorns was done in a refreshing way. It can also be really easy for a writer to tell backstory with simple flashbacks, but the use of dreams, visions, narrative dialogue, etc. keeps the story flowing so that all the backstory never feels like it’s interrupting the main flow of the story.
This really is some of the best fantasy I’ve read in a long time. Definitely reminded me of Naria mixed with the world of Snow White and the Huntsman (but done better). While the ending is satisfying and this book could stand alone, I’m certainly looking forward to a sequel.
See it on Amazon!