by Allison Morce
Royal twins ripped apart at birth become reluctant champions of good and evil.
Kylie, a teenage science geek, has no faith in people. Instead, she relies on what she trusts the most, the facts––what she can see, touch, and hear but never feel. With enough pain to deal with in her own world, she is thrust into another––a kingdom at war whose strange inhabitants fear one thing the most––the return of the dragon. All of this is illogical to Kylie, but even more so, when she discovers she belongs there.
Her brother, Prince Jarlon, journeys to kill the dragon who has laid waste to his kingdom. His only hope for destroying the beast is help from his sister, whom he has never met. Will their paths cross before the beast’s malevolence infects Kylie and turns her into his creature or will Jarlon have to destroy her, too?
“Hey, Kylie, you’ve been in the water for over an hour. Get out now! Something’s wrong.”
She ignored him. Her swim couldn’t have been an hour. She had just entered the pond. Propelling herself down again, she thought it silly that she’d always been ruled by her brain and had been clumsy and disconnected from her body. Always being the last person to be picked for a team, but not now. Sensations of water, skin, and muscle breathing together as one, consumed her usually dominant analytical mind. The deeper she dived, the more the energy intensified. The force seemed to coalesce into substance, as if there were a presence pulling her toward him.
“Welcome, little one. You have found one of my sources of power,” said the male Voice that had led her to the village. But this time he surrounded her. His deep timbre vibrated with the energy of the pond. “You have part of me inside you, so you, too, have access to this power.”
With each stroke, she felt the caress of water and fire.
“All you have to do is take it in,” the Voice said. “I had planned to wait until you reached the cave, but why? My power’s nice, isn’t it?”
She heard the delight in his voice. His words tickled inside her the same way bubbles in the water brushed her skin. She swam deeper.
“Yes,” the Voice cooed. “Join me. Release and meld into it. Don't let it just tease you on the outside. Open your mouth. Let me fill you up on the inside.”
It seemed so simple, just open her mouth. But her brain snapped back into control and would have none of it. She would die if she did that. The Voice didn’t offer joining, but drowning.
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This is a beautiful story of family and friendship. Kylie is a great character. She misses her mother fiercely, and because of this, she’s turned to science as a way to manage her life. For her, things she thinks always have concrete answers are safe. But when she’s thrust into a world where science isn’t there anymore, she has to change her thinking. She’s scared and reluctant, which is understandable, but she comes through. I loved watching her transformation.
This story manages to incorporate elements and storytelling of classic fantasy while still feeling modern. There’s a healthy dose of your standard portal fantasy, where the ordinary-seeming hero(ine) gets transported to a magical world. Kylie’s unique circumstances, though, give her journey a different feel. Instead of traveling elsewhere only to get caught up in a quest she would have otherwise had nothing to do with, she goes into a journey that has personal stakes for her.
The relationships are cute, if a bit rushed. I attribute this mainly to the length of the book. It’s on the shorter side, which doesn’t leave enough room for lots of development. Even so, rushed in this case doesn’t mean completely unrealistic. The emotions feel genuine and add to the reading experience.
All in all, this is an excellent fantasy story, especially for new readers to the genre. Those with lots of fantasy under their belts may find this a bit formulaic. Regardless, it’s wonderful characters and sweeping adventure make it worth a read.
Allison Morse is the author of three very different novels: Fallen Star, a Hollywood Gothic Mystery, The Sweetheart Deal, a Rom/Com and Dragon’s Shadow, a Teen Fantasy & Adventure, all published by The Wild Rose Press. She lives with her wonderful husband in a house in the hills filled with books.
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Allison Morse will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway