Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
“Bravery is a choice that is yours to make. Don’t let fear steal your will.”
*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group in exchange for an honest review*
This was a really fast paced and interesting read. Of course anything that involves some sort of medieval bows and arrows plot line has me interested from the get-go but I really did get more invested in this book as it went along.
I’m glad that the author chose to go with a faster and more involved pace where the characters are on a journey for almost the entire book as it kept the story interesting and there weren’t really any periods where the story dragged or felt like it was slowing down. There were some great little moments though that I really enjoyed, like when Britta was talking to Siron, or when she would relive old memories of her father, those were nice little pieces of story I really soaked up.
The romance between Britta and Cohen was sweet, and I was so happy with the fact that there was no love triangle at all in this first book (although I’m not sure if it will stay that way going into the sequel). Their romance was sweet and chaste, but you really believed in their love for each other because of the complex history between the two of them. All of the sweet moments were some of the best parts of the book.
The magical/fantasy elements were nicely woven into the plot without being overly explained or too hard to grasp and I’m looking forward to possibly finding out more in the next book. I’m glad that even though you figure out pretty quickly were the plot is headed regarding Britta, it doesn’t seem annoyingly forced or out of place. Finding out more about Channelers and their abilities was a natural flow for the plot and it was engaging in a way that felt like I was being told a story while reading one if that makes any sense.
The author draws you into this world by making you feel as if you are a part of its history. We experience Britta and Cohen’s journey along with them, which makes us feel more connected to their characters and their struggles.
I really liked the secondary characters as well in this book, Enat and Leif in particular and I hope they stick around for the next book! I would even be okay with a reappearance by Captain Omar, considering how everything turned out and with all of the new developments regarding the King, I am super interested to see where the author takes that relationship between Aodren and Britta in the sequel.
Overall this was an easygoing, fun read with well developed characters and a world that I would be happy to visit again!