Release date: 18th February 2020
Series: The Hollow King #1
Blurb: A dark and addictive fantasy read for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas. The life of an orphan soldier becomes entwined with that of the mysterious heir to the throne, whose very presence draws out the secret magic living inside her: a magic that breaks every law she is duty-bound to uphold…
The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.
Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.
The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.
Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just – but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.
Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…
Sweet Baby Jeebus, I loved this novel. Jessica Thorne seems to have this amazing way of drawing in the reader and keeping them enthralled until the very last emotion filled page. When this one popped up on Netgalley, I knew I had to have it. And then it got lost in the 900ish novels currently stored on my kindle. Until this morning when I was looking for a completely different novel and stumbled across the masterpiece of Mageborn.
Now I’m not going to lie, Thorne’s are not the most complex of novels to read. They are breezy and read like something early Maas or if Amie Kaufman wrote a romance-esque novel. But in their simplicity is an absolute beauty that makes you want to keep going – in her Queen’s Wing series (you can find reviews for them here and here), Bel and her merry band are on a simple quest which takes a turn; I honestly could not put it down because although it was almost 400 pages, the story has so many twists and turns that quite suddenly 5 hours and almost a novel were just done. The same can be said about this her first foray into the paranormal/fantasy romance genre. I found a comfy spot, grabbed a cup of tea and settled in at lunch time and then suddenly my SO was announcing they were making dinner.
But what are the finer points, you ask? For starters that simple yet stunning cover is AMAZING. Had it not been a Jessica Thorne novel, I would have still spammed that request button like there was no tomorrow. I don’t know whether Thorne makes them herself or she has cover design peeps do it for her but y’all deserve a raise. All her covers are simply beautiful.
As I said earlier, the narrative is not the most complicated or convoluted BUT Mageborn doesn’t pull any punches when it comes pulling the heartstrings and getting the reader on board. I honestly just wanted to take Bastien, wrap him in a warm blanket and sing him a lullaby so he knew everything was ok. And Grace is an absolute trooper despite all the stuff flung at her as she attempts to save the man she loves from himself as well as those out to get him. Honestly its just wholesome fantasy about love, loss and sneaky bitches who want to steal everyone’s magically powers. Also, I totally did not see the Hanna thing coming…
I could gush for the length of my unused thesis about how much I truly love this novel but really all you need to know is that its an epic fantasy with a heart of gold. The characters are wholesome but damaged. The magic system is an interesting one full of quirks. The narrative while relatively straight forward, will draw you in until the final page. So I’ll leave this here so I can read Nightborn now
Until next time lovelies xo