I actually started reading this duo last year, but only got about 25% into the first book before I realised I just wasn’t feeling it. There was nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and so I was struggling to get excited about the story. I knew I still wanted to read it though so I set it aside determined to come back to it. So, when I got approved for an arc of Her Radiant Curse, which is set in the same world, I knew it was time to try again.
This duology follows Shiori, the only daughter of an emperor, in a land where magic is banned. Shiori has magic, but has done well to hide it. This means she doesn’t really know how to wield it either. Shiori and her brothers are cursed by their evil, sorceress step-mother and the story, across both books, is about undoing that curse and then trying to put right all the damage that has been created by it.
The story is very much YA, and I thought Shiori often seemed very young, despite being mentally and emotionally very resilient. She has a really hard time throughout the story, constantly up against something, whether it’s her ‘evil stepmother’, the curse, or the ingrained prejudices everyone has against magic. I did feel sorry for her but, although she was presented with several opportunities to ‘stop fighting’ and go back to her life, she continued to fight throughout because of her strong moral code.
There is a romantic element to the storyline but it’s very sweet and there’s definitely no spice. The story also felt like a much slower pace than what I’m used to. It wasn’t low stakes but it kind of felt that way, if that makes sense? There were also lots of elements I enjoyed but would have liked to be ‘amped up’ a bit. I would have liked Shiori’s magic to be a bigger thing, for example, and dragons! There are dragons in this book but I wanted more from them again.
Overall it was a really lovely read, and I’m glad I came back to it and gave it another shot. It might make a nice, lighter, summer fantasy read I think.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Curses | Dragons | Magic | Demons | Quests | Fairytale Vibes