3.5 Stars rounded
Few stories exist without one of the key components of love, family, vengeance or loss. Lily Blackwood managed to mix all of these elements into her debut offering, and created a fun and clever story. Drawn in by the prologue that explains Niall’s history and need for vengeance, and sets readers up for a mix of intrigue and danger.
Elspeth is almost too good to be true: you just know that the little sparrows dress her each morning. She’s not entirely without development, although I wish she had more edge – she does lose some of this sweetness with her second thoughts and guilt over her attraction to the man who is foremost, her clan’s enemy.
Niall, after a seventeen year hiatus from his home lands, is back, and a few unexpected moments where he rescues the endangered Elspeth, fueling their mutual attraction and intrigue. He’s got plenty to worry about, much of which is shunted to the side with each new moment with Elspeth, where he seems to lose all sense of purpose unless that purpose is having her.
Secondary characters move through the story and most add elements of intrigue, dialogue and some clever misdirection that only started on some plot lines that were never fully resolved or justified with behavioral changes. Mostly the ideas were unique and clever, the story was engaging and characters were amusing but everything was needing a bit more development.
Blackwood has skills – her writing is solid and readable, but she did get mired with some overly complicated plot twists, an insta-love connection that was mostly sweet, if immature, with a couple of sensual scenes that felt as if they were added in to amp up the H/h connection. Not a bad start by any means, with a style that promises more good things to come with time and focus paid to each character’s development in terms of maintaining their personality in ways that feel natural and organic.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.