I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lonen's War (Sorcerous Moons, #1) by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Sorcerous Moons #1
Published: 19 July, 2016 by Brightlynx Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Source: the author
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I love Jeffe Kennedy’s books, and had been meaning to start her Sorcerous Moons trilogy for a while now. (And by “for a while” I mean “since 2016,” because my TBR pile has been known to get the better of me.) I finally charged my Kindle and got around to reading this one, and I have so many thoughts and feelings. Overall it was a quick and enjoyable read. And I’m not even gonna touch on the zombies/dragons in this review. You’ll have to read the book yourself for that.
The basic premise of the story is this: Oria is a sheltered princess in a country full of mages, but she’s a late-bloomer and hasn’t come into her powers. Her city is attacked by Destrye barbarians, among them the sexy prince Lonen. Oria steps out of her tower and starts taking responsibility for her people, but she really doesn’t know much, because her lack of coming into her full powers means that she’s super sensitive to other people’s thoughts/emotions/etc., and being around people overstimulates her quickly.
Let’s talk about the war between Bara (Oria’s kingdom) and the Destrye, because there’s a lot of world building. I liked the complexity of both kingdoms. Bara is fascinating to read about, with its masked sorcerers and sorceresses who are capable of great feats. But the sorcery is of course tangled up with politics and religion, so Oria can’t just step into power to save her people, she has to placate the Temple and deal with her own ambitious family members who want the crown for themselves. When the book starts, Oria is super innocent and doesn’t understand the politics, because she’s rarely left her tower and was seen as a failure and didn’t see herself as a candidate for the throne. She has always thought very highly of her own people, and is shocked as she learns the reasoning behind the catastrophic war. So there’s a lot of character development and growth as she steps up to the plate to become the leader her people need to prevent even more bloodshed. And you can’t say that her people are the “good guys,” even if she herself is a good person.
Lonen is very similar to Oria in that he doesn’t think he’s going to rule. But war has a way of messing with succession, and he finds himself making decisions for his people that he didn’t think he’d have to make, at least not for a very long time. I felt like the Destrye society wasn’t as fleshed out as Bara, but that is partly because we spend so much time seeing Oria’s city under attack that we don’t get to see much of what Lonen’s home life was like. I hope that there’s more about Destrye culture later in the series.
I started Lonen’s War expecting a fantasy romance, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it that. It’s more like fantasy with the seeds of a romance, because the book doesn’t end with Oria and Lonen realizing their feelings for each other and living happily ever after. The book is about the beginning of a relationship, not the actual relationship, and I’m really curious to see how the romance aspect of the story plays out in the rest of the trilogy.
I did wish that the ending more of an ending and not quite so cliff-hangery; I felt like there was a natural stopping point, but that we went a bit past it. Y’know, like when you’re playing DND, and you finish a boss fight, and you’re at the place where you feel you naturally should end the game but there’s another half hour left of your allotted game time and instead of ending early you start pushing on into the next story arc but then you have to break abruptly in the middle of something? It feels like that–which is fine if it’s a Saturday and you can binge read straight into the next book, but not so much on a work night.