Gideon the Ninth meets the Game of Thrones White Walkers in this dark young adult fantasy about a disgraced ghost-fighting warrior who must journey into a haunted wasteland to rescue a kidnapped prince.
Ready your blade. Defeat the undead.
In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior—is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.
Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers—a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy.
As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real danger: a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.
5 very enthusiastic stars! It will be in my top books of the year!
It’s been one of the best fantasy YA that I have read in the last months!
The opening had me falling head over heels into the book with quotes like :”The Bonewood Trial had begun.”
Because there is nothing more that I like than a competition in a book!
We begin with Wren, who is a bonesmith (someone having magic working on bones) and wants to become a Valkyr. A Valkyr is a warrior fighting ghosts and undead. They are usually paired up with a Reapyr, harvesting the soul of the dead.
“death is as certain as the dawn, and just as a new day will come, so too will the new dead rise. … and we will be there. so the living may thrive, and the dead may rest in peace.”
To become a Valkyr, for which she has trained the last ten years, you have to succeed in the Bonewood Trial. But Wren doesn’t just want to succeed, she wants to be the best! And to finally earn her father and grandmother’s approval. Glory, here she comes!
Yet instead of winning, she’ll fail spectacularly because of a betrayal!
And as such, she’ll be cast away, sent in a faraway fort guarding the Wall.
Fear not because action will find Wren when a prince is captured and taken beyond the Wall! Wren will dive head first after him, allying by necessity with an Ironsmith (he is the enemy and their kind was rumored to have disappeared).
Both will face countless dangers, lots of undead and revenants, a corpse queen. They’ll nearly die several times and some shocking truths will come up as well as even greater betrayals!
That story is incredible because it has:
-an amazing world building. With bone magic, iron magic, ghost magic etc. Lots of revenants and undead people you have to defeat in creative ways and much more. It’s very eerie and creepy;
–non stop action! Wren is very reckless and she tumbles into danger and traps all the time, saving her skin just at the last moment;
–a cocky heroine. I love cocky heroines! Even better when they are quite reckless because I know that I am in for a good banter and lots of adventures!
–a broody (sexy) enemy turned ally;
–a found family trope thanks to what will become a band of misfits;
–lots of twists and betrayals, even if I had predicted some of the twists but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment;
–secret identities and new power reveals;
-and of course a cliffhanger as this is supposed to be a duology.
Trust me, if your like fantasy books with a big dose of eeriness, lots of action, a cocky female character, and enemies to lovers trope, you have found your next best read!
Just give me the sequel already!
Thanks for reading!