17 Jan 2024



Author: Laurel Black
Series: Lost Kingdom #1 (Assumed)
Source: eARC via Author
Publisher: Stormeer
Publication Date: January 17, 2024

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Representation: N/A

Trusting him is the only way to save the kingdom.
Betraying her is the only way to keep them both alive.

Stripped of her memories and her magic, Raven has been left for dead.

As a prisoner in the enemy’s mineral mines, her only clue to who she is and where she came from is the mysterious map tattooed on her hand—a map containing hidden secrets that some people would kill for.

Jeddak is one of those people.

A warrior from the Kovak tribe, he’s hunting for the powerful Zavien stone to pay the corrupt king’s ransom. If he doesn’t return home with it by the new moon, his betrothed will be executed.

When Jeddak discovers that a prisoner named Raven has the only map that leads to the artifact, he allies with her as they navigate treacherous lands and battle against ancient magical forces to unravel the map’s secrets. But can Raven trust this stranger who’s helping her? If the map gets into the wrong hands, thousands of people will die.

As their feelings for each other grow, their tenuous alliance begins to fray. Until Jeddak is forced to make a decision—betray Raven or forsake his kingdom.

Choose wrong, and he’ll lose everything.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Content Warning: Hallucinations, manipulation, talks of cannibalism, rape, death, imprisonment, slavery, sexual harassment, trauma, nightmares, physical injury, grief, poisoning, torture, whipping, blood, war and colonialism themes, animal is injured (but lives)

I'm a clown for not realizing this was the start to a series and now going to have to wait for the sequel because omg that ending??

This was a really strong opening to a new fantasy series and world. I really liked the way that everything was introduced - slowly but giving us enough details that we didn't have to fill in too many gaps on our own. The worldbuilding seemed to be of real importance to the author and it really showed in the way that she wrote it out. I appreciate a good worldbuilding, especially since that can be pretty rare in YA fantasy novels as it's usually just assumed you know the world because it's a vague fantasy realm but this had amazing details!

I loved Raven and how she learned to be herself even without any knowledge of who she was or her family. I thought there could have been a bit more time spent on her state of mind and grief throughout since it seemed to be "done" within the first quarter of the book and brought up only sporadically or when it needed to further the plot. I thought the idea of her having lost her magic was really neat and done in a good way combined with the amnesia.

I really liked Jeddak and Kah though! Their relationship was my favourite in the story and the trust and openess between them was so nice. I thought it was a really good display of friendship (even though Kah is a bear). The magic system for each of the tribes was really well done and explained so it was nice to see how it actually played out when they encountered others.

My only real complaint with this one is that it felt like we were going from one place to another too often and too quickly. We would have big action sequences, which were really well done!, but then we would find out that the way the characters wanted to travel was blocked so now we had to detour. And that was done very often which took away from the suspense of what was going to happen next or if they would escape this encounter. It's a 500 page book and while most times it didn't feel that way because the pacing was really well done, there were times when I felt like everything was just a little too close together.

I liked the inclusion of the other characters to bring some of the history of Raven into the story. I thought the breadcrumb approach was really well thought out to further the story without providing everything to the reader at once. The ending left so many questions for what will happen next and what threads of the story there still are to encounter!

This was a great debut fantasy novel and I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up when it releases in January! I already preordered a Kindle copy because it's just THAT good that I want to own a finished version as well!

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?


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