Synopsis from Amazon
“Leah Vindral is suffocating–trapped in her own skin.
In a land where magic is feared, magic saved her from death … but it came with a terrible price. Marked forever, she is shunned and isolated by those she loves most.a
Brimming with bitter rage at those who abandoned her, Leah flees from her childhood home only to be swept into an impending war: Mora, a wicked witch, has been imprisoned for years, waiting like a spider in the folds of her web for the chance to regain the powers once stripped from her. It is there, while she waits, that she learns of a strange young girl … a girl who can speak to unicorns.
Now Leah must save the country that shuns her, for if Mora returns to power, all will be lost. But can Leah, who is so frightened and confused herself, find the strength to save them all?”
I purchased this book from Amazon while it was free at the end of July and I was immediately struck at how beautiful the cover is. There is a simplicity in the pencil drawing, but it draws you in. I was highly impressed by the amazing descriptions from the get-go; I felt a sensory connection as I was reading, which isn’t always easy to accomplish! And now… for the breakdown:
The Final Countdown
Characterization – 3.5/5 Stars
Character building in this story was effective. I got the creepy, desperate impression of the witch from the very beginning; the insecure-in-her-own-skin, innocent persona from Leah; and the protective, noble vibe from her father – to name a few.
Each character has an obvious role from the start, though Leah’s is a bit more foggy until a little later. Leah is an only child who is born into a wealthy family. She is pale, small, and has straight, black hair and large green eyes. She’s also a bit of a klutz. I enjoyed watching Leah grow a little more as a character, though I would have liked to see more of an internal monologue during the bigger plot-points.
Without giving anything away, my favorite character in this story is Ian. He’s adorable, loving, and a bit mysterious.
Another character I love doesn’t speak, but she’s quite important – Iris, Leah’s older white horse. Might be because I love horses, or because she is a well-developed character – you know, for an animal.
Dialogue – 3/5 Stars
This book has a LOT of visual imagery (see below) with less dialogue. This isn’t an issue, but there also wasn’t as much to base my rating on. The dialogue helps the story move along, though it isn’t a stand-out. I do love the use of dialect in Ian’s lines; he’s endearing and fun, which is obvious throughout his dialogue with the characters he comes across.
Plot – 3.5/5 Stars
I found the plot to be clever, but not overly in-your-face. There were points where I felt there wasn’t a lot going on, but others felt well-placed. The only qualm I have is that the heavier plot points felt rushed. I wanted more detail about what was happening, why, and what would be next; all of this felt brushed over during the more important portions.
Visual Imagery – 5/5 Stars!
Please notice the 5 stars. This is not something I typically do, but I was hooked from the very first few paragraphs. Legette captivates her readers through her brilliant imagery. This is more than definitely her wheelhouse and I love the description of the witch right in the beginning. Legette leaves no stone unturned and I had no difficulty seeing the amazing halls of Willow’s Manor or the rolling countryside or the ominous mountains.
Ending 3/5 Stars
As mentioned previously, there were points in this novel that I wish had been more developed and less rushed. The ending tied everything up quite nicely and there was no cliffhanger, thank goodness. But I found myself wanting far more. The story opened with an introduction/prologue of sorts, so it may have helped the balance to have a closer/epilogue. Regardless, this did not hinder the story. I enjoyed the ending.
Total: 18/25 Stars
Why read this book?
If you enjoy Young Adult Fantasy, this is the book for you. There are intriguing characters and creatures, along with imagery to die for. I would definitely read another by M.L. Legette.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?