Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.
But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.
This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarletwill hold readers spellbound.
5/5 Stars ★★★★★
First reactions after finishing this book:
Wow, just wow! I’ve been waiting for awhile for another book by A.C. Gaughen and this book definitely didn’t disappoint. There is just something about Gaughen’s writing that I just love and she just pulls me into her stories. I was hooked in the first chapter and loved the journey that we started with Shalia. So here are my 3 reasons why you need to read this awesome book!
- Strong female character: I really enjoyed Shalia and her personality. I felt connected with her on a personal level in that she is a women who wants peace and likes to be involved in the peace making. She wasn’t one to sit back and let events unfold. She wanted to be there on the front lines helping her people, whether they were a part of the desert or her new country. Shalia was, I feel, like a lot of women today who are strong and amazing but still have doubts on the inside. She would question herself on things (especially with some of the darker topics of this book) where we as women know its wrong but think that things will change. I thought that Gaughen showed real character growth with Shalia on that side of the story.
- Magic: I really love stories with elemental magic. There is just something about earth, wind, water and fire magic that appeals to me. I feel that Gaughen did an amazing job of explaining how the magic worked for Shalia and other Elementae and it wasn’t just there. Some books it seems that they throw the magic into the story without actually thinking it through. But the elemental magic here was so beautifully interwoven with Shalia and her story that I almost wish I was an Elementae too.
- Journey: While this book is just the start of the journey for Shalia, I feel that these first steps are just the beginning in what is going to be a wild story. The journey here is not only a physical journey for Shalia but also an emotional one. Moving away from family and the only people she has known in her life can’t be easy. But she also is experiencing marriage and taking an emotional journey that in the end is a darker one than I expected at first when I started the book. It is an important story to be told especially in today’s times but I think Gaughen did a great job taking us through the good and bad times of Shalia’s journey of finding peace for her people and herself.
Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars for a great start to what I am sure will be an awesome series about one women’s journey to find peace for her family, friends, and her people, no matter if they are like her or not. I definitely recommend picking this book up for sure! Such a good read and one that you will fly through!
Emily here! I also read this book and I have a few things to add about this FANTASTIC book. My star rating is the same as Arika’s, and my reactions are definitely similar (because I am so ready for more)! This is the first fantasy in a long time that I picked up and found myself completely entranced with the world. Should be no shock that AC Gaughen was the one to help me find some much needed fantasy (FAVORITE AUTHOR ALERT). So, what 3 reasons would I give you for reading this book…
- A story about an overcomer. Shalia is not dealt an easy hand. She is forced into a marriage to a man she doesn’t know and she finds herself in some tough situations. People try to take advantage of her, they knock her down, they abuse her. As the Queen she is a target constantly, and all the while trying to do something for this land she knows nothing about. Her body changes, her mind changes, everything changes and honestly…I would be overwhelmed. Even with all of these issues she continues to fight her fight. She doesn’t let these issues drag her down and keep her away from her goals and her purpose. She is the overcomer I needed to read about.
- Girl Power! Ok, let’s be real…Shalia is kind of a badass. As I have already said, she doesn’t let her life drag her down. But the strength and courage that she shows when she faces challenges…unreal. This doesn’t mean that you never see her slip or falter. This doesn’t mean that you don’t see her doubt. It means that you see her take those feelings and use it for a better purpose. She is strong. She is courageous. She is a fighter for her people. She never ever forgets what truly matters.
- A fantastic world with some dark truths. I was head over heels in love with this world. When I was reading it I was going through some things (and still am going through said things) and it was the escape I needed. I was transported to the Bonelands and beyond. I was among these people. I swam in the lake, I ran through the desert. It was a world I truly fell in love with. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have bad moments. Oh my gosh there are so many real world moments in here (abuse, etc) that I was not expecting at all. Many times this book took a turn much darker than I was anticipating. But because of the main character, because of her support, I continued to believe in this world and to fall for it.
All in all, I loved this story. I don’t know what it is about Gaughen’s writing that gets me, but she so does and I was immediately there and never wanting to leave. If you are looking for another strong ass female to add to your TBR, make it Shalia. Get lost in this world just like we did.