Author: Neel Kay
Publication date: February 14th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
A year ago, Aia was found dead in a lake. Fortunately, her rescuer managed to resuscitate her. But how she ended up in the water in the first place, she doesn’t remember. Actually, she doesn’t remember one single thing about her old life from before she died. Now she lives her monotone life by the edge of the Great Forest in which she works hard day in and day out. Up there in Northland beyond the mountains, the war against supernatural beings, humans with strange abilities and all who side with them isn’t quite as visible as in the rest of Bragimark. But when she meets Merian Storm, a privileged student trying to escape her dysfunctional family and the memory of the man she loved, Aia is jerked out of her comfort zone and thrown into a journey across the haunted mountains in search of her past. When entering Merian’s war-torn home in the south, Aia’s role in the war becomes significant and so does her presence in the lives of the Storm family and vice versa – especially Merian’s rogue brother.
Lyder had changed, Merian noticed. His features had become hard and sombre and the scar on his left cheek made him look scary, even though he’d had that scar forever. The slight sneer onhis upper lip never seemed to vanish, and there was a strange darkness lingering in the clear blue eyes. Their usual light seemed to have been extinguished.
He used to be so playful and charming. All the local girls had been in love with either Lyder or Kord, if not with both. That included Merian. She’d worshipped her brother.
But after the devastating battle last summer, something had changed him or possibly even possessed him. He wasn’t her brother anymore and it broke her heart. This night was no exception. She could feel it pulling at her heartstrings.
“Who are you looking for?” she asked in a meek voice. It hadn’t been what she’d been going for, but his daunting presence made her weak with the despair of what she had lost.
He barely even looked at her when he replied: “An assassin.”
“Well, we most certainly do not house assassins,” Molte exclaimed in an outrage. “Surely, you must have been misinformed.”
“Or you have been deceived,” Lyder said, “by an assassin.” His gaze brushed across Merian as he scanned the hall once again, and quickly his eyes returned to her.
Oh no. Was she giving something away? Her eyes were all over the place when Lyder walked towards her.
“Merian? You know who I’m talking about, don’t you?” The tiniest of smiles appeared on his lips and his eyes caught a devilish glint.
“I’m sure she doesn’t,” her uncle protested. “Violet, will you stop with the incessant crying. It’s driving me mad.”
“Quite,” Lyder mumbled, never taking his eyes off of Merian who suddenly felt very warm.
Lyder looked almost satisfied. “Where is she?”
“She?” Molte interjected. “The assassin is a she?” He gawked over at Merian, clearly thinking about Aia as his eyes turned upwards towards the floor where Aia had been sleeping.
“You might want to shut up now, dear uncle,” Lyder sighed. “Or I’ll have the entire household hauled in for obstruction, treason and harbouring a criminal who is a threat to the ruler of this land.”
“But that is just ridiculous…!”
“We found her, sheriff!”
The two greys who had been sent outside suddenly reappeared. Aia was hanging over one soldier’s shoulder, completely lifeless.
“What did you do to her?” Merian exclaimed. She bolted forward, surprising both Lyder and the soldier in front who lashed out and struck Merian across her face. She stumbled and fell to the floor. Her cheeks burned. She was red hot with anger and frustration. How could he do this to them? His own family! She wanted to hit him. Hurt him. Make him realise that he had been possessed. That person wasn’t Lyder. Lyder had gone missing in the war and what had returned was something entirely different.
Review by J. Hooligan
At first I wasn't impressed by the story. The dialogue seemed off, and I wasn't sure about the characters - especially Merian. She was hard to understand at first. Seemed a little one-dimensional for a while. Despite that, I decided to keep reading. Mostly because of Aia, her story helped keep me interested.
There are editing issues - another thing about this story that made it hard for me to get into it. Some parts felt like there were things missing, which would make it hard for me to get into it because I was trying to figure out what was going on.
I did really enjoy the romance of this story, especially how it didn't distract from everything else going on. It made it feel more realistic.
All and all, I did really enjoy the story and I would be interested in reading more. I recommend it to people who enjoy YA fantasy.
About the Author
Neel Kay lives with her husband and two kids in rural surroundings in the south of Denmark, not far from the German border. She’s a trained milliner, studied English at university, and now works a day job as a web editor. But she’s been writing always.
Love coffee, scarves and sea views. Oh, and butt-kicking heroines who know how to swing a sword and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.
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-20$ Amazon gift card
-A keychain from the A Likely Story shop.