This might be the first book I have read by Rebecca Ross, but it certainly will not be the last. Expertly crafted, the story sucks you in from the very first page. Well-developed, yet not overly explained, the balance of the plot and world building is perfectly juggled. Starting with the cover, beautiful yet simple, you get the general genre and the slightest peek at what the story will be. I got the Litjoy edition and the illustrated bonus cover is gorgeous! I had an extremely hard time trying to decide which one I wanted for the dust jacket.
The world opens to the life of Clementine (love that name!) and her father preparing for the full moon that night. As an apprentice warden to her father, the magician charged and honored with protecting their village from the nightmares that have been cursed to walk their streets, she is bracing herself and relaying for the coming battle. But the routine night suddenly becomes a pivotal point in her life when two strangers show up unannounced and challenge her father for the village. Clementine, or Clem, is a truly lovely character. Sassy, vengeful, and strong—she doesn’t that any challenge sitting down and when life begins to shift dramatically for her and her entire family, more things come to light and she begins to doubt everyone around her. I adore Clem. She is the embodiment of a strong female character. Too often in stories the main character is portrayed as perfect and able to survive and take on everything she faces without hesitation—unafraid and untouchable—but also unrealistic. This is not so, in the best way, for Clem. She is gloriously flawed and confused and self conscious, yet she embraces an inner strength that is inspiring. Though her intentions might not be the best—what can I say, flawed characters are the best—she is a wonderful example of if they can change and overcome their faults and trials and grow, well so can we right? But Clem isn’t the only character I fell in love with. Phelan, another lovely member of this book cast, and one that I hated him initially right along with Clem. But I grew fond of him and was rooting for him at the end. One thing I didn't like was his name— Phelan… All I kept mentally exchanging it to was phlegm. (But that might just be my weird brain!) Of all the characters I would definitely like to meet Clem. I think our personalities would work well together and I would love for her to teach me some magic. The character I liked the least (hated) was the Lady Raven. She didn't seem to care about anyone, including her own sons and especially her brother. If it meant her moving ahead I think she would sacrifice anyone else as long as she got what she wanted.
Overall, the plot was fresh, riveting, and enjoyable. A light, easy read that went by too quickly, I will be excited to see if there will be a sequel, though I am not sure what it would be about since it seemed to wrap up pretty well by the end. Like I said in the beginning, I loved this story and am hopeful the with the obvious successes of Rebecca Ross’s other novels that they too will just as wonderful if not more so! I hope that even if we don’t get a sequel, that she at least explores more of the world she developed with either the other characters or new ones. The whole idea of a world where people’s nightmares come to life and walk the streets to battle magicians is such a unique idea and one that I morbidly love!
All in all, this book was delightful and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Ross’s other tales, or if you have read this book too and enjoyed it as much as I did. Let me know in the comments!
"You know, its not a bad thing to be fearful everyone and then. The fear reminds you of limits, of what lines you should not cross. Of the doors you shouldn't open."