Author- Jessica Thorne
Series- The Hollow King
Genre- fantasy romance
POV- Third person, past tense, dual/alternating POV Sometimes there were POV errors like the character seeing her own tears.
Trope- enemies to lovers
Steam level- 2.5/5 (less than I assumed)
Cover– very pretty
Comps– The Shadows Between Us, but Mageborn had much more action than that one, which I prefer.
Raised on the streets, orphan Grace Marchant has always questioned the harsh laws of the Kingdom of Rathlynn. Confronting Prince Bastien Larelwynn – keeper of a dark, golden and deadly magic – was never her plan, but when her closest friend is the next mageborn taken away to the shadowy dungeons, she has no choice but to act.
Deep in the castle, Grace discovers that the Queen of Rathlynn has a devastating plan to use the mageborn’s stolen powers to cement her rule forever. Begging the coldly handsome Prince Bastien to spare her friend’s life, Grace is surprised to see a flicker of compassion in his obsidian black eyes, and the fire in her blood calls out to him… but if he senses the luminous mageborn power secretly unfurling within her like liquid sunlight, it’s only a matter of time before she too will be imprisoned.
But Grace is shocked when Bastien, with a mysterious smile, keeps any knowledge of her powers to himself. Despite his duties to the realm, Bastien pities the mageborn, and the two hatch a plan that could change everything.
As raging fire melts blackest ice, passion and desire quickly quiet her fear and suspicion. But with her golden mageborn light growing stronger every day, Grace must ask herself if she can really trust her former enemy… and with betrayal at every turn, will they save the mageborn and get out alive?
Chapter 1 mageborn-
I love that it shows the negative effects of magic. Only Serpent and Dove has done the same thing to my recollection. Most other fantasy novels only show magic as a positive without having any consequences or limitations to the rules/uses of their power.
Character Development- Grace learns to accept her Flint power and Bastien learns …hmm … maybe to give up his powers for love? But I think he’d do that in the beginning too. Maybe he learns who he can truly trust?
Best part- When he shattered the orbs
What I would change- I had a hard time figuring out who was who when the author used so many he/she on one page with multiple characters in a scene
“Worst assassin he had encountered in months.” Lol
“Instead of the light, the darkness swallowed him whole.”
Setting- I don’t remember the name of their land, I think it started with a “R.” But there’s the palace and the academy and the city as setting. We also have someone stuck up in a tower.
Prose- Prose- she has a lot of little repetitions, but it still works well. I didn’t enjoy the amount of fragments.
Character goals/motivations- Grace is bound to protect Bastien. I’m unsure when it became her desire instead of just an order. Bastien wants to protect the Mageborn
Theme- accept everyone no matter what powers they have or how different they are. No one should be controlled/enslaved/used
Vivid sensory descriptions- during the “light” power scenes … yes
Dialogue- Daniel is funny.
Diversity- Craine has a FF relationship and Daniel has a MM relationship
Ethics/morals- erasing memory/controlling others
Conflict/tension/obstacles- lots. This was well done and once in a while I needed a breather from the nonstop action
Pacing- fast except when I needed to reread based on confusing worded sentences.
Thoughts while reading-
Chapter 2- this author does a good job of giving brief snipets of the world/history without it feeling overwhelming or heavy. I know just enough abs don’t feel confused or burdened by the back story.
Poor Kai. That was shown really well. Brief but impactful. I’m hoping there’s an enemies to lovers romance between Grace and Bastian. I’m making a hypothesis to at Grace is a secret Mageborn who has hidden her powers from society so far (ironic that she hunts Mageborns for a living).
Chapter 3- first, parts of this reminds me of the book, “The Shadows Between Us,” because of the plot point of assassins trying to kill the king. I love that the main character isn’t the king/leader but a cousin/lesser. That is more unique compared to other novels. So far I can’t get a solid handle on Bastian’s exact magic. He has both healed and taken life with his powers. There’s a lot of little questions such as the necklace and how it will impact the story. Why the king is sick? When will the king die? Will Bastian take over as King? Who will revolt against this due to his evil reputation.
Page 98- The family legend reminds me of “All the Stars and Teeth.” I’m wondering if there are inaccuracies in the story that will change how they perceive their powers and duties
Chapter 7- that was unexpected but will make the “forced to work together” trope interesting. I still have unanswered questions but I think that’s okay. I really like the bits of mystery in this story.
Oh yeah… how “convenient” that both characters lost their memory years ago… not sure I’m liking that part
Page 118- does the king know Grace is (part) Mageborn? They say how great he is and how nice but we don’t have much proof or evidence to believe that. I don’t understand her gifts since they’re communicating telepathically now… what is she capable of yet.
Chapter 10- Grace being a Flint with fire power reminds me of the heroine I’m writing, Kyra, an Elidian with fire Magik. She’s the main character of my fantasy romance series, The Linked Trilogy
Page 150- sometimes I feel like there’s little holes in the communication where the author is assuming I can fill in the blanks. Usually I can, but it seems like there are bigger gaps of things not being quite explained in this book and I have to work harder to read between the lines.
Chapter 12- why is she getting stronger? How do so many people know where they are? Why is Grace tasked to protect Bastien when he seems so much more powerful than her? Choosing her for this job doesn’t make any sense. At this point I feel like I need a breather from the constant attacks/assassination attempts and have a slower chapter
Page 202- I feel a little confused about how they see/experience each other.
Halfway- The path of the plot hasn’t been predictable so I’m not quite sure where it’s going. But I’m excited to find out. I want more steam between them soon.
Page 242- how does she suddenly remember? That was definitely a unique scene. It seems like they shouldn’t have been able to leave that easily. Yes, there were complications, but the amount of uncontrolled magic in one room seemed to trump anything Grace and Bastian were capable of. Soon I’m hoping things switch and they become more on the offensive instead of defensive
Chapter 18- ah man, I was hoping for more steam
Chapter 19- that was an epically awesome visual scene
Page 292- the urgency is great. I’m feeling a little worn down by their constant running away/fleeing/in danger. I was hoping part of the middle section of the story would have them being successful here and there
Chapter 23- interesting twist but it doesn’t fully make sense because Asher’s threats toward Celeste would’ve been completely hollow. I doubt he was that good of an actor? Not sure how believable this is and if it’s just for shock value. I bet I’ll find out the explanation soon!
Page 355- there are too many pronouns used when multiple people are in the scene and I often cant tell who he/she is being referred to. I’m sooo confused. One person was said to be related to two people… but then she’s someone’s ex? What?
Ending- Page 388- epilogue sets us up for little tidbits of “Nightborn” which I’ll be reading tomorrow.