AUTHOR: Karissa Laurel
PUBLISHER: Evolved Publishing
PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
17-year-old Evie Stormbourne was born to a long line of rulers with power over the thunder and lightning. But over the generations, that power has faded, and her own abilities are relatively weak. After her father, the king, is killed and a sudden revolution leaves her a fugitive in her own land, her only hope for survival is her father's horsemaster, a gruff young man named Gideon. The two travel incognito with the goal of smuggling Evie out of the kingdom, but complications soon arise, and Evie soon finds herself struggling for survival on her own. What's more, things are not as they seem, and her journeys eventually lead her to learn the shocking truth behind her father's death... and her own fate.
Disclosure time: Karissa and I are both published by Red Adept Publishing (which published her Norse Chronicles and my Jane Colt novels). I bought this book on my own because I really enjoyed her other stories and this review represents my honest opinion.
Anyway, Karissa Laurel's HEIR OF THUNDER is the first in a planned YA fantasy trilogy, and it was catnip to a longtime fantasy fan like me. Heroine journeying across a fictional version of old-timey, steampunkish Europe? Magic and mayhem and twists and turns? Yes, please! Evie travels across various European-esque countries in her journeys, and it was a real delight getting to see the different kinds of lands that make up her world.
As a character, Evie is easy to sympathize with, and I loved watching her grow from a damsel in distress to a heroine in her own right. When the novel begins, she's just a lost princess trying to survive after her world collapses around her. With little more than determination and a touch of magic, she winds up reclaiming her own fate and taking control of her destiny. Gideon starts off as her protector, but... let's just say there's plenty she does without him as well. There's palpable chemistry between the two, and I foresee a complicated romantic arc that'll manifest over the rest of the series... *rubs hands with delight*
As for the world... well, let's just say it's got swords and horses and dirigibles and pirates and magic and caravans. A fun mix of Lord of the Rings-type high fantasy and steampunkish tech (did I mention there are dirigibles??), blended into a delightful Europe-inspired universe that feels at once new and familiar.
All in all, this was a delightful read and just the kind of heroine-centric fantasy adventure I've always loved. Can't wait for Book 2!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you'll find her on the slopes.