Monday, January 2, 2023

Review: Starlight Jewel: Gifts of the Auldtree, Book One by E.L. Lyons


I was able to read this book through a website I do book reviews with called Reedsy. I have done some other reviews with that site but this is by far the best book I've read there yet. I cannot recommend it enough. I really enjoyed it and can't wait for more to come out. 

Axly is the Starlight Jewel but she has to leave the company under harsh circumstances in order to protect her brother and the balance of her world. Her brother, a strange little boy with gifts that unnerve Axly and an aversion to touch, has been taught by Axly to play a game intended to keep them both alive. If the boy’s existence was revealed, he’d be a danger to the world and in danger himself. Despite leaving her position for her brother, she’s found and thrust back into her life. She must do everything she can to protect her brother even if that means seducing sulky, handsome generals.

The fantasy element of this book is super fascinating. The tree creatures that procreate with humans to create the hybrids are a unique and refreshing element to this fantasy novel. Axly is a character that is complicated but easy to root for and her desire to protect her brother is something many siblings can relate to. The character development is well done with unique characters with distinct personalities and wants. I couldn’t help but turn each page to the next eager to find out what would happen next. The abilities of heartseer, keenears, softstep, etc make for an interesting group of enemies and heroes. I found myself wondering who I could trust and how invested I should get in each of the characters. The writing is excellent. Lyons is able to paint detailed pictures and emotions with words.

I highly recommend this to readers who love fantasy and even those who don’t. As someone who tends to get lost in the complicated aspects of fantasy, I was able to follow along pretty well. I think nature lovers will get a kick out of the story as well as the idea of humanoid trees is awesome to me. I will mention possible content warnings of physical violence, implied sexual intimacy, death, and death of a parent as the main ones. As always, I point my readers to StoryGraph for a better list of content warnings (this book is newer so there are fewer warnings listed). I think this is a great book for lovers of a good story and a good one to choose for those looking to take their first dip into fantasy. I can’t wait to recommend this to all my reader friends.

Happy new year! Happy reading as well. 

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