Author: A.M. Rycroft Published: January 1, 2015 Pages: 480
Stars: 5 out of 5
Aeryn must decide decide whether to turn her back on her world or become the hero she never asked to be. When her father died unexpectedly, sell-sword Aeryn Ravane found herself reeling from the loss and lacking purpose in her life. It was then that she decided to honor his memory by completing a quest he talked of often: breaking the centuries-old curse on the Black Caverns of Cathell, sealed by the once-famous adventurer Tynan Selvantyr to guard the secrets hidden there.
A year later, she enters the Black Caverns, confident that she succeeded in fulfilling her father’s wishes. Soon though, her life becomes more complicated than she ever imagined possible. A young thief named Theo has followed the sell-sword to the Black Caverns on the orders of another. She needs an object hidden within the caverns in order to buy her brother’s freedom from the head of the thieves’ guild. Once Theo is discovered, however, she spins a web of lies to avoid the sell-sword’s interference in her plan.
As Aeryn and Theo go deeper into the Black Caverns, their journey turns stranger and stranger. Faced with unspeakable horrors in the Harbinger’s wake, Aeryn and Theo race to find a way to destroy the creature they unknowingly released. More secrets and lies pave their way, but they press on through the darkness and the mire of their own pasts, intent on keeping the Harbinger’s evil from swallowing all of Cathell.
The author does a fantastic job creating a world full of fantasy and adventure. The characters created in this story are refreshingly rich with relatable characteristics. You can’t help but hang onto every word written, turning each page with eager anticipation, selfishly wanting more. It has been a while since I have encountered a book that has me on the edge of my seat, dying to know what will happen next. The way each scene is described with just the right amount of details, makes it easy to picture a world full of magik, barbaric sword fighting, hidden treasure, and above all else a great story.
What was once known as Night Vally and is now coined the Vally of Death because of the massacre that took place. This is where Aeryn finds herself on the beginning of a quest that will forever change her life. A quest done in the name of her father and there respect for the brave adventurer Tynan. Like many before her, Aeryn has come to the Black Caverns seeking what lies within. But she doesn’t only seek the treasure hidden inside, but the need to connect to the man behind the stories. While in the cavern, she encounters the ghost of Tynan and a young thief named Theo. Unbeknownst to Aeryn, she also frees an ancient evil God named Harbinger who creates havoc wherever he goes. Thus starting a great adventure that will lead to destruction, death, acceptance, trust, and much much more.
For the first time I truly feel inadequate trying to describe how amazing this book is! Like I mentioned earlier, the characters have so much depth. I absolutely loved this book! I found myself so caught up in the story that I began mimicking what the characters were doing- staying quiet, noting moving. I’m sure that sounds silly but it proves the authors ability to entrap the reader with the use of his words.
I loved Aeryn’s character. She evolves so much throughout the book. She is strong but stoic. After she meets Tynan, you see how she goes from the little girl who idealizes her hero, to realizing heroes aren’t perfect, to seeing him as a man and accepting his accomplishments as well as his failures.
Theo’s character is complex and my opinion of her changed throughout the book. At first I thought she was somewhat of a brat and complained way to often. But as the story develops, you are able to see beyond the mask she wears. And you realize she is a younger version of Aeryn with more defiance and anger.
There are so many great characters in this book. The ending of the book left me thinking (Hoping!!) there will be a sequel. This book is not a fast read in the sense you can’t skip over minor details and still get the big picture. Every word written in this book has a purpose. This book is full of heartache, adventure, freedom, and redemption. I was surprised that by the end of the book I found myself already attached to the characters. Usually for this to happen, it takes reading a couple of books into the series. I actually frowned when the book was over, wishing there was more.
Overall, a fantastic book. This book is the type of book that stays with you, lingering in your thoughts weeks after you finished reading.