The Hollow King #1 by Jessica Thorne
“The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.”
All magic is outlawed since the Last Great War. Yet people are still born with this ancient power, the mageborn. The people fear magic and the mageborn because before the Last Great War the magic could consume the mageborn. Taking over and destruct everything in its path.
A mageborn has to submit to the Crown and when they do they are collared to subdue them. After their surrender, mageborn are handed over to the Lord of Thorns. The one that will make sure the mageborn will no longer have the possibility to harm and destruct.
Grace Marchant is the protagonist in this story. As an elite soldier for the Crown she has to track down the mageborn. When they don’t surrender their power to the Crown she has to destroy them. But there is this little voice inside of her that makes Grace wonder if what she’s doing is wrong.
Bastien Larelwynn is the current Lord of Thorns. He is also the King’s cousin and heir to the throne. No one knows what happens to the mageborn once they are in Bastien’s hands. And no one wants to get close enough to find out.
That is until Grace’s closest friend is on the Lord of Thorns’ list. Grace has to figure out her loyalties. Will she protect her friend at all cost, or will she show her loyalty to the Crown she works for, and in that extend Bastien Larelwynn?
To Fill a Void
What’s worse is, when she’s tested to the limit she feels herself change. After meeting with the Lord of Thorns a void inside of her seems to be filled with what she fears most, the ancient wild magic. The very same that those she hunts possess.
Bastien can save her, but can she trust him? And if she does will he help her? Will she find the bravery to confront those who make the laws against magic, even if it might cost her her life? Or will Grace continue to uphold the law and hide her magical secret? Either way she will betray some part of herself and the people she loves.
As a first time reader of any of Jessica Thorne’s books I was excited for this one. I ‘m a sucker for books that contain magic and a bad-ass female protagonist. I wanted to dive right in and live in the magical world she created for a little while.
Unfortunately for me all I felt at first was a little confusion. I didn’t really “get” how the Hollow King came to be and how the title of Lord of Thorns was created. But maybe that just was my over enthusiastic mind as I re-read that part since and I understood it fine then.
Emotions Running High
The story evoked an emotion from me as soon as we jumped to Grace Marchant and her comrades. I love a good strong female lead, yet at the same time it made me a little mad that she’s killing people who were different. I guess I like to embrace the differences in the people around me rather than destroy them so that’s probably where that feeling came from. With that said, when a book can go to my emotions from the start that’s a good thing. In my opinion books need to make you feel. Whether good or bad, when they do they’ve struck a chord with the reader.
The storyline itself was good. I really liked the way it wasn’t your run of the mill magic book with a witchy lady doing witchy things. There were some nice plot twists and some unexpected turn of events and connections with people I didn’t see coming.
I think I would have enjoyed reading more background story about some of the characters and some more description of places to make it a bit more visual for me. I like to land in a story and see it as a film in my head and I sometimes had a difficult time imaging some things.
The storyline between Bastien and Grace is not completely unexpected and although it adds a layer to the book it sometimes took over from the bigger picture a little bit too much for me.
If you like magic, strong female leads and a different take on a magical story this book is for you. And I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but how gorgeous is this one?
Mageborn’s publish date 20th February, 2020. Get your copy here
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own