Title and Author: Secrets Kept by J. L. Mbewe
Name of Reviewer:
Reason for choice of rating:
Some fantasy violence, some mild romance, a somewhat emotionally abusive romantic interest
Ayianna is a half-elven girl on the cusp of womanhood with dreams far above her station in life – wishing to sail on an elven ship and study the stars, impossible because she is not fully elven and because she is a woman. However, when her family moves away from the Elven city of Zurial and her father betroths her to Desmond, a handsome, human merchant who also has dreams above his position in life, it seems that Ayianna’s dreams have come to an end.
However, when her father is murdered in the forest before Ayianna’s eyes and he gives her a dagger and a cryptic message, Ayianna is unsure of how to proceed. When she discovers that her mother has disappeared and her brother has also been killed, she joins forces with an enigmatic and bitter young half-elf named Kael. Together they will travel with Desmond and his friend, Prince Vian as they search for answers as to why Ayianna’s father was killed. Along the way they will discover that something much deeper and more dangerous is in the wind.
It took two pages for this story to grab me and hold me spellbound. The writing style is beautiful and the characters step right off the pages and into your room. It is almost more like watching a theatrical play than reading a story. The descriptions made me feel like I was right there in the story, battling my way through dark forests and crossing parched deserts. I was rooting for Ayianna to realize her dreams…. and maybe grow a bit of a spine, but she can’t be faulted for not being great at wilderness exploration when she’s never done it before… I think that’s what I liked most about the story, that Ayianna is probably a pretty good depiction of how I would fare if I were thrust into an unanticipated adventure.
The pacing is very good, lots of excitement and adventure to keep your heart pounding as you read. There were a few places where I felt that the dialogue was a bit “off” – I’m not sure how to explain it… whenever a magical creature appeared, the way they spoke just didn’t feel “right” to me, like their voice wasn’t quite fleshed out. However, that only happens twice, and didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.
I really loved this book and cannot wait to find out what happens to all of these characters.
13 and up, anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure
Epic, Adventure, Coming of Age, High Fantasy, New Adult, Quests
Reviews by Readers
This blog features reviews of Fellowship of Fantasy titles submitted by readers.