Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: The Second Day

Title: The Second Day (Aurea #1)
Author: Lara Swanson
Page Count: 214
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

On the island of Ladria, 15-year-old Mithia lives in fragile peace, hemmed in by the constant presence of ominous guards and the cruel silence of unanswered questions—like why her mother is just one of many adults on the island succumbing to a mysterious illness.

When her homeland is attacked by the evil Nyx, Mithia is thrust into a dangerous world of vengeful queens, mythical beings and mysterious enchantment. After befriending a young spy named Tristan, Mithia begins to uncover her true identity. Unearthing the past forces her to confront perilous consequences as she unravels secrets that plunge her into the center of a world on the brink of war.

The Second Day is a young adult fantasy; it is the first book in the Aurea series.

First of all, I’d like to thank the author, Lara Swanson, for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. I met her at a fair that was taking place at my college a little over a year ago. I forget what it was for now, but several alums who are now published authors were there and she was one of them! I’m so glad I was able to connect with a fellow writing Ole and am sorry it took me so long to get to this review!

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast read, and between the silkies, magic stones and harp songs, and prophecies, it felt like a modern fairy tale! I also love Mithia’s friendships that she cultivates throughout the story. The loyalty and trust she has for the people she cares about makes her a great character to root for. I was really intrigued about the magic in this story world and all the mythical creatures, so I really hope to see more of that in future installments of this series.

One things that seemed a little incongruous to me was that even though it is a young adult novel, and the characters are the right age for it to be YA, it still felt like I was reading middle grade for a lot of the time. Part of this could be because it is a very “clean” book. There isn’t a romance, which would make characters seem more mature, and the violence, while present, is not drawn out in a lot of detail. I couldn’t really put a finger on it though. Maybe it was the dialogue that made them seem younger? Either way, at times it was a little confusing for me because I would be picturing the characters as a certain age and then read something that reminded me of their real age and I’d have to reorient.

Also, because The Second Day is such a quick read, I felt at time that I wanted more world building than there was. The tricky thing about high fantasy is that the reader has no frame of reference for the land until the author gives it to them. A character can’t simply say they are in Paris and all of the sudden the reader has an immediate image of their surroundings, no matter how much or little the character says after that. There was a lot of world building, don’t get me wrong, but there is only so much anyone can cram into 200 pages, no matter how concise they are. That’s part of why The Song of Ice and Fire and The Lord of the Rings are so long. I wished that there was more time to “live” in this story world so it felt more natural and less relying on the occasional character who knew about the history of the land to give me more exposition. Hopefully I will get more in subsequent books!

The Second Day is an exciting fantasy adventure and appropriate, I’d say for older elementary aged students on up. If you have a young reader in your life, I highly recommend you pick up a copy for them (and then for yourself when they’re done)! 

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

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