Good Morning friends and Happy NaNoWriMo!
My November is stacking up to be a rather hectic and busy one, but I’m ready for the challenge… I think 😉
Today, I am pleased to bring to you a review of Thrown to the Blue by the inimitable KJ Chapman! I was honoured to receive an ARC copy of her first fantasy novel. I had read the first chapter so many months ago and knew then that it would be a unique and brilliant read. I wasn’t disappointed!
If you want to find out more about KJ Chapman, you can find her here:
Foretellings have no place for goodness, only greatness. Princess Ezrahli is far from good, but she is a great woman in a conventional Kingdom, followed by whispers and scorn. However, across the waters is un-convention, magic, and fable. Her existence has been foretold in the battle against dark magic, and destiny shall weave itself into her life because darkness cannot be fought with goodness, only greatness.
Smuggling and sorcery leads to adventure, and adventure leads to destiny. Reed is a prince of the streets, but what he lacks in title, he makes up for in skill; a skill that sets him on a path already written in fate. Can he be more than what is expected? Can he enable greatness in another and survive the process?
Vengeance is a motivator, but it can never be your friend. In the end, it will ask for sacrifice, and only the great will pay the fare.
Plot: KJ plays the long game in this novel, the first in the Indigo Flame series. A sprawling narrative, it focuses primarily on Ezrahli, a princess destined to be great. The foundation of the story is one that we are all familiar with. Prophecy children. Destinies that demand selfless action over selfish desires. Yet there is nothing overtly stale in this story. Instead, it plays out at a unique pace, the impact of destiny revealing itself in increments without ever taking power away from Ezrahli’s actions. The plot twists are gripping, the action palpable. The romance comes across as a little contrived — but then I’m someone who likes a slow burn relationship — but it is only a minor niggle in an otherwise impeccably crafted narrative structure.
The rise and fall of action allows the reader to become invested in the story and immersed in the magic of the words and the characters within. There are quiet moments that are affecting and touching, and then sequences when the heart races, spurred on by enticing battle scenes.
Characters: Ezrahli is our protagonist, and one of three characters whose perspectives govern the story’s narrative. She is a morally ambiguous character who loves as fiercely as she hates and is broken as much as she breaks. She is likeable despite her faults and easy to root for. Her characterization is one of the novel’s strengths and her arc over the course of the narrative is impressive and heartfelt.
Reed provides the second perspective in the story and is just as interesting as Ezrahli’s. He provides a human aspect that Ezrahli often denies at the start and by the time the two find their rhythm together, the balancing of each of their chapters makes for a well-rounded story. He is a character you are endeared towards because of his sense of duty and humility.
The final perspective goes to our villain. It comes closer to the end, and though I was initially jolted by its appearance, the reason for its inclusion became abundantly clear in a most satisfying manner. It also provided some needed motivation for the actions of our antagonist. (Note: I’m remaining purposefully vague in case of spoilers)!
Meanwhile, the supporting cast is just as interesting and developed as our main characters. They each portray such unique qualities to help them stand out from one another and I felt my heart twist each time any of them bit the proverbial dust — as is classic KJ, characters often are made to meet their maker.
Style: There’s a lot to be said for KJ’s writing prose. She knows how to keep her writing lean and purposeful, knows how to craft sentences that ensnare your senses and draw you into her world. While I would have loved to have a visual of a map, her words were often enough to help me see, so I was not too remiss.
Beyond her prose, the uniqueness of her narrative and the unfolding of the story is part of the charm of the whole tome. It is unexpected, but not unsatisfying. It is profound and emotional, thematically layered with aspects of duty and family and the demand of greatness. By the end of it, I was a bit of a wreck, completely captivated and moved. The first thing I wanted to do was start to write a fanfiction, and that is as complimentary as I can get!
Conclusion: An impressive narrative that is not afraid to be different. It is a daring fantasy that will leave you reeling long after the last chapter has been read. If you are going to read any fantasy, I highly recommended you look to this one for its magical world and profound heart!
Thrown to the Blue is available for pre-order now and goes live November 11th. Don’t miss out on this inspired narrative. It’s not one to miss!
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,