Skyseeker’s Princess (Songs of Si’Empra Book 1) by Miriam Verbeek

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An intriguing fantasy that’s both compelling and fascinating…

Verbeek’s series opener is lyrically written, deeply emotional, and full of intrigue. Ellen is meant to rule the people of Si’Empra, an intriguing windswept island near Antarctica, after her father’s death but the wealthy skyseekers, the country’s elite, chose her cruel step-brother Redel as the Ülrügh instead. Tired of constant abuse at her brother’s hands, Ellen decides to escape and is rescued and taken to a secret location after a pair of Cryptals, the ancient inhabitants of the island, find her lying injured on the banks of an ice-laden river. As her body heals, and she becomes acquainted with the ways of Crystalmakers and Webcleaners, she realizes the crucial role the two downtrodden populations play in keeping the small island alive. To keep her island floating, she must forget her inner scars and fight for the survival of her people. The death of Ellen’s father and Redel’s rise to the power provide a contemplative coming-of-age flavor to Ellen’s story. As a fourteen-years-old teenager, Ellen is forced to tolerate Redel’s abuse after her father’s death. Verbeek keeps Ellen’s internal turmoil at the core of the story as the latter struggles with a constant aversion to her own body, her brother’s betrayal, and her desire to do something for her people. The realization that she must put her people’s needs ahead of her own sufferings brings her a slow healing. Readers will find it easy to connect with Ellen as Verbeek skillfully conveys the traumatic effect of abuse on an adolescent mind and the coming-of-age moments as Ellen realizes her duty as the daughter of the Ülrügh family. Redel as the antagonist is both intimidating and hateful. Rosa is a complete darling. Pet lovers will be delighted with her cute antics and her cheeky personality. The book’s pace is smooth, the prose crisp, and the characterization dense. Verbeek ends the story on a cliffhanger and skillfully sets the stage for the second installment in the series. Her blend of the contemporary with an imaginary world, the intrigue filled Antarctic island setting, and Crystalmakers and Webcleaners’ intriguing way of living give this page turner fantasy a distinctive flavor and originality. While the book has a definite YA appeal with young Ellen as the protagonist, her emotional maturity and resilience makes the story appealing to the mature reader as well. Compelling and raw, Skyseeker’s Princess is a promising series opener. Fantasy lovers will wait eagerly for the next installment.


Skyseeker’s Princess

(Songs of Si’Empra Book 1)

by Miriam Verbeek

Buy now

Pub date September 30, 2019

ISBN 9780648595403

Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $3.99 Kindle

Categories: Fantasy, YA

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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