An intricate, deeply satisfying, well-told fantasy…
Sugalski makes her foray into the world of dark fantasy with this fabulous first installment of the Disenchanted series, set in a medieval world where a Brenton princess struggles to deal with her anomaly to win her people’s love and respect and become the rightful owner of the throne. Set during the peak of the French Renaissance, it follows 19-year-old Lilac, a Breton princess, as she leaves the security of her parents’ castle days before her coronation ceremony and ventures into the forest Brocéliande to see The Witch of Lupine Grotto to get a cure for her darkness. With hostile townsfolk who despise the young princess with her supposedly dark curse and a scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac must join hands with a mysterious stranger to battle the evil forces and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch. Sugalski skillfully guides the reader through this exhilarating, thoroughly crafted saga, combining elements of paranormal and magic with vivid action sequences and emotionally moving scenes of introspection and romance. She has drawn her cast with skill and precision, imparting them depth and nuance at once. The inevitable underlying attraction between Lilac and Garin is developed in gradual strokes, making the relationship of the couple all the more sensual. The couple’s interactions provide a great deal of entertainment as Lilac’s inexperience lands her in awkward situations. Lilac despite her self-doubt has the charm and integrity of a worthy heroine and an easy character to like. Readers will relate to her struggles to fit in. Garin shines through and through. His integrity, loyalty, and sense of humor combined with his charming personality and inbred defiance for loathsome nobles will gain him readers’ immediate affection. The other characters are well-drawn. Sugalski does an admirable job balancing large-scale political conflict of the plot and characters’ interpersonal conflicts. Though the story is woven on the yarn of a political conflict, it’s romance that stays at the heart of the book. Sugalski, with an exceptional eye for characterization and situations, creates an absorbing fantasy that’s a delightful romance and a compelling coming-of age tale wrapped together. With its witty, sharp dialogue, crisp prose, and tight plotting, this impressive series opener has all the merits of a well-crafted fantasy. Readers who love medieval-esque fantasy will be greatly rewarded by this thrilling tale of magic.
by Brianna Sugalski
Parliament House Press
Pub date March 10, 2020
Price $5.06 (USD) Kindle edition. $16.37 Paperback