Title: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver #1)
Author: Annette Marie
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: LOVED IT!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a nymph living in exile among humans, Clio has picked up all sorts of unique survival skills. But stealing from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld? Not so much.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she has to do to earn a ticket back home.
Conning her way into the Underworld may have gone pretty well, but now she’s got a new problem. His name is Lyre and he’s a sinfully alluring incubus, a dangerously skilled spell weaver, and the only thing standing between her and stealing some damn magic.
Maneuvering around him without blowing her cover shouldn’t be that difficult, but chaos has been dogging her every step, monsters hide behind beautiful faces, and Lyre keeps saving her neck even though they’re enemies. Kind of enemies? Either way, her mission is getting complicated fast, and in the Underworld, even one mistake could prove fatal.
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
Annette Marie has done it again. I know I shout about my love for her books constantly, but seriously, she is definitely one of the most underrated authors out there. I have loved every single book I have read by her and they all give me the same symptoms: losing interest in anything not involving reading the book, trying to do the necessary everyday things like walking, eating or brushing my teeth while reading the book (some more succesful than others), and occasional emotional outbursts because of I get way too attached to the characters.
The Night Realm was no exception. After reading and loving the Steel and Stone series last year, I was already mostly sure I would love this series, which is a prequel series set in the Steel and Stoen universe featuring my favorite Incubus, Lyre. And I say mostly sure, because I still had a little doubt in my mind that said: do you really need more books set in the same world, featuring a character you already know? Well, little doubt, the answer is… YES. Definitely. Obviously. Because THIS WAS AMAZING. So please allow me to tell you about why I loved this so much.
The intricate worldbuilding. Sure, it’s a world we’ve already come to know in the Steel and Stone series. But it’s also still such a huge world and there is so much more to discover. We get to see a whole new side to this world and get to know more about different castes of daemons and their abilities. Everything is so vivid and clear and easy to get caught up in.
The fast-paced action. As with any Annette Marie book, the pacing and the action are so well done. It’s the perfect balance of action, fights, chases and adventure with the quiet character moments that are so important. Talking of which…
The multi-dimensional, lovable characters. The story is told from two POV’s. One the one hand we have Lyre, the kind, smart and always super seductive incubus. We’ve already got to know him though the Steel and Stone series, but it was always clear that there was so much more to Lyre that we didn’t know about yet. And this series is the chance to find out and learn more about his past, his motives and his family. It’s a much darker Lyre than we know, but it’s such a crucial part of him that can’t be left out. And then there’s Clio, the nymph in exile. The bastard princess who can mimic any magic she sees, loves plants, is peaceful at heart and just a little accident-prone. I wasn’t expecting to love her so much, but I quickly warmed up to her. She’s an adorable, feisty heroine in her own way and I loved her interactions with Lyre.
The slow-paced romance. Annette Marie is a master of the slow-paced romance. You can feel the connection and tension between them and their chemistry is sizzling from the very beginning (what else would you expect when you’re dealing with an incubus though?), but it’s definitely NOT insta-love in any way. Their story in this book is actually more of an enemies to partners-in-crime story (with a lot of seduction because well… incubus), but you can feel there is so much more coming and I AM HERE FOR IT!
Also, I just need to mention the cameos. Though you don’t have to read the Steel and Stone series before reading this series and it’s perfectly possible to start with this one or only read this one (even though I think if you start with this series you will not stop until you’ve read all the Annette Marie books), it does give a nice extra dimension to the story. I’m specifically talking about Ash, another major player in the Steel and Stone series. This prequel answers some of the questions I had with that series, namely how did Ash and Lyre meet and how and why did they grow such an unlikely friendship.
Unfortunately, the only downside I had to this book was that the secondary characters could have been developed a bit more. Other than Clio and Lyre, we don’t really get to know the other characters very well and they stay a bit one-dimensional. They tend to get a little stuck in stereotypes such as the deranged villain, the creepy manipulator or the protective friend. But it was the only nitpick I could think of in an otherwise AMAZING series. I flew through it and picked up the sequel immediately afterwards. Highly recommend if you love fantasy, lots of action and magic, and swoon-worthy, slow-paced romance.
Trigger warning: contains an attempted rape scene.
I haven’t read any books by this author yet but since you since you love her so much I think I should really start. What book should I start with?
Oh yes, please do try her books 🙂 I love them all, but my personal favorite is the Red Winter trilogy, it’s more (new) adult high fantasy. But if you’re more into YA urban fantasy, then you could start with either the Steel and Stone series (5 books and a companion collection) or the Spell Weaver trilogy (a prequel to Steel and Stone series). Hope you love them!
I haven’t heard of her before, but I love it when a reader loves and reads all of one authors books. 🙂 I’m planning to read most of Terry Pratchetts books this year, he’s my favourite. 🙂
Yes, it’s definitely the best! I haven’t read any Terry Pratchett books yet so I’ll have to check them out!
I’m so glad that you enjoyed this one! It sounds really great. I haven’t heard of it before but now I will have to check it out!
Thanks for sharing,
~Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
Thanks! I feel like these books are definitely underrated 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy them if you decide to check them out!
I haven’t read The Night Realm! I actually haven’t read much fantasy lately at all so I must change that! It’s good to see that you really enjoyed this one. I’ll have to check it out on Goodreads!!
Oh I really hope you’ll love this too if you decide to check it out! 🙂
I LOVE Annette Marie books! I read The Red Winter Trilogy… I just found my next series of hers to read!! Thanks for making it sound sooooo compelling!
OMG I’m so happy to have found another Red Winter fan! <3 It's my favorite by her so far, but I do love her other series too. Hope you'll love this one too if you decide to check it out 🙂
Okay, you sold me on the author. I haven’t read anything by her so I’ve just added the first in her Steel & Stone series to my to-read list. Is that the one I should start with? Thanks for the awesome recs and great review!
Oh that’s great, I hope you love her books! 🙂
The Steel and Stone series is great to start with if you love YA fantasy. It is her first series, so there are a few tiny issues here and there and a few tropes, but overall I thought was such a great read! My personal favorite is her Red Winter series though, it’s more of a (new) adult high fantasy series with Japanese mythology. Hope you love them!
I really enjoyed this one too. I especially enjoyed that Annette made a reason for a boy crazy MC.
Yes exactly! The only acceptable reason for insta-love. 😉
Yes, yes, yes! All the nods of agreement and so many yays that we both loved this book so much! Eep!
I actually picked this one up first and then I didn’t stop reading until I’d consumed ALL THE BOOKS, so you’re right – if you try do this one first you’re going to eventually read all of the Steel and Stone Universe books. ? I can’t wait for March and then the sequel series that is coming! I need more Steel and Stone, more Lyre!
AH yay I’m so happy we both love this series and author so much 🙂
Haha, I may have started the other way around, with the Steel and Stone series first, but I also couldn’t stop reading until I finished it all so I guess once you start an Annette Marie series, you can’t stop 🙂 OMG, I’m so excited for more as well! And I noticed we are really quite lucky as Annette Marie tends to publish her series so quickly after each other, so we never have to wait super long.