Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Beltane Escape
*Series: The Two Realms Trilogy #1
Author: Ariella Moon
Publisher: Star Tribe Publishing
Pages: Kindle; 225
Release Date: February 2016
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy fantasy stories, featuring fairy folk and strong female characters.
Lady Fenella, ever surrounded by guards, knows only responsibility and duty. She believes Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths, Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, and Fairy was invented to make children behave.
But then Gran brands her, Lord Argonshire kidnaps her, and the Lady of the Lake makes her a pawn. The Highland heiress must betray her newly betrothed and fend for herself when she dives into a wormhole to save her cousin. She lands in a part of Fairy even fairies avoid, and joins forces with Talfryn, a half-Viking/half-Fairy.
Fenella must use her wits to find her cousin, free the Lady of the Lake, and reach the wormhole in Glastonbury by Beltane. Nine days to unshackle herself from a sorceress, prevent a war between rival clans, and decide in which realm—and with which lad—she truly belongs. Oh, and The Most Powerful Wizard stands in her way.
The Beltane Escape manages to seamlessly blend together a bit of magic, a bit of myth, and a whole lot of historical fiction. Although I'm not generally a fan of most historical fiction, if you throw in just enough magic to make it a Fantasy novel I'll gladly snatch it up! I'm happy to say that Ariella Moon succeeded at doing just that.
When I first opened this book, and found myself in the middle of a fight between The Lady of the Lake and Merlin, I knew this would be something I'd be interested in. In fact, had it been a story solely about those two, I would have been thrilled. I was soon introduced to Lady Fenella though, the protagonist of this book, and I slowly warmed up to her. A young heiress to a massive thanedom, Lady Fenella's life has never really been her own. I felt for her, and was eager to learn more about her.
Which actually brings me to the fact that Ariella Moon does an excellent job of slowly building her characters. Instead of throwing all the information out at once, I grew to know Fenella better over the course of the book. I saw her strength right out of the gate, but the more I read the more I saw what a complex person she was. It was the same with all the characters, in fact. The fact that there were no infodumps felt nice. It allowed me to get lost in the story.
In terms of plot, that's where this book and I had a bit of a falling out. The story itself is well-paced, regarding both pacing and characterization. However it never felt as exciting as I felt it should. I wanted more tension, more excitement. Once the Fairy Folk came into play, things picked up a lot. Still, the writing never really grabbed me. I felt like someone looking in, rather than being an actual part of the story.
I can forgive all of that though, because the ending was fabulous. I love endings that aren't necessarily a cliffhanger, but more of an elipsis. Endings that aren't frustrating, but actually leave you excited for more. Lady Fenella has my attention! I'd follow her further down the rabbit hole for sure.
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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.