★★★★★ | Every pretentious man that claims that good fantasy needs to uphold patriarchy and oppress minorities for ‘historical accuracy’ or otherwise it won’t be ‘believable’ needs to be slammed with this book immediately.
This book October’s Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.
Series: Enchanters, #1
Author: K.F. Bradshaw
Publisher: Wishbox Press
Release Date: March 2017
Genres: Fantasy | YA | LGBT
First of all, I loved the characters!
Andrea – she’s a very relatable protagonist: she rambles even before fully processes the question, she is impulsive but fully devoted to reaching her goal even if it endangers her and people around her, she tries really hard and makes many mistakes along the way
Cassie – she goes from ‘what the hell take me back home’ to ‘ok I’ll help you save the world but I’m gonna complain all the way’ to ‘I love Andrea and I’m gonna kick your ass were you to hurt her even if I die in the process’; she has a great humor sense and is a main source of sarcasm in the book; a big hothead
Kye – I like how he bonded with everyone and I think that thanks to him the group had this ‘chosen family’ vibe; this poor boy suffered through a lot
Elisa – aka ‘I’ll adopt every kid I’ll encounter but pretend I don’t care about any of them and remind them of it at every occasion as well as point out how displeased I am every time they put their lives at risk’; grumpy af; vodka aunt
Diana and Jacob – they’re a nice couple but also they highlight that gender roles and dynamics in Damea are nothing like ours and they strive to treat each others as equals even when Diana is of a higher rank
Meredith – she’s the villain that wasn’t really a villain – she’s a person who in desperation made some big mistakes regarding morality; she’s really relatable as a person and is led by very human reasons which shows us that we’re always one step away of choosing a wrong path
Andrea and Cassie complement each other greatly: while Andrea is ambitious and has her eyes set on a goal from the young age, Cassie was thrown into an unknown world from her boring monotonous life and stresses the importance of relaxing once in a while; Andrea has problems with words and Cassie can joke freely and conjure a lie on spot; (Andrea uses magic – Cassie is a walking magic battery). This way they can help each other grow – Andrea inspires Cassie to take action for the sake of something bigger and to want more of life and Cassie teaches Andrea to use her words and have fun. The ‘opposites attract’ trope is used here to make them into a good team not to create power imbalances. Their romance works so good because the majority of the book firstly focuses on them becoming friends and giving them time to start trusting each other.
Every scene is important and nothing is dragged out – the pacing is so good I never felt like skimming!
The plot was amazing! The world of Damea felt so natural to me as if I was sucked into it along with Cassie! After a young apprentice Andrea and Cassie who’s accidentally brought into Damea set out on a quest (or are forced to do so) the various stages of their journey progress so naturally we begin to live and breathe Damea even though the book doesn’t clutter us with too much unnecessary details about the world and doesn’t provide elongated descriptions. Everything moves fast forward as we are thrown from one crisis into a small resolution into yet another crisis. In more quiet moments the book explores inner conflicts and develops emotional side of the characters and relationships between them so there’s no sentence wasted.
I love that it is primarily a genre book not a romance because it makes everything neatly fall into place.
There’re still many questions left unansweared, like Cassie’s past, but since it’s only first part of the series I believe it’s going to become relevant to the plot further on.
(I had some issues with the writing, mainly usage of epithets like ‘the enchanter’ ect. instead of names but it didn’t disturb my reading much so I’ll let it slide.)
While reading this I felt like I was thrown into an old-style fantasy but for the first time I had so many characters I could relate to!