Book Review – Isoldesse by Kimberly Grymes
Friendships are tested, new alliances are made, and the truth of one woman’s actions from over a millennia ago are revealed.
Kenna and Meegan are college students dealing with upcoming finals, needy parents, boy drama, and what to do with their lives after they graduate in a few weeks. What they weren’t expecting was for Kenna to receive a powerful stone necklace that ultimately changes their plans for a relaxing summer.
Strange things begin to happen to Kenna, like being the only one who can see and talk to the mysterious old woman with a golden aura. Or how in her dreams, a man with vibrant orange eyes keeps appearing who may or may not be real. Though, not all of Kenna’s mysterious encounters are pleasant as she’s haunted by massive beings carrying long swords and wearing Armor covered in black scales.
Besides solving the mystery of where the stone necklace came from, Kenna, Meegan, and their friends are taken to another world for a routine evolutionary assessment. The assessment gets sabotaged and causes more chaos for Kenna and her friends, especially for Meegan who is forced to open up and reveal her true identity and the magic she hides.
There’s one name that Kenna, Meegan, the Sendarians, and the monsters who’ve been hunting Meegan and her family for over a century all have in common…
I received this eARC for free and am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to Victory Editing and Netgalley for my copy of the book.
I think the first thing that needs to be said for anyone considering picking up this book is that it is most likely not what you are expecting it to be. There are a lot of mixed ratings on this book and a lot of the bad ones are actually from people who were expecting a fantasy book and got science fiction. If you go into this knowing what it is like I did then I think it is very likeable!
I decided to read this after being drawn to that absolutely stunning cover, it really is gorgeous isn’t it? I read the blurb and it sounded really cool. Talk of magic, strange happenings, other words and all the stuff that I usually really enjoy so it was a no-brainer for me.
So basically if you’re expecting a YA Fantasy that isn’t really what this is. This is more a weird blend of YA Science Fiction with a bit of fantasy and magic thrown in for good measure and do you know what? It actually really worked for me. It only took me two days to finish this book and I had a lot of fun meeting the characters and seeing the world that the author built here.
The “aliens” are definitely not what you would typically imagine when you think about an alien and the concept is really unique and fun. As it is science fiction you will see plenty of technology and other science-y themes. The magic system is actually really interesting and is a sort of spell-casting that can only be done by females and is drawn from the elements in the environment around them. There are also various magical stones that are used to amplify magic and even store a females essence after death.
Many questions are asked in the telling of this story, it is actually very intricate and detailed and a lot of questions are left unanswered particularly about Kenna and Rian and who they are and where they fit into the bigger picture.
There is a royal family which is only touched upon but I believe have a much, much bigger part to play and there is also the rebel group who are trying to overthrow the government and gain more luxuries and freedoms for the Sandariens and who seem to be bad guy/good guys I’m really not sure yet but I am excited to find out more in the next instalment as at this stage I really am not sure!
Meegan is also a very intriguing character because there is clearly a lot more to her than meets the eye but it seems to have to wait until the next book to find out exactly what!
The story is told from multiple POV’s but each chapter is clearly marked with whose POV you are reading so it doesn’t take long to learn who is who and I think overall for me it worked well with minimal confusion.
My main criticism with this book would have to be with the dialogue. Although I found the story intriguing there was something off about the way the characters all spoke. They talked like high school kids instead of 20 something college graduates so I think that definitely could have been better but it didn’t ruin the story for me.
It feels like as with most books that are written with a sequel in mind that is is setting the stage for a lot of action to come in the next book and I can’t wait to dive into it when it becomes available. A solid start to an interesting new series!