Book title: DARKHAVEN
Author: A.F.E. Smith
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: 2 July 2015 (ebook), 14 January 2016 (paperback)
Price: £1.99/$3.99 (ebook)
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.
When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?
Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.
Amazon (global link)
Barnes & Noble
Tour homepage: www.afesmith.com/darkhaven-blog-tour
Ayla is imprisoned within her own home by her own father, the ruler of Darkhaven, for refusing to become the next ruler of Darkhaven over her older brother Myrren. Every ruler of Darkhaven must be a Changer, someone with the ability to shift into a creature form. Ayla has this ability, Myrren does not. Myrren helps Ayla escape from prison on the night that their father is murdered. Furthermore, it appears that their father could have only been murdered by someone in Changer form, which leaves Ayla as the only suspect. Now, Ayla is trying to stay hidden while searching for another Changer hidden in Darkhaven with the help of former guard member Tomas, Myrren is trying to solve the mystery of the new Changer attacks with the help of priestess Serenna while trying to clear his sister’s name and Captain of the Helm, Owen Travers is hunting Ayla down, convinced of her guilt.
Darkhaven is a surprising and suspenseful fantasy in a uniquely drawn world. I was very drawn into the Changer myth, the forms that they can take and how the change manifests. I’m glad that Serenna did research into the Changers so that they were well explained. The characters are all engaging and thoughtful. I was captivated by Ayla unwavering devotion to her brother and steadfast character when she would rather be imprisoned than take her brother’s place on the throne. She also grew tremendously as a person when she was on the run with Tomas. Myrren was mysterious and strong, I admired that he did not hold a grudge about not inheriting the Changer gift or the throne; although I did figure out part of his mystery pretty early on. The best characters for me were the supporting characters, Serrena, Tomas and Sorrow added depth, personality and attitude. The mystery and suspense of Ayla’s escape, the extra Changer attacks and the mixed motives of the characters kept this book fast-paced, exciting and hard to put down.
This book was received for free in exchange for an honest review.
A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.
What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.
Author social media links
DARKHAVEN on Goodreads