A spellbinding fantasy book about friendship, bravery, and everything in between! For so long, I saw the author, Alex Aster, everywhere in my Instagram reels, so I decided to give her novel a go. Let me say, it did not disappoint. The worldbuilding was a rich tapestry, and the Latin influences gave the world a familiar feel while still taking its own unique form. The description and writing are lovely. The Book of Cuentos excerpts gave everything a magical feel and corresponded well with the story. However, what did bother me the most (and docked a star from my rating) was how eerily reminiscent the characters were of the trio in Harry Potter. Tor was somewhat like Harry, but Melda and Engle were exact copies of Hermione and Ron, respectively. Overall, though, the worldbuilding more than made up for it. The book ended on a cliffhanger that is so infuriating but enticing. I hope to get my hands on the second book soon!
Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island)
By Alex Aster
A fast-paced series starter perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and filled with adventure, mythology, and an unforgettable trio of friends.
On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.
Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year's Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin...the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village's terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.