Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Shattered Court: A Novel of the Four Arts

Fair Warning:  I wrote a long review!!!!!

The Shattered Court:  A Novel of the Four Arts by M. J. Scott is a paranormal novel with a different take on witches.  Lady Sophia Elizabeth Constance Kendall is a lady-in-waiting to Princess Eloisa.  Sophia is approaching her twenty-first birthday which is when powers manifest.  The palace is getting ready to celebrate her Ais-Seann (the special celebration on her birthday).  If her powers manifest she will be a royal witch (she is thirty-second in line to the throne).  Royal witches are only allowed to practice earth magic.  If she had any power (lately most of the witches have had only small amounts of power) it would be dedicated to the goddess with all the proper rites and then she would be married off to whichever nobleman the king picks (and she has to share her power with her husband as well).  

Sophia, though, wants more out of her life.  She is frustrated with the little she is allowed to do (she is chaperoned to make sure she is a virgin on her birthday) and to learn (she is taught mostly the theory on magic and the rituals she will need to know if her powers manifest).  Two days before her birthday, Princess Eloisa (who is the strongest royal witch living) sends Sophia on an errand to Madame de Montesse’s store.  Chloe Montesse is from Illvya (a rival country) where they practice the fourth magic of water (in addition to air, earth, and blood magic).    Sophia is chaperoned by Lt. Cameron Mackenzie of the Red Guard (they are battle mages).

While is Portholme they hear a loud explosion and discover the palace is under attack.  Cameron, who is sworn to protect royal witches, immediately takes action.  He asks Madame Montesse is she has a portal (they travel by portals which are activated by blood).  Cameron takes Sophia through the portal to get her as far away from the palace as possible.  They do not who is attacking, but he has to guard Sophia and keep her safe.  They are still traveling when Sophia wakes up on her twenty-first birthday.  She has manifested powers and can now see the ley lines that run through the land.  Despite Cameron’s best attempts at keeping her away from them, Sophia steps right into the middle of a ley line.  Cameron touches her to pull her out, and instant passion.  You can guess what happens right?  Gone is Sophia’s virginity.

They continue their journey to reach one of Cameron’s brothers, Alec.  When they arrive, they discover that the battle is over.  They are to return to the castle, but many are dead.  Cameron’s father is gone along with the king and many of the royal family.  Sophia is no longer thirty-second in line to the throne.  Upon arriving at the castle, she is whisked off by Domina Skey (who is in charge of the temple and strongest of the temple witches).  When the ritual is performed, the sigils that were put on Sophia’s hand do not disappear.  Domina Skey is angry and drags Sophia to queen-to-be Eloisa.  Cameron is also called to appear.  Upon hearing what happened during their journey, Eloisa betroths Sophia to Cameron.  Eloisa was badly injured in the fire that swept through the east and west sections of the castle.  Domina Skey uses Sophia to heal Eloisa.  Turns out that Sophia has a lot of power and being unbound the power does not go to the temple (which means Domina Skey cannot access it unless she takes it from Sophia. 

Did I mention this is a long book with a lot of details?  I will try to condense the rest.  Domina Skey has taken advantage of Eloisa’s sickness to elevate her status.  She does not like that Sophia is unbound.  Sophia and Cameron get married, however, they are told that they have to take their wedding week at court (instead of traveling as is normal).  One night someone gets into their chamber and tries to kill Sophia.  What is going on?  They have no choice but to run.  Where will they go and who can they trust?

I found The Shattered Court a little confusing.  Their magic has something to do with a goddess, salt, and salt water.  I, also, did not like that the book ends without a real ending.  We are left to wonder until the next book (which I will read, of course, to see what happens).  I give The Shattered Court 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I think it could have done with a little editing (of course, who am I to talk with this long review).  I wish the magic had been explained a little better and I think I could have done without the explicit sex scenes.  I originally thought this was a novel for young adults, but I think this is more a novel for adults (since it does have the sex scenes).  I will be interested to see what happens in the next novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for checking out my latest review (especially since it was so long)!  I am currently reading Defending the Dead by Shelia Connolly.  Have a good evening and Happy Reading! 


P.S.--If you love cozies, Murder Most Finicky:  A Pawsitively Organic Mystery by Liz Mugavero was just listed.  It comes out December 29, 2015!  I love pre-ordering!

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