Book Review | Nocturna by Maya Motayne
Okay so I knew this book would be in one of my April book boxes so I basically requested it on Netgalley to see if it would be as good as it sounded.
Did I like it? Yes. Was it the Latin-inspired fantasy full of culture I was expecting… Not really. Still, Nocturna was a pretty fun and interesting read and I’ll probably be checking out others in the series!
Read on for my full review.
Series: A Forgery of Magic #1
Author: Maya Motayne
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 2nd May 2019
Source: eARC from publisher on NetGalley (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
‘Fates collide and darkness is unleashed in this lush, own-voices Latin-inspired fantasy, perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Leigh Bardugo and V. E. Schwab.
Magia Para Todos; Magic for all.
To Finnian Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the throat of anyone who crosses her, and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when she gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
To Prince Alfehr magic is an escape, but one that comes with a price. First in line for the throne after the disappearance of his older brother, Alfie is desperate to find him and bring him home, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
And when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they realise magic can be other things too, and the type they accidentally release into the world is something neither expects, or understands.
I waited a while before I wrote this review so I could make sure of how I felt about it. First up, the synopsis had me super excited for this story! The idea of face-shifting alone was intriguing, even without the Latin-inspired elements.
I’m gonna get my one big gripe with this story out of the way with first though – the world didn’t feel all that different? Other than a lot of Spanish phrases it felt like it could have easily been your run-of-the-mill fantasy. But at the same time I can’t exactly penalise the book over that, because I love fantasy regardless of the inspirations behind it. It would have been nice to have a stronger Latin influence over it though.
The story itself is pretty much a light vs. dark, good vs. evil one with a couple of strong characters along the way. The three main ones are Finn (the face-shifter), Alfie (the prince/king-to-be) and Luka (the bff of Alfie). I really liked Finn’s character because she’s quite a morally grey type, and Luka was basically an adorable sweet thing I couldn’t get enough of reading about!
Alfie though… I know they’re teenagers, I get that… but he whinged quite a lot. I love how Motayne portrays him dealing with grief and I think she really handled that side of his character well, but when he royally messes up I just found myself rolling my eyes whenever he insisted on not going to the person who could have helped from the beginning and probably saved a lot of hurt along the way. He basically came across as way too proud to admit his fault and although it gave an interesting story I just found myself really struggling to like him the further along the story got, I wish we saw more of Luka.
I did really like the villain in this story too, he was pretty terrifying but in a built up way where he was given a rich back story that made you hate him all the more. He’s a little too much a particular Marvel villain but then if you liked that villain you’d like this one so it’s not the worst of things!
The ending confused me a little because it’s wrapped up in a way that feels final, but at the same time I’d love to see more of the world so I’m happy to read further books in the series. Overall, this is a pretty strong debut.
…I have a bad habit for requesting books I know I’m gonna get in book boxes so that I know I’ll read them quicker. This is the FairyLoot edition of Nocturna and I adore it! (Featuring beautiful character art of Finn and Alfie).
Have you read this yet?
What did you think?
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