Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Azurite by Megan Dent Nagle

Azurite by Megan Dent Nagle. Self-published; 2015. 448 pages. Ebook.

I was recently contacted by Megan Dent Nagle and asked to read and honestly review her novel. After reading the synopsis, I was very intrigued and eagerly agreed - and I'm certainly glad I did. While Azurite may have a few similar qualities to other books in this genre, it definitely held it's own with many unique and interesting elements.

Azurite has a fairly complicated plot, so I'll do my best to sum of the biggest issues: Although Zora would ordinarily be the next in line to the throne, this is not the case; Zora is an illegitimate child whom the queen would rather didn't exist. She is thus married of to Prince Spencer of Montanisto. Montanisto is a foreign, dry, and barren land. Unbeknownst to Zora, Samaria is teetering on the edge of collapse, with the threat of war looming large. Now, I bet you're wondering where this whole 'azurite' thing comes in? Azurite is a crystal mined in Azurite that a certain race of sorcerors are after, and "Queen Evangeline is willing to give it to them, but at what cost?"*

Nagle did remarkably great work in creating yet another new magical system. There are a staggering amount of books out there dealing with similar ideas and the process of creating an exciting and gripping magic system, which makes it difficult to for authors to really set themselves apart from the rest. Nagle, however, was very successful at doing just that. I found myself drawn into her history of how the magic came to be, how it works, and many other details that create an interesting and intricate system.

The characters themselves were also quite an interesting bunch. (Also, I'd like to add that for some reason I really enjoyed the names the author chose - Evangeline, Zora, Dakota, Milo. They all just seemed to fit the characters really well!) Although the dialogue came across a tad cliche'd at times, it did not detract too much from the story and I was still able to heartily enjoy it. Nagle certainly took her time fleshing out the characters and working hard to bring them to life; it was obvious that there were many layers to each person, and I loved uncovering them along the way. One of the most interesting characters for me personally was Queen Evangeline. The story begins with a high-tension scene involving the Queen, and I was immediately fascinated by how she chose to deal with the various struggles and decisions that were presented to her concerning her country, Samaria. From this moment on, I continued to find myself intrigued with ever sceene the contained Evangeline.

Nagle writes in a very readable and flowing style. She uses description wisely, never lingering too long nor moving too quickly. The book is set at a nice, steady pace that allows the reader to get acquainted with each scene and event that takes place before moving onto something wholly new.

Overall, I'd certainly recommend Azurite to someone who enjoys fantasy, magic, politics, and adventure! I debated for a while between three and four stars, but since I had a legitimately good time reading this novel, I say it deserves four - so four it is!

*Quote from Amazon.com summary of Azurite.

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