Originally published on Reedsy Discovery
The Twilight’s Curse is a spellbinding YA fantasy novel that embraces the meaning of power and magic held in an enchanting elve realm.
All elves have magic. Mine is great for helping plants grow.
But when my parents found out, they used me as their lab rat covering my body in tattoos meant to control me. Instead, the tattoos came to life. Their last experiment fractured my magic, so I fled their fortress.
Now I live in secrecy with an odd hermit, a home full of brownies and abandoned children. But when the children are kidnapped. I’m forced to face my past and fix my broken magic to rescue them.
And then there’s Nix. If only he’d stop getting in the way.
My parents, the king and queen of the Twilight Realm, were killed when I was a child. Too young to take the throne, I grew up in obscurity with no desire to become king.
But the regents threaten my sister and terrorize the citizens. I must become king and restore peace to the Twilight Realm. But first, I need to convince a certain female elf with knowledge of the fortress and amazing fighting skills to join me.
And maybe she’ll find out I’m not such a bad elf after all. If only she’d stop throwing her daggers at me.
The Twilight’s Curse is a magical, captivating, exceptional young adult fantasy novel written by K.M. Wray, an English teacher and fantasy fiction writer. This is her third published book and the beginning of a new series. Ms. Wray is an unknown author for me, but I love reading mysterious, fantasy young adult novels full of secrets, magical realms, strong characters, and adventures that will keep my eyes glued to the page. The story synopsis and the beautifully illustrated book cover drew me in as a reader and writer. I truly enjoyed reading this book. I found it delightful and creative as there were some aspects that I had never read in a young adult fantasy novel before. The story’s pace and intensity of Zoe escaping her parents and realizing the trauma she has faced reminded me of a Cassandra Clare novel. Zoe’s bravery and the power she possesses with her magic are extraordinary. The author’s writing style is symbolic, and she has written a fantastic story that fits well into the young adult fantasy genre.
Twilight’s Curse tells the story of Zoe, an elve who possesses a particular type of magic with the power to bring things alive and help plants grow. When her parents learn about her gifts, they experiment with her body and power. Zoe’s mother, Lady Sirina Dion, mixes dark magic with Zoe’s and creates tattoos on Zoe’s body. Each of the tattoos has a purpose, and Zoe can use them to protect herself and others. Zoe’s parents, Lady Sirina Dion and Lord Leski Dion, have a malicious plan to turn their daughter into an assassin to help them take over the Twilight Realm.
The Twilight Realm is under the care of King Alistar and his family. One night, the Dion family gained access to the Royal Tree and invaded the property. Lord Leski was on a mission to kill the king and queen for banishing him from the realm. He believes the only way for him to take over the realm is to kill King Alistar and his wife. That same night, Prince Phonix watched his parents sacrifice themselves to save the kingdom. Prince Phonix and his sister were taken care of by their royal advisors.
Prince Phonix lost his parents, and his sister was taken to another realm in the care of her nurse. They needed to escape and hide from the Dions. Prince Phonix’s Royal Advisor, Nate, decided that he was not old enough to take his father’s place, but Nate works with him and teaches him the duties and responsibilities to take his place as king when the time comes. The day where Prince Phonix needs to calm his birthright is fast approaching.
Zoe runs away with Dasha, a young girl her mother was experimenting with. Zoe couldn’t take the abuse from her parents any longer. She didn’t want any more treatments or tattoos on her body. She knew her parents were evil and up to no good and found a way to escape. Nate takes in Zoe and Dasha and gives them a place to live and the chance to learn more about themselves. Lady Sirina and Lord Leski have guards searching for their daughter, and she runs into trouble when Maxiom finds her in the woods. Prince Phoenix and Zoe become friends and fight off the guards, but they don’t realize that they need each other to save the Twilight Realm. Zoe doesn’t even know her friend is the Prince, and he doesn’t know that Zoe is the daughter of Lady Sirina and Lord Leski.
Will they be able to work together to save the Twilight Realm? Lady Sirina and Lord Leski threaten Nix’s sister and terrorize the town, but he can’t fight them independently. He needs Zoe’s strong magical abilities and familiarity with the fortress to gather an army to take them down.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is that it takes place in a land governed by elves. Not too many young adult fantasy books have elves as the main focus. I have read stories with the mention of elves, but they have never been the main star. The world the author creates is so beautiful and well-thought-out. It is unique and out of the ordinary. There are small creatures called brownies, and they take care of housekeeping, children, cooking, and protecting the royal tree. The trees are turned into elves’ and brownies’ homes, and the way the author describes the living arrangements, you would think the tree was a mansion: a spiral staircase, chef’s kitchen, bedrooms, library. It’s just so magnificent, and she describes the setting very well. The author uses descriptive words and literary elements to bring the story alive. The character development is unbelievable. I think Zoe is my favorite character because of how brave and strong she is, but she has the ability to bring her dragon tattoos alive, and they help her fight off the bad guys. I would have never thought about making a character’s tattoo come to life.
The secrets between Zoe’s identity and Prince Phoenix and learning how they needed one another to defeat Lord Leski and Lady Sirina were both heartwarming and scary because Zoe is going after her own parents. Zoe and Nix lean on one another to get through challenging situations and overcome trauma. K.M. Wray has created an amazing story with all the elements of a good fantasy, classic good versus evil tale. If you love reading young adult fantasy novels with well-crafted characters and a female heroine discovering her gifts to save the realm, you must read Twilight’s Curse.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the Twilight Realm Trilogy.
Thank you for reading my book review, I hope you enjoy reading the Twilight’s Curse as much as I did!