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Nocturna by Maya Motayne

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin 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 Finn 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. After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic. But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

I wanted to read this because there were faceshifters, a girl who wielded magic like a knife, and a boy and girl who have different views of the world who are thrust together. I had seen people talking about it and how much they loved it, so I wanted to give it a try. Trigger warnings: abusive parent, alcoholism, gore, violence

This book reminds me of oranges. That’s really weird, I know, and I’m not sure if the explanation is going to be less weird. It’s bright and sweet and a little tangy. The redness and orangeness of the cover probably also plays into this haha. But this book just seems orange to me, like the fruit and the color.

I really, really liked Finn and Alfie. Finn was fierce and afraid of nothing on the outside, but on the inside she is terrified and carries a deep sadness within her. She uses everything that she can to hide herself away and run as far she can. Alfie wants to run too, but he’s more stuck. He’s softer and more caring than Finn and when their personalities clashed, it was really interesting to watch. They don’t seem like people who would normally be friends, but they make a really good team.

I was a little wary of the plot, since at times the way it progress is a little choppy. It seems like a lot of things happen due to chance or just due to convenience. The smaller subplots work that way a lot, though the overall plot was really well done. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it in the end, but it was so good. I loved how it used the darkness and the magic of the world and how it pushed Finn and Alfie to do things they never thought they would.

There was a lot of violence of in this book, which I wasn’t expecting. There were some very bloody parts. Though, it didn’t really read overally graphic. It almost seemed watered down. The blood and the gore just didn’t seem to fit at some points, even thought it made sense with certain threads of the book. I dunno, it was a good thing and a bad thing. I liked that it wasn’t used for shock value, but I also think that it could have been written slightly better.

I wasn’t expecting for there to be so many POVs. I’m actually kind of a fan when the perspective shifts to a side character or someone else. I know it’s probably done for the plot’s sake, but I really enjoy it! I think it adds something and it usually flows really well. In this book, there were a lot of random POVs thrown in there. It was kind of messy, but I honestly thought that was a good thing. It just was what it was and the insight that was gained was worth it.

Some aspects of this book do seem messy. The plot wavers at some point and the writing is awkward at places. There were some reveals that happened that seemed kind of out of the blue and that there was a lack of foreshadowing. But the characters were amazing and the things they hold close to their heart and how they come together and face things head on, really made everything come together. The magic they were fighting was so well done. I loved how the villain tied into backstory. I loved the humor.

Because of how this book ends, I thought it was a standalone and it was just heart wrenching. But it’s actually a trilogy. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. It’s like the book just ends and doesn’t set up the next books. I don’t know what the other books could be about. I had an idea of how it would end, but I dunno. I did read an ARC, so maybe this is changed in the finished copy!

All in all, I really, really liked this book. The writing was really well done, I adore Finn and Alfie, and the magic system was really smart. Though I have no idea what is going to happen in the next books, I am really looking forward to them!

Nocturna comes out May 7, 2019! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

Thank you for reading!

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