My thanks to the author for a review copy of the book via BookTasters.
In The Lost Legends, the first of a series, author Cait Marie gives us a very readable and entertaining fantasy tale with prophecies and myths, journeys and pursuits of lost lands and people, romance, and some swashbuckling adventure.
We are introduced to Princess Adalina or Ada of Detmarya who has been brought up on the legend of the Nihryst—a group of thieves-turned warriors, made immortal by a curse given by her ancestors, and rumoured to live on the island of Cyfrin. The Nihryst are now only the stuff of myth but Ada who has been told these stories and given a book and a deck of cards representing them by her (now deceased) mother is sure that the book and cards together have given her enough clues to find Cyfrin. Ada is closest to her loving older brother Shane (heir to the throne) and their childhood friend Philip (now a royal guard), since her mother’s death changed their father beyond recognition. Shane however discourages her from her belief in what he thinks are mere fairy tales.
One day when Ada overhears a conspiracy involving her own father, she must leave Detmarya and go in search of the Nihyrst, for it is only them who can help her (and Shane) defeat the dangers facing their kingdom, in fact the world around them. At the docks, she hires a ship led by Captain Lee who is willing to take her to her destination in exchange for gold. But are the clues she found in the book real? Does she actually find the Nihryst?
Meanwhile, Shane remains at home where he learns of yet another danger facing their people. But it is with people dubbed as rebels he must work to find out more about it and protect his home. In this he faces new dangers, while also trying to keep Ada’s whereabouts a secret and their father’s plans at bay.
This was a fun and entertaining read which I enjoyed very much. The story is told from Ada and Shane’s points of view (though in third person), and we follow their two separate threads or adventures.
The fantasy realm that the author creates has kings and princesses, curses and prophecies, immortals and pirates, or in other words all the right elements for a fun adventure. There is a definite Robin Hood inspiration, in the names of people and places, and also in the actions of Captain Lee and his crew. The plot in itself with the legend of the Nihryst and the prophecy was perhaps a typical fantasy one but was executed in a very engaging way and I enjoyed it all through. While set in a fantasy arena, we have some reflection of real-life and present-day (actually perhaps, age-old) concerns like unscrupulous bids for power, and a mystery illness afflicting people for which there seems no immediate cure. This is an action packed read, with something happening at every step, some twists and surprises (some of which one does see coming), and also a fairly prominent romance thread.
The author gives us a very likeable set of characters. Ada, our heroine, may be a bit naïve but she is resourceful and brave, not letting anything much deter or discourage her, and she never gives up belief or hope. In fact, even though we follow the parallel thread with Shane, her storyline shines through in some ways more than his. In Shane, we have a prince who truly cares for his kingdom and the well-being of his people, for which he is ready to face risks and his father’s wrath. We also have Captain Lee (who makes for an attractive hero) and his seafaring crew, Brienne and Ren among them, who have much more to them than first meets the eye, and the rebels William and Gwyn, who also have their own stories and secrets.
I liked that while this was the first part of a series, it did wrap up part of the story quite satisfactorily while keeping the door open, in fact even commencing the next part of the tale, leaving the reader eager to see what happens next, and where the adventure takes our characters.
4 stars to this one which is sheer good fun