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Fantasy Romance Early Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott (A Novel of The Four Arts #1)


Egalley thanks to Roc

Synopsis from Goodreads
First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.

Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…


Release date: April 28th 2015
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository 

7.5/10

* * *
Alright, I am torn about this one. On one hand I liked it. It had such potential in the main characters and world-building.



Sophia and Cameron are both sensible and resourceful, not prone to melodrama, and they operate as a pair of equals from the very beginning. I always enjoy such character traits immensely.

The world-building starts quite formulaic, with Anglion as a prototype of England, and Illwya as France, but towards the end it develops into something tantalizingly lovely.

And therein lies the problem.

The whole book is a giant prologue, where the author is establishing the set and mood of the whole series. Whatever happens here is muted with a buildup towards the end. The secondary characters are also formulaic. Cameron conveniently doesn't have close friends, Sophia's supposed friend, the Queen, does a 180 and becomes someone who dislikes her very fast and without any reasonable explanation. The familial relationships of both characters are vaguely sketched. Perhaps the only character who stands out is Madame de Montesse.

Another good thing about Cam and Sophie is the level of heat and sincerity between them. I started The Shattered Court thinking it will be a YA, but there are some very steamy scenes here, and they are lovely!

Overall, recommended, bearing in mind that this is only a taste of things to come. The ending is wonderful and makes me think that the next book is promising to be absolutely amazing. I would loosely compare it with Darkborn series by Alison Sinclair.

* * *
Мнение у меня по поводу этой книги двойственное.

С одной стороны, Разбитый Двор мне понравился. Виден сильный потенциал в главных героях и построении мира.

София и Камерон рассудительны, хладнокровны и не склонны к мелодраме. С самого начала они работают вместе как равноправные партнёры. Такие черты характера меня всегда привлекают.

Построение мира начинается лениво, с Англионом в качестве прототипа Англии и Иллвией - Францией, однако под конец мир разворачивается в ослепительную картину и разздразнивает аппетит читателя, что приводит меня к главному недостатку книги.

Проблема в том, что она читается как один длинный пролог, где автор расставляет игроков по местам и объясняет правила игры, а вот та самая игра начинается только под конец. В основном это видно по формулаичности второстепенных персонажей. У Камерона нет друзей, а единственная подруга Софии - Королева, разворачивается на 180 градусов в начале книги и относится к ней весьма нетерпимо без хорошего объяснения такого контраста. Аналогично, родственники обоих намечены, но не вырисованы, и единственный второстепенный персонаж, который выделяется - это мадам де Монтесс.

Отмечу, что отношения между Софи и Камом меня приятно удивили, они полны страсти и тепла, и в них верится. Однако в общем, рекомендую эту книгу только, если вы будете иметь в виду, что это прелюдия, обещание очень хорошей книги второй, а не полноценная первая часть серии. Разбитый Двор слегка напоминает мне серию Алисон Синклэр, Даркборн.

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