The Stray Spirit

    • 4.0 • 1 Rating
    • $3.99
    • $3.99

Publisher Description

A bard and a forest spirit uncover a deadly magical threat…and the key to survival lies within their own forgotten songs.

Struggling bard Emry Karic has only one path home: impress the Auric Guild, join its ranks of elite musicians, and return to his family with his honor in hand.

Difficult to do on a good day. Impossible to do with a possessed lute.

Hours before Emry's big break, an unnatural earthquake strikes, forcing a forest spirit named Aspen to take refuge in his lute. Aspen is loud, talkative...and not leaving anytime soon.

Panicked, Emry swears the spirit to silence on stage, in exchange for a favor: he will help investigate the mysterious quake that nearly killed them.

But Emry is a bard, not a scholar, and his research leads straight to the person who resents him the most: Cal Breslin, his studious ex-girlfriend. Despite their history, Cal can't pass up the opportunity to study a mythical being. Yet as the trio delves into the forgotten folklore of spirits and gods, they uncover a magical threat—and lingering feelings—looming beneath the surface…

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
August 8
RK Ashwick Books
Draft2Digital, LLC

Customer Reviews

Scott Jay Z ,

A strong entry of a new author and series

Stray Spirit ARC voluntary review

Ashwick’s first publishing establishes her brand of cozy low fantasy, an enjoyable cast of characters, and her skill at executing a well thought out vision with care.

What I liked: Ashwick excels at developing the readers relationship with the core protagonists. The world she builds for them is novel and interesting to explore, without being overwhelming of new places, mechanics, and lore that the reader must understand to be able to follow the plot. The stakes crescendo smoothly and are made to feel real on multiple occasions, while still remaining appropriate for any age audience. Ashwick’s take on a young forest spirit’s personality is particularly engaging, yet leaves room for readers to build their own interpretation/relationship — pronouns are never given, yet some reviewers clearly (myself included) are able to associate one if they do choose.

Where I hope Ashwick’s series will continue to grow: the protagonists are young, and as such they are juvenile in some of their world views—I’m excited to see how the author can explore more advanced themes while still maintaining her appeal to a broad audience, and also adding depth to the core cast. As well as the central elements are executed, supporting characters and side plots are limited, and might have helped maintain engagement in the middle acts. Finally, I would be interested to see future books lean more into the exploration of their fantasy elements as the world readers are exposed to expands.

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