In the kingdom of Axaria, a darkness rises.
Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.
Not one has ever returned.
When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless trained soldiers have failed.
To kill it.
But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.
That is … if the demon doesn’t get to them first.
From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.
A Fun Read
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.
A mysterious demon is terrorizing the kingdom of Axaria. Princess Asterin Faelenhart may be the only one who has the power to stop it. Though she does not yet fully understand her powers, she swears to destroy the demon or die in the attempt. Considering how many trained soldiers failed to return, dying in the attempt is a real possibility. When the princess and her companions set out, powers other than the demon’s maneuver to assassinate her. Webs of deceit begin to untangle, with the trail leading back to themselves. They are left with decisions to make that could unravel everything they accepted as true, including who the real enemy is.
Coco Ma has done an excellent bit of world-building. The elemental magic system is intriguing. The common focuses for magic users are affinity stones. My favorite part of the storytelling is the character interactions. Even the demon proves somewhat quirky. Asterin’s magical powers are not limited to one or two elements. She can use all of them and potentially without the use of affinity stones.
When reports come in that a demon is destroying villages, the queen sends soldiers out to deal with it. None have ever returned. Asterin takes on the task herself. Once the quest begins, she finds that everything, including the demon himself, is more complicated than she thought. The story slowed in places, but it proved a fun read. I’ve already purchased the sequel.