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Breathless by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Short, sweet and sexy – we loved this book. Lara is a movie star whose career has crashed and burnt. She is in the throes o...

Silver Beasts by Emma Sterner-Radley

⭐⭐⭐☆★

This one is a total winner in the YA fantasy genre.

Cavarra is under serious peril from silver beasts. These beasts start of a normal insects and feed off the silver magic used by the citizens to mutate into flesh-eating terrors with a shell of silver making them highly dangerous. A lot of this outcome is due to the irresponsibility of human beings across generations. The king has decided to train teams of eighteen-year-olds and send them sailing to discover new lands so that the people can be relocated to safer areas. Four teens are selected – one from each county of the kingdom – after rigorous testing. Each of the four is the best in their year.

The second wave comprises Avelynne, a Peakdweller; Sabina from the North; Eleksander from the Lakelands and Hale from the Woodlands. Hale, an orphan, is a hearty, rough-around-the-edges fighter. Eleksander with a tremulous past, is softer and gentler but nonetheless highly capable fighter. Sabina, eldest and most responsible from a family of multiple siblings has a snowtiger, Kall, as her companion and is a fierce fighter. Avelynne, Countess and heir of the family, is sensitive and vulnerable, and hides a deeply shameful secret.

The four start their training and soon discover that things are not quite like what they seem. While they try to unearth mysterious warnings they also learn to handle the differing personalities, grow as individuals and become each other’s safe place and family.

The main focus of the story is Avelynne and she is an immensely likeable person. She is fragile, vulnerable, hardworking, conscientious, lonely, damaged and kind amongst many other things. A goodish portion of the book also deals with Hale. We wish Sabina and Eleksander had also been given the same attention as Hale because with Avelynne as the central character we found it unfair that only one of the others received disproportionate attention. Plus Sabina and Eleksander seem very interesting people.

Though Avelynne is the weakest of the foursome – both, physically and as a student – her attractiveness as a person is unquestionable. We loved the bonds that the four build and how they just have each other’s backs by the end. The bad guys are still slightly amorphous (could be the king, could be one of their tutors, could be the rebels – in this book they all are at different stages of bad-hood).

Within just these four characters, Sterner-Radley achieves rather wide inclusivity. Hale starts of as a straight alpha male. Sabina is a proud lesbian. Eleksander seems to be emotionally trans but may also be gender-fluid. Avelynne is pansexual given that she is attracted to all the other three during the course of the book.   

Clearly this is the beginning of a series – a very interesting start.

PS: We hope that couples finally are Avelynne-Sabina and Hale-Eleksander. 

⭐⭐⭐☆★

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