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The Vow That Twisted Fate

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A world without evil is all Queen Arlena has ever known. But when an ominous pentagram appears in the sky, her innocent days of blissful court life, playing politics with other races, and daydreaming of marrying the stoic elven prince Talen come to an abrupt end.

When an eerily familiar phantasm warns her of the imminent collision of a parallel world ruled by an ancient sorceress, Arlena must confront the true nature of not only her own world, but her very existence.

Calling a company of legendary dwarven warriors forward into her time, Arlena and her allies must brave a world they are completely unprepared for in order to save their own. Will the naïve Queen and her companions be able to stop the invasion without being forever changed in the process?

352 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 9, 2021

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About the author

Katherine D. Graham

18 books559 followers
My name is Katherine D. Graham, and I am a USA Today Bestselling fantasy author, developmental editor, and Reedsy Reviewer.

My debut indie Epic Fantasy novel, The Vow That Twisted Fate, is an Amazon bestselling New Adult Fantasy and Occult Fiction novel, a Fantasy finalist in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and a five-star IndieReader-approved novel.

In October 2022, the first full-length volume in my Splitting Worlds series (Splitting Dawn) was included in the "Realm of Darkness" box set, which made the USAToday Bestseller list.

Looking around my Goodreads, you may see a couple of older books that I wrote back in college which are now unpublished. I leave those books here and continue under this pen name purposefully.

Even as I now write 4/5-star books, these older books remind me of where I started. I hope my journey encourages others that everyone has the potential to grow if you just keep trying.

As a reviewer, all of my reviews are spoiler-free and honest. They are based on the Reedsy rating scale, which is:

1-Star: Skip It
2-Star: Not For Me
3-Star: Worth Reading
4-Star Loved It
5-Star: Must-Read

I am happily married to my high-school sweetheart and Hero. We have two awesome sons and three adorable fur-daughters.

I love reading, writing, swimming, traveling, grilling out, and playing video games. Japan is my happy place.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,663 reviews6,661 followers
January 28, 2022
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

A very good book. A great debut novel. Great descriptions of the world and good characters, also good character development. All the characters have their own strengths, weaknesses and flaws.

Can evil be removed from the world completely? What do you do when it comes back? How do you prepare for such a thing when you have never experienced it in the first place?

I the there are great ideas in this book about different races living and mixing together. Good use of magic, I would have like to see more of the science part, but I do understand it did not fit the story.

I would love to read the next book, either a continuation of this story, a spin off or a completely new story.
Profile Image for Gee.
324 reviews38 followers
May 30, 2021
"Believe in yourself, the way I believe in you."

(Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of "The Vow That Twisted Fate" from the author, in exchange for an honest review, as a part of her street team. Thanks, Katherine!)

Queen Arlena the Fair has only ever known peace, the war between the Dark Sorceress Maedra and Valera the White Queen a tale more than five centuries old. All she wants is to help her people thrive, and maybe someday marry her elven Sworn protector, lord Talen; until a dark pentagram appears in the sky, and Queen Valera’s ghost starts haunting Arlena’s dreams. With the help of legendary dwarven warriors from another time, Arlena will have to stop Maedra’s thirst for the peaceful world Arlena loves without losing herself in the process.

"Always think from the perspective of the person you're trying to convince. If you understand them, and speak in that understanding, they will come to respect you."

Why, just WHY did I take so long to read this beautiful tale! This may be one of the best epic fantasy books I’ve read in my life. I already knew Katherine’s skill with the quill after devouring her novella ‘Splitting Dusk’, but this… This was something else entirely. Arlena is, for me, a heroine that could rival Eragon or Arya Stark in the podium of Best Epic Fantasy MCs. Without spoiling anything, I’ll assure you that she’s such a mindblowing young woman. At first she comes across as passive and rather bland, but once she snaps out of it… Oh, dearest Lord! What an absolutely impressive lady she becomes! Just talking about her makes me swoon. I adore FMCs who are strong in their kindness and love, and the person Arlena becomes is the embodiment of a perfect FMC for me.

"Fear will not conquer darkness."

Other characters also made me sooooo happy! Say… Maevric. Ohmigosh. MAEVRIC. Right from the start, I felt sympathy towards him, the grumpy Dwarven warrior leading the Company that is to help Arlena defeat Maedra. But as the story progressed, it wasn’t just sympathy--I fell in absolute love with him, for so many reasons, and for no reason at all as well. As Valera herself says at some point, “As far as love, who can (...) really pinpoint an exact cause of that?”. Just trust me on this: Maevric is a character you definitely want to meet.

"Live through this."

And that’s TVtTF’s greatest strength: Arlena and Maevric aren’t the only ones you’ll grow really fond of. Every character is well-built, complex, three-dimensional, and important in their own way. From Gerard the advisor to King Thaylin, from Princess Elzie to Maedra, all of them are their own personas. Building such an extense cast of characters and giving each of them their own story, motivations, virtues, and flaws, yet Katherine makes it look as easy as ABC. She’s a master of development arcs, too, and I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say Arlena’s is one of the best ones I’ve ever seen in fiction. Once she reaches her, as my friend Esme Carmichael put it, “lightbulb moment”, you won’t be able to help falling in love with the young Queen.

"I swear to you (...) that death shall take us both, or life shall bless us both."

The ending was absolutely perfect. Not quite open, but not closed, either; simply a gateway to infinite adventures that Arlena will, surely, go on to live. I wish I could be there to witness them all, for this young woman has truly stolen my heart! Although the future ahead of the characters is open as can be, the book’s main plot is tied up nicely, and in such an expert way. There were several twists I absolutely did NOT see coming, and more than once my dog got scared at all my gasping and “WAIT, WHAT”ing as I read. After surpassing the 50% mark, it’s physically impossible to stop reading. Besides, Katherine’s gentle prose makes it all too easy to get mesmerized with this story! I suspect she could make her grocery lists into prose, and I would be as enthralled (if not even more, because, uh, broccoli and potatoes? NOW we’re talking)

"If standing for you brands me eternally as evil, I will follow you into the darkness."

If you enjoy “The Lord Of The Rings”, then you definitely need to read this. It has some Fellowship Of The Rings vibes that will 130% make you fall in love with the story, but introduces several twists and turns in the Chosen One trope, as well as an entirely different and original world. Katherine has built an incredibly rich story, full of colourful details, in which you’ll get lost without realising so as the pages fly by. I would’ve liked to learn more about all the races, stories, and legends in this world, as worldbuilding is one of my favourite things about fantasy, but hopefully Katherine will someday grace us with a novella or a short story! In the meanwhile, I’m more than happy to imagine my own versions of the stories behind what we see through Arlena’s eyes.

“The Vow That Twisted Fate” will be released on July the 9th. Don’t let another day go by without pre-ordering your copy of this incredible book!

(CWs/Loss of a loved one, Physical violence, War)
Profile Image for CaitlinJoyful.
132 reviews
March 27, 2023
Wow. Just wow.
This book was brilliant.
I was so lucky to be asked by Katherine herself if I wanted to be apart of her street team. I said yes, I got an Arc of this book and I’m so glad I said yes. It’s introduced me to such an amazing book. I absolutely loved this story.

There were plot twists, an amazing story a great love, and an insane ending.
The characters are so believable, from Arlena to Valera to Elzie to Maedra they are so wonderful and being this book to life.
The challenges that Arlena has to endure in this book are both heartbreaking and emotional and it brings a depth to this book that many books miss.
All in all I adored this read. It was simply stunning and I could read it again in a heartbeat.

Katherine deserves a round of applause for writing an insanely incredible book.
Please please please. Order this book.
Profile Image for Esmay Rosalyne.
875 reviews
July 13, 2023
Read as part of Team Fantasy Book Critic for SPFBO9

3.5 stars (rounded up)

The Vow That Twisted Fate is an imaginative and intriguing mix of epic fantasy, portal fantasy and sci-fantasy, with court intrigue, alternate dimensions, time travel, dystopian elements and a dash of romance mixed in. And I realise that might sound like a lot, but trust me when I say that Katherine D. Graham somehow makes it work!

This is the story of the young queen Arlena, who rules over a world where evil hasn’t existed for 500 years. However, that peace is threatened to be disturbed when an ominous pentagram suddenly appears in the sky and Arlena starts to be haunted by White Queen Valera’s ghost. It’s up to Arlena to save her world from spiralling into eternal darkness, all while trying to make sure she doesn’t lose herself in the process.

Now, you might get a simple good vs. evil vibe from this premise, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the author has given a very unique spin on that familiar trope here. It’s hard to go into details without spoilers, so all I will say is that I was very impressed and happy with how complex and nuanced this story turned out to be.
Graham cleverly plays around with concepts of time, identity and alternate dimensions, which gave this story that page-turning suspense and intrigue that I always love. And don’t even get me started on this villain, she was so complex and might even have been my favourite character in the entire book!

However, I do personally feel like this story was maybe a bit too big and ambitious for the amount of pages that this book is. The set-up and premise of this story are so amazing, but the overall execution left me a bit wanting in the end.
The first 30% of this book is quite action-packed, yet at the same time there is also very little character development and plot progression. Which is why when things did eventually kick into gear, all the crazy twists and reveals didn’t land for me because of the lack of investment at that point. The big showdown also doesn’t happen until the very final chapter, which made it feel rather rushed and almost anti-climactic to me.

I think it all comes down to the fact that I just wanted a bit more of everything; more time to get invested in the characters, more development of the side characters, more time to explore this fascinating world/universe, and maybe even more perspectives (especially from the villain’s side) to just experience and admire this world and story in all its glory.
Now, I have seen that the author is releasing an updated/extended second edition of this book soon, so I am definitely going to keep my eyes out for that because I think that might just give me exactly what I wanted from this story.

And all that said, I think there was still a lot to love about this book and I honestly had a fun time reading it. First person present tense isn’t usually my jam, but Graham made it work so well here. The writing is immersive yet approachable, which gave this story that bingeable quality that kept me hooked the entire way through.
Themes of family, friendship, loyalty and sacrifice are also beautifully explored here, which made this story a lot more layered and impactful than I was anticipating.
And even though I usually couldn’t care less about romance subplots in my fantasy, I think this relationship was executed magnificently. This is absolutely not a fantasy romance, but love (in all its forms) is an important theme here and I was totally on-board for all the complex and passionate dynamics between all these characters.

So, while I did have some nitpicks with this book, there’s simply no denying that Graham has masterfully crafted a unique and exciting fantasy story. Dwarves, elves, djinn, centaurs and all other sorts of familiar fantasy creatures are incorporated into the story in fresh ways and familiar tropes are cleverly turned on their heads, which makes this a perfect book for both fantasy veterans and complete newbies to the genre.
If you like the sound of a fast-paced epic fantasy that plays around with concepts of good vs. evil, time travel, and alternate dimensions, then you can’t go wrong with The Vow That Twisted Fate!
Profile Image for Esme Carmichael.
Author 9 books56 followers
February 27, 2021

Arla’s life in her perfect, sheltered world comes crashing down when a portal to another, darker dimension opens, threatening everything she’s ever known. Full of magic, love and redemption, this is an original, beautiful story full of twists, turns and revelations.

So, full disclosure, I didn’t think much of Arla when I first met her. She seemed a little too timid for the type of protagonists I usually gravitate towards.

But then I read the lightbulb moment of the story and: MIND BLOWN. Entirely. Completely. Everything instantly fell into place, including Arla herself. What follows is a glorious character arc, and not just of Arla, but the people closest to her too. These lightbulbs moments continued right on through the last few pages and as everything fit perfectly together, I was left speechless. I even shed a tear at the end.

World building was concise but beautifully described, and I especially loved seeing the differences between Arla’s perfect world and the other, not-so-perfect one. The array of characters had distinct personalities, and it was so interesting to see how Arla’s perception of the characters, and their perception of her, changed as the story progressed.

I received a ARC copy in exchanged for a honest review, and safe to say, I loved it! Definitely recommend.

Profile Image for D.M. Sonntag.
Author 5 books44 followers
January 25, 2022
4.5 stars

This book hooked me from the prologue, lost me a little from the sappy sweet happiness, and hooked me back with the intrigue. I loved the concept, and as the story progressed, revealing the plot little by little, I kept going back and rereading that prologue until it all made sense. Graham does an excellent job depicting how history gets muddled through time and is written by the victors. She had me turning page after page in desperation to know what was the truth.

I had a hard time connecting with the main character, though once a certain plot point progressed, I completely understood why that was. There were just a few aspects that kept me from giving full stars, like bolded text and still some confusion even after everything was revealed. I also found it strange when Arla was unconscious or paralyzed but could hear things going on around her.

That being said, I still could not stop reading after two-thirds of the way through the novel! I loved the twist that the book was so aptly named for, and the character development from a broken and naive queen to a strong and whole sovereign.
Profile Image for Demi.
232 reviews25 followers
April 29, 2021
Words cannot describe how I felt about this book. I am in awe of this, and utterly speechless.
From the first page, this book captured me, and drew me in. From Arlena’s character and pure heat, to her family dynamic, and Talen, and then Maevric. It all worked together beautifully to form this amazing, brilliantly written masterpiece.
I felt the rollercoaster of emotions with Arlena’s character, and I felt her heartbreak so deeply, I felt myself crying with her.
Never has a book captivated me so much. Never have a felt such a strong connect to the characters before me.

I honestly would recommend to anyone and everyone!
Profile Image for C.K..
Author 6 books55 followers
April 10, 2021
I absolutely loved the premise of this story and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a female-lead fantasy on the lighter side.

Our main character, Arlena was found as a child, an abandoned 5 year old girl, who was adopted into the royal family and raised as their first born, though the Queen and her Throne-Keep had a natural born daughter. As she grew, it became clear that she looked amazingly like a 500 years past queen, Valera. It is the mystery surrounding this moment that unfolds as Arlena is confronted with the same Dark Queen Valera had fought those 500 years ago. All three are tied together in the most damning way, and it is up to pure-hearted Arlena to decide what happens to them all.

I did not put this book down for any length of time, willingly. I needed to have the answers! The trouble came in part because of the first person, present tense view point. It worked well for this story, true, yet it narrowed the scope so I, as the reader, was left wanting to know more than Arlena knew about the side characters, particularly Talen and Elzie. Also, the moment the Queen presents Arlena to her husband, she whispers something to him that makes him agree to the adoption and I really want to know what that is! All of these are small things that don't detract from the over-all story, but actually leave me itching for more, even though, as far as I know, this is a standalone novel. Maybe we can hope for some companion pieces?
Profile Image for Justin Bowen.
3 reviews
February 14, 2021
An imaginative take on epic court fantasy. I was intrigued by the concept of a perfect world that the main character Arlena has lived in her whole life. A sheltered, happy existence threatened by an unknown force. I don't normally read court fantasy, but this one won me over with the dramatic character development centered around Arlena and the collision course she has with a world opposite her own. The other characters around her challenge her rosy view of the world. The world building is well done and I found myself wanting to know more about the various races like dwarves, moon keepers, elves, djinn, fawns, centaurs, dragons...etc, as well as the fascinating history leading up to the dualistic universe the world exists in. If I had a critique, I would like to see more development around some of the side characters, and to explore more of the rich world the story takes place in. But the ending of this story will blow you away as it did me, and I was left feeling amazing by the writer's unexpected direction she takes it in the end! Very well done, well edited and a fun, fanciful read that will leave you feeling inspired and thrilled by the outcome.
Profile Image for Darrah.
Author 3 books27 followers
February 28, 2021
This book is a masterpiece.

The author did an amazing job telling an interesting story that leaves you guessing. I loved watching how the characters changed and evolved over the course of the story. I also liked watching how the main characters perception of those around her changed.

Go read this book!
Profile Image for Ashwini Sane.
Author 5 books2 followers
April 27, 2021
Truly enjoyed reading this most elegantly written first person narrative story. I am not a fan of the first person but the fluidity of language and dialogue won me over. Katherine D. Graham writes on the scale of epic proportions and gives a good twist to the concept of space, dimension and time , good and evil and even perhaps reincarnation and makes this story interesting. The Queen comes of as very vulnerable yet strong and hence she becomes relatable to all of us. We all sometimes need to deal with our weaknesses and surface our untapped potential for the greater good. The pace of the story is slow at first but picks up steadily. The torture scene brought goosebumps on my skin. A lot of interesting characters/beings take part in this world, maybe a tad too many but perhaps necessary because of the scale of the story. The Celtic mystical, Medieval fantasy fae world is not overdone, which is a relief. I do recommend this story to be read for its magnificent first person narrative and rich language, and /or even as a study of how to write one if you are an upcoming author.
Profile Image for C.A. Bleu.
Author 3 books11 followers
March 12, 2021
Wow!! What an amazing book! I’m so grateful to have been able to read an advanced copy of this book! Get ready to be taken on a journey both visually and emotionally! I am in love with the characters, the sights and smells of their world!! This is a must read!!
Profile Image for Jennie.
183 reviews10 followers
July 25, 2021
I was instantly taken by both the characters and the world of this gorgeous book. The beginning sets up the themes in an engaging way that drew me right into the world of Arla and her family. Arla is a queen, but as we see in the first few chapters, her role as queen is a true steward of her people. Family is important to her, and she values the support of her father and energetic little sister Elzie (I’m a huge Elzie fan, by the way!)

Arla struggles at first when disaster strikes and other magical beings come to join forces to face the threat on their world. I loved how real Arla’s insecurities were as a young girl alongside these long lived magical races. Arla’s growth as a character is somewhat different than your average person (and I won’t elaborate on that, spoilers!) but her arc was still so powerful and meaningful, hitting me at the very end of the book with all the feels.

My only complaint is I wanted more of the ROMANCE! Seriously, the love story in The Vow That Twisted Fate was so epic and beautiful. There’s not a lot I can say about it without spoilers, other than I’m totally in love with Arla’s true love and I wish I had gotten a more in depth experience in regards to their feelings for each other. This book could have easily added 200 extra pages devoted to the romantic subplot and I would not have complained (though I’m sure others would...!)

The Vow That Twisted Fate is a wonderful fantasy novel that explores the nature of good and evil in a confusing world. This book reminded me why I read, why I write, and why stories are so important. It provided me with more than just an engaging, adventurous escape read. It gave me a moment of clarity, a reminder of what’s important and what’s not.

I’m so grateful to have received this book as an ARC. Thank you, Katherine, for sharing your gift and such a beautiful message to the world!
Profile Image for Dakotah Gumm.
Author 5 books20 followers
March 2, 2021
Holy crap.

I enjoyed this book from the first page, but that ending—holy crap.

I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

It's a beautiful story about the evil inherent in the world and what it means to be good. Unlike so many adult fantasies, it's clean, which may strike some people as "unrealistic". Those people would be wrong. The characters had excellent depth, and I loved reading about Arlena finding herself as she learned more about her loved ones and those around her.

Definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Karlein Kwong.
93 reviews6 followers
April 3, 2021
If you're after a book with fantastical creatures, parallel universes, magic, love, unexpected twists, and court intrigue, this is your read.

The story begins with Queen Arlena in her peaceful castle, but life changes when she discovers a portal to a darker world. Universes collide as Arlena learns about her ancestor, the White Queen, and ultimately her Vow, and her destiny.

I loved Arlena's character development and the pacing of the story.

Thank you to the author for sending me an ARC copy of "The Vow That Twisted Fate" in exchange for an honest review. I am so happy to be part of your street team.

Profile Image for Charlotte Murphy.
Author 7 books56 followers
July 24, 2021
An ambitious concept full of twists and turns set in alternative/parallel worlds that show what a world without evil could really be like.
Great worldbuilding and use of magic systems and races that were really well thought out with great word use and research into traditional fantasy set ups.
A slow beginning for me with a bit too much fantastical elements going on that at times i was a little confused, but overall a good read for traditional fantasy with complex characters.
Profile Image for Arlena.
138 reviews12 followers
Want to read
July 26, 2021
So clearly I need to read this because my name NEVER appears in anything and this was a totally random Goodreads pop up.
Profile Image for Sam Everard.
228 reviews12 followers
June 7, 2021
I absolutely loved this book.

As a standalone YA fantasy, it had everything a reader could want: a epic world with a careful balance of politics, a naive yet fierce young queen who always strives to do what's right, and a tangle of mixed feelings and slow burning that makes pages turn all the quicker. But added to all of that is an unfurling mystery of identity, of chosen paths and loyalties that makes this book one you simply can't put down.

I easily lost myself in Arla's quest to find the truth of her kingdom's failing peace. The choices that were littered throughout the story, and the way they were revealed to the reader, made for a compelling and emotional journey to the ultimate climax at its end.

I was thrilled to stumble upon an advanced copy of this book through a BookFunnel fantasy giveaway several months ago, and can't believe it took me so long to finally dive in.

I cannot recommend this book enough, and look forward to the author's next story.
Profile Image for Katrina N. Lewis.
Author 4 books42 followers
September 29, 2021
This one is truly for hard-core fantasy lovers out there. You'll love this! It was a great story with a ton of twists and turns in a magical setting that had everything from dragons and Dwarven princes to a portal! Won't give too many spoilers away but great job to the author! Loved the romantic elements in the story too :) i love romantic subplots and was so cheering for Arlena and Maevric. The story did take a little bit of extra concentration to figure out what was going on at times but it was an overall good read. The worldbuilding was intricate and the cast of characters were interesting. Readers just prepare for a fun fantastical ride with this one!
Profile Image for Jessica Cantwell.
Author 4 books32 followers
December 14, 2021
I met the author on Instagram and, once I saw the cover of this book, wanted to read it. I was curious about the audio version and decided to give it a try. The author and voice over artist put a lot of work into making an entertaining listen. It was a very pleasant experience and interesting story. I liked the concept (which I won’t share in an effort to avoid spoilers) and truly feel the author has enough of a foundation to expand on the story.
3 reviews1 follower
March 15, 2022
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this book on Goodreads yet! I love The Vow that Twisted Fate. I thought it was such a fun read. I liked the magic system and character development. I love how Katherine takes care and details small things like a ribbon in a girls hair. I can’t wait to read more of her books!
3 reviews
April 3, 2021
I received an advanced copy of this book and I have to say, I loved it. The world building in this book reminds me of Tolkien's writing in many ways. The world that Katherine creates is one that I wanted to live in, so when this world is threatened by an ominous pentagram in the sky, I was invested in saving it as much as the main character. I loved Arlena and her character arc. She starts out as innocent, sheltered perhaps even a little naive as she grows I watch her become a strong, confident and brave woman. Secondary characters are well written and beautifully thought out I came to love them as individuals and would read any book in which they appeared. The plot twist! I did not see that coming! The twist is suprising and yet when I look back at the story as a whole it makes perfect sense. To me this story had alot to do with Arlena not only coming to grips with the world around her, but also with herself. As a coming of age tale it is beautifully written and had me hooked from the first page. I would definitely recomend picking it up!
Profile Image for Ashley Reading Stewardess.
206 reviews34 followers
July 11, 2021
Epic fantasy can be hit or miss at times, thankfully, this was a major hit for me. I loved the storyline and following Arlene as she unraveled what truly happened in the past and what her connection to the White Queen truly is. This was my first book by this author, and it will not be my last. I’d especially be intrigued if the author decided to revisit these characters and this world at some point.
2 reviews
March 28, 2021
This book is incredible! A must read for urban fantasy lovers! The world building is great and the history of it intrigued me greatly. The plot is astonishingly driven!
Profile Image for Maggie Friedenberg.
Author 1 book8 followers
March 13, 2021
At first I was a little nervous about reading this book because fantasy isn’t my usual fare, but after winning a signed copy, I decided to give it a read. I’m glad I did! Great writing, a really interesting story, and a satisfying ending that gives the reader a lot to think about.
Profile Image for A. Lei.
10 reviews2 followers
May 9, 2021
The Vow That Twisted Fate really surprised me with how wonderful it is. The world building was phenomenal. Not once was I confused about anything in the history of the world or anything. It has solid world building and explanations. The characters were so much fun. All of her characters were well written and strong. The changes they experience, the emotions, I felt everything (I actually even cried at one part and felt my heart break in so many others). I was rooting for these characters, I was hurting for them, and felt nothing but happiness for them when they were happy.
This story threw twists and turns and plot twists I never saw coming. I don’t want to give anything away but WOW there was a lot that took me for a turn. I finished this in two days. The pacing was perfect, not once was I bored in the story and sitting there thinking “maybe I should skip/skim for something exciting to happen.”

Katherine has done such a wonderful job with her debut novel and I cant wait to see what else she may have in store for us. I am so sad this was a single book and I hope that one day she will give us more of her work to read because she has easily become a reread author for me just on this book alone.
Profile Image for Cristen Faulkenberry.
Author 4 books34 followers
January 1, 2022
I'm not going to rate this since I ended up not finishing the book. I made it halfway and, after significant reminders from others that it's okay to put aside a book I'm not enjoying, I have done so. I didn't vibe with the writing style or with the main character (Arlena).

Personally, I found the amount of internal dialogue lines to be excessive and it made me feel like I couldn't be trusted as a reader to recognize how the MC felt and thought despite it being written in first person. All of the internal dialogue took me too far out of the world.

Also, Arlena was way too passive and I kept wishing we were following a different character to tell the story. Perhaps there is some growth in the second half but based on my rifling through those pages, the constant internal dialogue lines continue.

As always, this doesn't mean the 4 & 5 star reviews are wrong... just means this book was right up their alley but wasn't right for my tastes.

What I wished was different:
-how internal dialogue was used
-what parts of conversations were included (some felt unnecessary to the overall plot as they were simple exchanges of niceties - I prefer when we enter a conversation late and exit it early)
-seeing character growth in the first half, both of the main character herself and her interactions with others

What I noticed was done well:
-there was obviously a lot of thought put into the worldbuilding and all of the different races. It's discussed how their cultures are different, the different languages are used, and even the changes over time of various sayings/gestures
-the magic system seems well thought out as well
2 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2023
You guysss!
I dare you to read this book and not like it. There’s about a 1% chance that will happen. Unless you’re the grinch, or just hate fantasy books, then maybe a 5% chance. If in the tiny off chance that you are distinctly unsatisfied and regret spending your time on such a good book, I will graciously refund you two hugs and a butter beer for your trouble. But hurry! The chance to say I-bought-her-book-before-she-was-famous is running out!

Beautiful, intricate, original world building and characters combined with a great plot and exploration of evil elevates this book above the average novel.
It releases July 9th! Add to your TBR WISHLIST NOW( I know, I know, it’s already a mile long but you know you can’t say no!!), Pre orders open now at www.katherinedgraham.com
and if you can’t get enough of her writing, check out her other works right there while you are at it!
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29 reviews
June 26, 2021
This is my first time being an ARC reviewer and it has been a lovely experience. I love the author's voice and style and I will be keeping my eye on future book releases.

Arlena's character arc is very well written.
The romance in this book is so wholesome and lovely.
The world-building details added realism to the character's lives and were a great touch.
Maevric and the dwarves ^_^.

Lack of description in secondary/side characters.
A lot of unanswered questions which is a shame for a standalone.
Unresolved conflict between characters which was smoothened out in a hurry near the end.
A weak magic system with too many loopholes and question marks lead to me being very disappointed by the ending of the book.
A weak antagonist.

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