"I believed creativity to be the expression of the person, who they were inside. Evil didn't create beauty like this. This was honest. I resisted, bu"I believed creativity to be the expression of the person, who they were inside. Evil didn't create beauty like this. This was honest. I resisted, but I couldn't deny. ~LULLABY
I'll admit it: The first time I heard about this book, it was because the cover had just been revealed and shown in a social media thread I was following. Then I saw that the cover art was from Charlie Bowater, who has done artwork for the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. THEN I read the summary. Sand maiden lore? For fans of Maas, Rachel E. Carter (Black Mage series), and Elise Kova (Air Awakens series)? Sold. 100% SOLD.
The debut doesn't disappoint, either, and I can see why it has been comped to all three of those series. I'd even throw some Hunger Games / Red Queen into the mix because of a competition that plays an important part in Ali's journey to acceptance in her new human form. LULLABY reads fast and introduces an intriguing new world that I'm eager to explore more of as the series continues.
Ali is a Sand Maiden--think about all you know of the Sand Man and the way he lulls you to sleep. Every human has their own personal Sand Maiden or Sand Man. For Ali, it is Crown Prince Kovis Altairn. When she finds out that her father is trying to take over the human world by manipulating humans in their sleep, she gives up her immortality and magically crosses over into our world as a human. The only problem? She crosses over in the prince's bedroom. In the middle of the night. Covered in nothing but sand. The royal guard immediately takes her in for questioning, and nobody wants to believe her fanciful tales about being a Sand Maiden. But without her in his life, Kovis will never sleep again, and as the kingdom's most powerful sorcerer, that isn't an option, especially with war on the horizon...
LULLABY is very much about Ali's journey as she learns more about being human and the strange new powers she possesses. As a human, she has magical powers and is on her way to becoming a sorceress, but only if she can learn to control them. I also liked the use of colors and the way they came to represent the different elements of magic. There are even color-shifting tattoos that can tell you a lot about a person's mood!
Ali is helplessly in love with Kovis, whom she has watched over his entire life as his Sand Maiden, but he barely trusts her, which messes with his psyche. Kovis, on the other hand, is understandably wary, since Ali is a stranger to him and he must protect the throne. I liked that his sister, Empress Rasa, was the reigning monarch and that both brothers had important roles in the kingdom. It was nice to see an eldest daughter on the throne and not passed over for her brothers, Kovis and Kennan. I really appreciated this element, even though Rasa definitely made life harder for Ali in a lot of ways. It will be interesting to see how she develops in future books. It will also be interesting to see how Kennan develops and where his storyline takes us. I'm hoping there won't be too much drama in that department, but we'll see! He'll definitely have a big role to play in the next book with how things shake out at the book's end.
And speaking of the end! The cliffhanger thankfully isn't deadly, so you'll be able to pick yourself up off the ground after reading LULLABY. But a LOT of stuff happens at the end and the characters aren't in the best place...at least in some ways! So it definitely will leave you wanting more and to see how everything resolves itself and what new complications are thrown in coming up. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel and reuniting with this cast of characters!...more