(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Penguin on April 28th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General
First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…
The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott is the first book in The Novel of the Four Arts series and I came across this one by accident. When I read the summary I was immediately interested – There’s magic, danger, portals, and royal intrigue…I was excited to start this one.
Lady Sophia is thirty second in line to the throne and a lady in waiting to Princess Eloise. Sophia’s twenty first birthday (her Ais-Seann) is near which means she is close to finding out if she will have any magic. If she does, she will be married off to someone influential who can help the king and if she doesn’t have power, she will still be married off – just not as quickly and probably to someone less influential. Either way, she isn’t entirely sure what will make her happier.
On the day that the princess asks her royal guard, Cameron Mackenzie to take Sophie to Portholme to pick up some supplies and it also happens to be the day that the castle is attacked and a number of the members of court, including the royal family, are killed. Once the attack happens, Cameron makes the decision that they can’t go back right away and leads Sophie to a portal to get her to a safe place. The timing couldn’t really be worse for this, as they get closer to Sophie’s birthday, they run the risk of not following tradition of having her magic bound immediately and they aren’t really sure what will happen.
As Sophie’s birthday appears, they both realize that she definitely has some magic and something happens that puts them both in a bad position. When they feel it is safe to go back to the castle and things don’t necessarily go as planned with Sophie’s binding, assumptions are made by the Princess and Domina Skey as to what happened and their solution is to keep things quiet and force Sophie and Cameron to marry.
I should mention here, there are a number of reasons why this is a tough situation. First, Cameron had a “thing” with Eloise and she is definitely not happy about the fact that they are now to be married. Second, Domina (Eloise’s advisor and in charge of the temple) is worried about the impact of not binding Sophie’s magic and she doesn’t really have Sophie’s best interests at heart.
The relationship between Cameron and Sophie moved quickly and even though they weren’t initially drawn to each other, as the magic drew them together and escalated their first encounter, it also helped them realize there was more to the other than they originally thought. As that was happening, we learned more about who Eloise would really be…both as a friend to Sophie and as a Queen. All I have to say is that she was not my favorite person.
As the story progresses, it is clear that the competition for power and the danger that Sophie posed for the throne because of the strength of her magic, was something that couldn’t be tolerated and this led to a time when both Cameron and Sophie have to make a decision that would impact their future – as members of the royal family, a married couple, a witch, and a Lieutenant in the Red Guard.
I thought Scott did a wonderful job of building out this world and the characters. Admittedly I am glossing over a lot of the details because I don’t want to ruin any of the mystery behind what is really going on here. I loved how Scott intertwined magic with the religion and then created a larger story out of it. If you are looking for a great story that has plenty of action, some swoony parts, magic, and intrigue, definitely check this story out when you can. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series to see what happens next!
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy.