PJV Quickie: A YA coming of age fantasy that is not as dense as High Fantasy but still fits the Epic bill.

Title: Cornerstone

Author: Kelly Walker

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Source: Author provided .mobi

Published: 2012

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: In a world comprised of three rival kingdoms as different from each other as the families that rule them, Emariya Warren is unique in being a daughter of not one but two of the ruling families.

Sixteen years ago, Emariya narrowly escaped dying on their cold estate floor beside her mother. Now, after learning her father has been captured, Emariya makes the desperate decision to follow in her mother’s ill-fated footsteps and journey to marry the prince of a rival land, Torian Ahlen. But when Emariya discovers the secrets of the three families and an ominous prophecy warning the three bloodlines must never be combined, she begins to fear the handsome prince waiting for her may desire more than to steal her heart.

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This book was awesome. The first half of the book was slow-moving as  Ms. Walker establishes her characters and plot and then she flips it straight into epic-dom. Not a word. I know it’s not a word, but it fits the last half of this book. I am actually kind of struggling trying to write this review. It’s part speechlessness and part we’ll talk about that part…no, spoiler. Well then this part…no, spoiler. What I can tell you is that there is a huge twist in this book and I did not see it coming.

 

The book opens with the death of Riya’s mother. (I’m not even going to try to spell her full name. I will murder it.) While the whole scene is vague it leads the reader to believe that something fishy and perhaps a bit supernatural is going on. In chapter one we are in “present” time and ready to begin on Riya’s journey. We discover that her father has been missing for some time and eventually we learn that he has been kidnapped by the rival land. (At least that is what everyone assumes. When you find out who really takes him….grrr.) The story continues from there. Her brother is the leader of their council. While, Riya does not  have an actual seat on the council, she feels responsible for her people and will do anything to ensure that they do not go to war against Sheas. Even if it means marrying the neighboring lands future king…who she soon suspects has ulterior and not too awesome reasons for seeking the marriage

The characters are richly detailed. I can picture them easily in my head. The same for the landscape and world the story is in.  Ms. Walker brings both to the forefront without unintentionally overwhelming the reader with its grand scale (think George RR Martin’s overlong descriptions of rugs and food).  I was a bit confused over the actual time period that this novel takes place within. I spent a large amount of time picturing an Arthurian time, only to have Riya get shot at with guns. I realize this is a fantasy book, I can’t help but relate books to our history. This is my one and only critique of the book. Which as you can tell, is my own addle brain not being able to completely embrace pure fantasy.

Prince Torain is darkly handsome, and strangely compelling to both Riya and the reader. Did I mention Alpha Male material? No. Well, he comes very close. I feel in the next book he will come into his Alpha Maleness.  Riya doesn’t trust him most of the time but that doesn’t stop her attraction to him. Once Riya is on her journey the movement of the plot picks up and I found myself unable to leave my kindle for more than five minutes at a time. Once we meet Torain, I was completely unable to even put it down. He enriches the story in a variety of ways. Firstly, we are trying to figure out his motives. Once we are reasonably sure why he wants Riya so badly, we are trying to figure out if she is drawn to him for him, or because of supernatural reasons. There is a huge plot point that I assumed to be true. It left me scratching my head and saying to myself; “No, it can’t be” time and time again as we get to know Torain and his sister Torin. Did I mention he is tall, with dark brown hair and gray eyes. Yum. I love the contrast of dark features with light eyes. Riya feels the same.

She turned to him in surprise, about to scold him, but he looked so sincere that she merely blushed. She had to get away from this man. He was much like the waterfall before her. Dangerous, yet captivating.

I strongly recommend this book to YA readers who are looking to be lost in another time and place. Like I was. While it doesn’t have the steamy scenes that an adult book does there are a few moments of passion that lead me to believe that the next book will blow-me-away!

My first five star review on Parajunkee is complete. I think I must treat myself to a Mountain Dew now.

If you like epic coming of age tales I suggest you read Tamara Rose Blodgett’s Pearl Savage and the following books to tide you over while you are waiting for book #2. Seriously, when is book 2 coming out? Must go stalk….

P.S. I loved this book so much I want a signed paperback copy to add to my signed library. Kelly Walker be warned stalking to commence in t-minus….well now. 😀

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