MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
12/50 – 2022 Goodreads Challenge
Book 5 of #FebruarySheWrote
From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil. What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a decision that will determine the fate of everyone he loves—and impact the lives of every person in Shine Territory.
The daughter of an infamous saboteur and outlaw, Cassandra has her own dangerous secrets to protect. When the lives of those she loves are threatened, she realizes that she is uniquely placed to change the balance of power in Shine Territory once and for all. Secrets breed more secrets. Somehow, Arlen and Cassandra must find their own truths in the middle of a garden of lies.
📖 Kindle, no audio 🔇
The fantastic Sarah Chorn, not only is an editor for several Indie authors and now for GrimDark magazine, but also writes fantastic books as well! This western fantasy is superb! Sarah’s prose is just amazing, I mean absolutely flawless! I have like 20 quotes that I saved… and 10 were from the first 20% of the book. I had to stop writing them down lol. And they are all so good, they flow like lyrics of a song. You could say that Sarah is a lyrical prose assassin!
“My sorrow was a dark, secret thing, a stray cat hidden in the coldest corner of my soul. I fed her scraps. I watched her grow.
Sometimes it is the wounds we do not see that leave the deepest scars.”
The story was just phenomenal and very emotional, it was story of family and friends, of love and loss, of sacrifice and redemption. There were parts at the end that were hard for me to read for personal reasons, but I powered through that toughness, because Sarah’s writing was so eloquent and soothing, it helped me read it. It will definitely grab you by the heart strings and try to tug you. Sarah’s words were chosen perfectly as you can feel the devastation in them.
“The road I walk on is paved with bones. I’ve got no problem adding a few more to my tally. Now, get moving.”
The characters were so easy to connect with, both Arlen and Cassandra were amazing in completely different ways. One grew up rich without family and the other poor with family. Both heading down roads that would forever change their lives. I am 100% going to be finishing the rest of this series and reading more from this author. I couldn’t choose which quotes to use, so I just left a few more below to be amazed at and understand why I say that Sarah Chorn is a lyrical prose assassin.
“This was love, this burning. It was not as sweet as honey; rather, it was a wild thing. A tempest. A raging forest fire. It was hungry, and it demanded. For what would a father not do for his child?”
“Legacy was such an odd word, full of long, stretching vowels and even longer consonants. It filled his mouth up like wine, heady and intoxicating, demanded to be savored”
“A body can only live so long with a wounded heart and a bleeding soul.”
“The soul is such a fickle thing. Easy to bruise. Easy to wound. No wonder why we protect ourselves with this careful camouflage. All of these meticulously cultivated aspects of ourselves we drag with us through the years. Our costumes are heavy, of course our spines are bent.”
“I learned something that day. There are different forms of grace. I was not graceful like a dancer. I was graceful like a mountain lion, newly formed and full of teeth.”