Title: The Shattered Court (The four arts #1)
Author: M.J Scott
Publisher:Penguin Group Berkley /Signet Romance, DAW /Roc
Publish Date: April 28, 2015
Type: Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Rating: High Adult
Pages:336 Avid Reader Time:2.05 hours Rating:
**Warning: Contains heavy graphic sex, and violence**
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.…
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This an ‘arc” copy eBook supplied by Netgalley. I am not receiving any monetary benefit or any kickback for this review. I received this arc for an honest review. This review is cross-posted on Amazon, Goodreads and given directly to the publisher.
I’m in the middle of the road on this one. There were many things that I enjoyed and some parts of the book that I just didn’t care for or believe was relevant to the story. First off, the cover is favorite pretty. I think it fit nicely with the book and does its story good.
M.J Scott weaves words in a sinuous manner and gives great detail. But although there is lots of detail, there were at times where it had too much. Somethings had multiple paragraphs to describe it that could have pared down and not detracted from the book. I feel like it got bogged down and slowed during some of the scenes because of that. It took me longer to read this story, because I would lose interest halfway through beginning. Once you get to the middle, you can push through. It was good, just not epic. The slow bottom up world building was refreshing and interesting. The characters were detailed and seemed to be relatable. Sophia was at first a naïve bumpkin, but slowly developed into a more rounded character by the end. I wanted to ring her little neck on more occasion then I shall count. Cameron, our stoic romantic interest was the Rogue hero type. My main issue with him is how he switched romantic interest very quickly and somehow lost all interest in previous lover after wandering in the woods with Sophia. It was a bit off putting and scored low points on his character.
But he is not the only character to switch personalities. Queen Eloisa did a 180 from benevolent feisty heir to the throne to a 2 dimensional jealous villain in the story. Granted she had reason to be upset with the two main characters, but she more villainy then she needed to be. Hard to believe she would make a good queen if she is so petty and vindictive over a break up from a man that she wasn’t going to stay with.
There was a lot of graphic sex scenes written with enough detail to be considered mature rating. It’s listed as YA fantasy but I would classify it as Adult fantasy. But I was reading mature rating by the time I was 13, so it depends on your ideals. This is based on my own rating system, so it’s definitely falling into the category of High Adult. The main reason is the sex. Which don’t get me wrong I love books with sex scenes and highly graphic content. But the system is in place for my followers. There is a scene of magic induced ‘Can’t help myself’ sex. I’m not a fan of these type of scenes. I would’ve been dissuaded from giving a high rating except the characters did actually regret the uncontrolled moment. Even if they did not regret the act in itself. Well, Cameron did. Sophia was more like ‘yay, sex’.
This brings me to why the low rating. This book contains the theme of females as nothing more than property. If you have magic and its high in quality, then you king/queen gives you to whoever as a gift. Normally lords or those he/she wants to honor. No character thinks to change this. Even our feisty Sophia does nothing to protest this. Her only though is that she is happy that he is no much older than her and handsome. These ladies are high in magical talent and they just allow themselves to be forced into marriage and have their magic bound.
Overall, its 313 pages of sex, magic, and drama. But it’s a fascinating read and contained nicely written scenes. Props to the author for not using ridiculous names for male and female genitals. I give this 3 out of 5 stars.