“Circle The Moon and Cross The Tide,
Beyond The Waterfalls, Protectors Hide,
Leave The Last Secret At Their Door,
And They Will Defend You Evermore.”
Adelaide “Lotty” Anderson grew up surrounded by stories. Her grandfather turned the woods around their house into magical places, where protectors defended the castle and fought to protect the lost princess. Until one day, he disappeared.
Now, years after her family moved away, her grandmother dies. Her last request? That they return to the family farm. Suddenly, Lotty has to face the ghosts of her past. But strange things are happening in the woods. Mysterious vandals are terrorizing the area, and giant eagles seem to be hunting Lotty every time she leaves her home. Notes and old journals unlock clues, maybe indicating that there is more to her grandfathers disappearance than she realized.
Desperate to solve the mystery and get answers, Lotty turns to the farm hands hired by their long time family friend. Except, they seem to have their own secrets. Are the stories from her childhood really stories? Or do they hide a bigger truth? Lotty needs to learn how to trust, before time runs out.
“Stories don’t have to be real to mean something. Some of the best ones aren’t based in reality at all.”
When Myth Machine approached me to review, the book was described as Twilight meets Game Of Thrones. How could I possible say no to that?!
I’ll admit, I was expecting a bit more fantasy, just based on the description. So, for me the first half read a lot more like Twilight than Game of Thrones. Lotty is in High School, and she is drawn to the mysterious farm hand, who also attends her school. There’s a connection, but everyone warns her away from him. Sounds a lot like a certain book, right? Unlike Twilight, this book is far less angsty. Which is good. Also, there is definitely less sparkle. Which is also good.
Once I realized this is going to be more urban fantasy, I was able to relax into the story more. It also reads a bit like a mystery, where Lotty is piecing together the clues and trying to figure out what it all means. Turns out, we’re all trying to figure out the Secrets of Moldara together. Which I LOVED!
The other thing I loved, is that Earhart uses our assumptions based on other YA tropes to make us think things are going to be predictable. Then she throws a twist, and everything you think you figured out, you’re questioning again. This style doesn’t just make the reading interesting, it also helps us stay connected to Lotty. As she uncovers clues, she struggles to make sense of them, and they don’t always makes sense. As the reader, there are key pieces of information that we also don’t know. I was just as anxious as Lotty to get answers!
“But every sense I had still tingled. These guys were either the strangest foreign exchange students ever, or they were keeping some pretty big secrets.”
One of the things that I loved, but it also frustrated me, was Lotty’s reluctance to accept the strange things around her. I loved it, because so often in YA, we are introduced to the hero or heroine, and they’re supposed to be “normal” thrown into these crazy situations, and yet they handle it without hardly an eye twitch. Lotty feels much more real to me. She wavers, wanting to believe, but then also refusing to believe. And when I say I was frustrated, it’s the good kind. The kind where you want her to believe to avoid the disaster you see coming, but, you also know that there is truth to how she reacts. It feels very real, and I really enjoyed that.
This book is heavy on the romance side. It’s a forbidden romance, so there is A LOT of tension! Romance isn’t usually a big draw for me, and I’ll admit, it was a bit much for me. Until the end. I am not going to spoil things for you, but, holy gut punch! I totally understood why we needed to really experience the world through Lotty’s eyes. And why we needed the tension. And oh I’m so glad the next book comes out soon, because things escalated QUICKLY!!! My black heart smells a tragedy coming…
“Clearly things did not go the way he intended, but when certain truths cal alter a life, there’s only so much a person can plan for.”
The last quarter of the book is where Game of Thrones kicks in, and boy, is it brutal and intense and, just, wow. I suspect the second book is going to be incredibly fast paced compared to this one, and I am all about it. I do wish this first book had been a little faster paced, with less high school drama, and more action, but I get why the author unfolded the plot the way she did. There is more emotion this way, and I think that’s going to play an important role in the next book.
In all, I really enjoyed the characters and the story. The writing flows, drawing you in from the beginning, and builds at a steady pace. Honestly, I was on the fence until the end. This is a book that burns slowly only to explode, in all the best way, at the end. Everything about that ending simply blew me away.
Readers who enjoy romance, mystery, and urban fantasy will fall in love with this book. It is full of tension, and mystery, and capped with humor. Secrets of Moldara is available now, and can be purchased HERE.
Before I go, I want to encourage you to also check out Myth Machine. They are a really cool new publishing platform, immersing the reader into their fandoms in a way that sometimes doesn’t happen. I think it’s really creative and clever, and am so thankful they contacted me for this review opportunity!
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