High-intensity YA fantasy ablaze with magic, conflict and high-stakes hazards. This fiercely-paced fantasy novel centres around fifteen-year-old Phae, whose father is an all-powerful mage, and whose mother is of the Lintari, a band of warrior earth guardians. As such, Phae’s blood had “the potential to make her one of the most powerful beings the old world had ever known”, a fact that sits somewhat uncomfortably with her. She feels “anger at herself, anger at her parents; anger at her mother for not being there; anger at her life. Why couldn’t she just be normal?” Except she isn’t normal, and when her tutor meets an untimely death, Phae feels compelled to leave the Magical Isle to seek safety on the mainland, where much danger and conflict awaits. Throughout, the intensity of Phae’s story journey never lets up and perhaps the impact of some key scenes would benefit from more ebb and flow between the relentlessly high-octane action. Overall, though, this is a gripping read, driven by snappy dialogue and a sense of adventure.
The Darkest Hour by M.J. Ryder is a heroic fantasy novel for young adults featuring magic, adventure and a strong female protagonist. It also has strong themes of love and friendship, and explores the moving tale of one fathers quest to find his little girl.The novel follows the story of Phae, a young mage with extraordinary gifts. Phae is a girl unlike any other. Her father is the most powerful mage in the realm, and her mother is a member of the Lintari a small, secretive band of warriors bound to the earth as its sworn guardians. With such powerful blood inside her, growing up was never going to be easy.But when her powers bring about catastrophe and the death of her tutor, Phae finally decides she's had enough. With her unstable magic threatening to bring about even more danger to those she loves, Phae flees her home on the Magical Isle to seek sanctuary on the mainland. Only there does she realise her problems have barely just begun