Ahoy there me mateys! So a recent theme for “Top Ten Tuesday” was “Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.” I don’t tend to do memes here in me log but I love readin’ the posts by me crew. Especially when they be fun topics which lead me to unexpected treasures. One such gem was this delightful book recommended by Breanna @ paws&paperbacks. In her post she says:
I hadn’t read this yet when I wrote my post on the least hyped books that released last year, but I’m glad I included it because I can now say after reading this, that it deserves so much more recognition than what it gets. This was an excellently executed fantasy: the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, a hint of romance, great writing, and dynamic characters. I’m so excited to read the companion novel set to release later this year!
The premise is that the two child princes of St. John del Mar were kidnapped 18 years ago. Several adults also disappeared with no trace. One of them was the Royal Navigator. Elias, the Royal Navigator’s son, has followed in his missing father’s footsteps. He is set to go on his next grand adventure when a map turns up. This map is in his father’s hand and appears to hold the answers to the missing princes. Elias has to solve the riddle for the kingdom and his own satisfaction. This novel only has 857 ratings on Goodreads. I am happy to be adding one more. Seriously this book was excellent fun for the following reasons:
- Maps! I absolutely loved the culture of exploration and the sea. I loved how important maps are to the society. Plus the main map in this tale be part of a mystery. Arrr!
- The main character – I really enjoyed Elias. He be smart, conscientious, and interesting. Getting both his world-view and his reactions to the unfolding mystery were wonderful.
- The other characters – I particularly liked the king, his cousin, young Reyna, and the Brother. I thought it was wonderful that people made mistakes, didn’t always act as expected, and reacted realistically to the occurring events.
- The tone – This book is marketed as a young adult but doesn’t feel like one. Not that I dislike YA but the author didn’t tone down the story. For example, Elias is 19 and is considered an adult. He acts like one. I think older readers can find plenty to love about this book.
- The plot – While I did guess the bad guy and thought his justifications were rather lame, I did respect how the author did not take the story on a predictable path in terms of resolution. There were plenty of plot twists that I did not see coming and yet they were logical in retrospect. I thought it had a super strong ending in particular.
- The romance – I actually liked the romance in this. It was based in friendship and mutual admiration. Watching it unfold was sweet. No real angst was involved so that be a breath of fresh air.
I will certainly be reading the companion novel when it comes out later this year! Now Matey Breanna’s list included lots of other cool sounding books besides this one so make sure ye check them out!. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.
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