Title: The Sun's Rival
Author: Danielle E. Shipley
Number of Pages: e-book
Rating: Can I give this a 10/5?
Released: December 2, 2014
Next to the uncommon beauty of her sisters, Princess Laraspur feels invisible, until she learns the two most powerful kings in the world have their eyes fixed upon her. But the ensuing double-courtship goes horribly awry, requiring Laraspur to brave the secret perils of earth, sea, and sky, on a quest that will try the very essence of her being.
Right, then. That would be my author (Flame Writer) running around talking in tongues about this book. So, this is Ashley Vaandere talking, gonna try to scramble up a review from some of the notes she's got, while she continues to do her thing over there.
Character exploration: Phenomenal. Not a page goes by without a hint toward some development.
Plot progression: Wondrous. It never moves too fast or too slow and keeps the reader hanging on for more.
Plot twists: Scream-worthy. There aren't very many twists, but the ones that exist are scream-worthy.
Flame Writer says, "One of the early seeming 'plot twists' isn't much of a twist, but I don't think it was meant to be. Given the title of the book, the choice Laraspur makes seemed rather obvious. However, that happens near the beginning, so that choice isn't meant to be so much of a twist rather than the framework for an oncoming twist."
With that, this book focuses on Laraspur, one of the daughters of Edgwyn and Rosalba, and plants her in the middle of a story that Edgwyn told her when she was a little girl. With the help of her brother Ionquin she'll have to, as the blurb says, brave many perils on a time-defying quest.
"He was such a jerk!"
Yes, he was. She's referring to Laraspur's antagonist, not Ionquin. And yet, according to her notes, he is an interesting one. He's not an "Oh, I'm so evil!" kind of antagonist - he just seems kind of selfish and not used to being defied. So when that happens, he doesn't react in the best of ways.
Conflict and resolution are top notch, the quality of writing as entrancing as readers have come to expect, and Shipley shows once again how much of a wordsmith she is when it comes to Laraspur and Ionquin puzzling out the map for their quest. In addition to that, the sibling friendship between Laraspur and Ionquin is fantastic.
"Shipley made a deal with an anarchwitch, I swear, to make these riddles so well," Flame Writer calms down enough to add.
The tension in this novella surpasses almost all of the others, perhaps with only the exception of The Seventh Spell. The Sun's Rival successfully tugs at the heartstrings (Flame Writer cried near the end), has absolutely AMAZING descriptions, builds up character and plot nicely, and concludes perhaps a little too quickly, but in the perfect way regardless.
There's also at least one point in this novella when you'll glare very darkly at the page. Like so:
With that, Flame Writer will conclude.
Taking a deep breath, the author of Flame Writer and Ashley Vaandere's story lets out a screech: "READ ITTTTTT!!!!!!!"
She swears it's the best one of the series so far.
Only twelve days to the release of The Surrogate Sea, the sixth book of The Wilderhark Tales! Get ready! ARC review on next Thursday.