Nocturna by Maya Motayne – the April Fairyloot subscription box

Next up on the Backlog Busting list was Nocturna, the April fairyloot subscription box book. The theme was Dark Magic, and the box had stuff from A Darker Shade of Magic, Six of Crows, and some other fandoms I love so I was very very excited! I now use the ADSOM book sleeve as a tablet case, and there’s a really cute cat tea strainer that I’m using as a decoration. Now. To the book!

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Blurb from Goodreads

The book in the box was Nocturna, the first in Maya Motayne’s debut trilogy. It was a special blue edition with blue sprayed edges designed for the Fairyloot box. Now, this book. It’s got magic, magic going wrong, sassy knife wielding street-savvy women and an entire world where magic is normal and self doubt and honestly everything that I love about books in a book.

However, despite having everything I love about fantasy and magic in a book, I found that I wasn’t enjoying Nocturna. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that I forgot I was reading it – I would put the book down to make a cup of tea and promptly forget I had been reading. I would then find it several days later and go ‘oh yeah, reading that’. There was also the fact that I would be reading, and in the back of my mind I was thinking oh golly, I’ve been reading for hours, I should get some tea and then I realised I had only been reading for twenty minutes! It was like the opposite of losing time reading. So weird.

I’ve worked out there was nothing specific that I disliked. I think that I wasn’t sure about the characters. Alfie and Finn, on paper, seem to be my kind of characters, but … my favourite was the magic teacher, and Luka was also kind of fun. But as a general rule, I just didn’t click with the characters.

I liked how the world was structured, and the system of Magic but… It was just good. I liked some of the quirks of the villain but it was still kinda … meh…

I can’t work out why I felt so ambivalent towards this book. Maybe it’s because I didn’t pick it myself, or… the characters or… well, for whatever reason I didn’t love this book. It’s been a day or two since I finished now and my overwhelming response is still overwhelmingly meh.

Anyway. I have had another go at my backlog and halved it, so I only have about 10 to read now (lol).


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