The Order of the Eternal Sun: A Novel of the Sylvani by Jessica Leake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lucy Sinclair is making her big debut in London Society. Everything is going well - her presentation to the King and Queen is as wondrous as she hoped - and her brother-in-law, Lord Thornewood, is scritinizing everyone and everything to make sure that she's protected from The Order of the Eternal Sun. Yet, Lord Alexander Radcliffe, Earl of Devonshire, manages to attend her debut ball, unknown and uninvited, managing to steal her heart - and exposing her to danger - all in one slick move.
On the surface, The Order of the Eternal Sun felt a little run-of-the-mill. After all, you have a young female protagonist who is coming of age and has new powers she's still learning to control, there's a love interest and another potential love interest (both very young and handsome), dangerous enemies who are after her (and her family), an overbearing/overprotective father-figure and an old mentor who steps into the picture.
And yet, Leake makes it fresh and exciting. Lucy is no shrinking lily - she's half Sylvanian with dangerous enemies after her and a growing power she's still learning to control but she's not sitting around freaking about it. She's taking decisive action, mostly rational, though sometimes too trusting - like any eighteen year old tends to be when they're in love (or at least when they think they are).
Alexander starts off as an enigma. Leake masterly fills you in with pieces of his history so you think you know his motives and yet at the same time, you're left confused - as confused as Lucy - because you can't tell if he is good or bad. You want him to be good, because you don't want Lucy to be hurt, but at the same all information points the other way and you think that she's being overly naive and trusting.
Because she's a teen and I suppose this is YA fantasy (maybe?) there's a love triangle and whilst I'm tired of this, it was quite well set up and not simply a sappy girl who can't make up her mind.
The Sylvanian world is well-constructed. You're drawn into a place of wonder and excitement. It feels as if Leake has created a real world with very real rules and consequences. The only thing I really want to know is why those with lesser Sylvan blood (such as Lucy's niece) seems to be growing stronger powers than their full-blooded or half-blooded Slyvanian relatives - it's something not quite explained in the book, and something the Queen also wants to find out, so I'm guessing this might be the topic (or at least the driving force) of the next story set in this wonderful world.
One slight detraction - from a story set in the 1800s Victorian English, most of the events of the story felt like it was set in the right period. However, some phrases used and spoken expressions felt a little too modern. Then again, I'm not an expert on the period, so I can't say for sure.
I should probably get round to finding the first book (because it appears there is one called Arcana, in which exciting things happen to Lucy's older sister).
Note: I received a digital ARC of this book for review via Edelweiss.
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The Order of the Eternal Sun is currently available on Amazon in hardback - or you can preorder the Kindle version which releases on August 23!