I started reading this title back in November, originally as part of a blog tour; unfortunately, due to my schedule, I missed the blog tour. I promised the author, SM Boyce, however, that I would still to do a Book Spotlight on each of the books in the series (so far there are two, but there are four total planned). Lichgates is the first book of The Grimoire Saga, and is the subject of this Spotlight.
While hiking one afternoon, Kara Magari discovers a small door in the side of a cliff—a peculiar discovery she would have overlooked had she not been searching for cover from an approaching storm. Kara discovers a library—of sorts—on the other side of the random door, and a strange tome inside of it upon the desk. She opens the tome, which she learns is a Grimoire, and unwittingly becomes the enchanted book's master. She doesn't realize it at the time, but Kara also passed through an invisible door between worlds—called a lichgate—and was transported to a land called Ourea, a land in the midst of war. As Ourea's new Vagabond—the Grimoire's master—she must survive this strange, new place, all while attempting to finish what the last Vagabond had started but failed: to bring peace amongst its races of inhabitants.
World Building. Boyce does a stellar job of creating the fully-imagined world of Ourea—its details, its inhabitants, and its unique plotlines that are different, yet still familiar. The landscapes of Ourea's many kingdoms are described with poetry and colorful prose. By her descriptions, I can tell Boyce is a lover of nature and the many colors that fill both our world and Ourea's; she does a first-rate job of enticing the readers every sense, and description is definitely one of her strengths.
Character Building. Although this falls truly under World Building, I needed to specifically point out Boyce's talents as a character creator. There are several types of creatures that inhabit Ourea (which Boyce describes perfectly), but one of those creatures, the yakona, is divided into six, fully-realized races. The races are completely different from one another, which is one of the reasons fueling their disputes, yet they share one commonality: each has a Blood—a king or queen—who maintains complete control over those who are loyal to them, and an Heir—the Blood's successor. The Blood's powers are immediately transferred to the Heir upon death, but there's a catch: if no Heir were to exist, all loyal subjects to the Blood would die upon the Blood's death. It's a refreshing concept completely created by the author, one which I have yet to find elsewhere.
Majick. The Majick in Ourea is derived from manipulating the elements that surround the wielder; and though using majick can drain the wielder of energy, they can also pull energy from the elements, as well. Although it isn't a new one, Boyce gives a fresh take on this concept.
Overall, Boyce delivers in her debut novel, and I highly recommend this title to my readers. The story is amazing, even overpowering a few needed editorial corrections; the beautiful and poetic language with which it is scribed—language skills one rarely finds in today's fiction titles—as well as the gems mentioned above, will make this story a classic. I am anxious to return to Ourea in Lichgates' sequel, Treason, and curious as to what adventures await Boyce's characters.
Écrire souvent, bien écrire, et écrire avec bonheur
(Scribe Often, Scribe Well, and Scribe with Happiness),