Sign of the Throne (Solas Beir Trilogy #1)
written by Melissa Eskue Ousley
published by Castle Garden Publications
Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by Buy the Book Tours. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read every free chance I had because I was entranced by this book.
In the beginning, the story jumps ahead twenty-two years. At first, I was confused and really wanted to know what had happened in that time period. What happened to the baby? What happened to the Queen? Well, we do find all of this out in a unique-ish way. The Queen tells the back story to Abby. I wasn’t sure how I liked this until I started getting into the story. I really like how that was done. It was a great perspective.
Sign of the Throne introduces us to a world of Gaelic/Scottish mythology and to a world of Light and Dark. This story had wonderful world building through the storytelling of Eulalia. We learn much about this world from her. The characters are relatively young, but very accepting of this new/other world. Part of me was bothered by this and part of me liked this. Sometimes with books of this nature, I dislike how easily everything comes together in the end, how trusting and accepting the characters are of this “other” world. I can’t imagine being so understanding and accepting of something so out there, so extraordinary, so not likely to be real. That’s what makes it a bit tough to get behind. I enjoyed this book. I want to read more in this trilogy. BUT… this book ended rather neatly. It ended a bit too easily.
On another note, this is one book that I wish I hadn’t read on an e-reader. It would have been nice to flip back to the character/pronunciation guide while reading this book. That is something that is not easily done on an e-reader. However, I enjoyed it. I want to know what happens next.
Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any YA fantasy fan.
Will I read it again: I will not.
About the book: Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.
Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.
As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.
The Oracles of Cai Terenmare
In ancient Greece, an oracle was a person through whom the gods were believed to speak. The four oracles in Sign of the Throne are also seers. While the magical, parallel realm of Cai Terenmare is ruled by the Solas Beir, the high king, the oracles serve as principalities governing the outermost regions of the kingdom. The four oracles are connected to each other—they commune as one over great distances. Although they started out with individual identities, in accepting the role of oracle, they surrender their old name and their old life, gaining great power in their link to the other oracles. Oracles are like forces of nature—they do not bow to the Solas Beir’s authority, but by working in harmony with them, the Solas Beir can tap into their power, much like a ship sails with the wind. There is a mutual respect and elemental balance between their power and that of the Solas Beir. Some of the oracles have aligned themselves with the Solas Beir, acknowledging the source of his power, the Light. Others have remained impartial in the long war between those in the Light and the Kruorumbrae, creatures of Darkness.
The Northern Oracle resides in the Ice Mountain Territories, a bitterly cold region far north of Caislucis, the castle of the Solas Beir. Her house is ruled by strict order, and her monks infuse discipline and spirituality into every task: hunting for hares using birds of prey, caring for domesticated deer, tending indoor gardens, and refining their skills as warriors while gaining wisdom from ancient texts.
The Western Oracle is the Northern Oracle’s polar opposite in character. She makes her home on a small island in the Western Sea. There, arrayed like a beautiful goddess in her marble temple, her daughters tend to her every need. The Western Oracle is loyal to no one, narcissistic, and, like the murderous sirens who serve her, absolutely lethal. Only one person has ever visited her island and lived—the Solas Beir, Ardal.
Similar to the Western Oracle, the Southern Oracle is rumored to be narcissistic and loyal to no one. He has been unwilling to engage in the political conflict between those in the Light and the Darkness. But like the Northern Oracle, the Southern Oracle and his people are isolated by dangerous terrain. He lives in the center of a thick rainforest with deadly plants, both of the poisonous and carnivorous varieties. Legends describe horrific beasts and phantoms lurking in the dark forest as well.
Finally, the realm of the Eastern Oracle is located far from the western coast where the Solas Beir resides, and it is a stark contrast to the pastoral communities surrounding Caislucis. Separated from the west by an enormous desert called The Barren, the walled city of the Eastern Oracle is a bustling metropolis of commerce where it is rumored that those in the Light and those of the Shadows dwell side by side. The Eastern Oracle is a pious traditionalist, and insists on holding counsel only with a Solas Beir. Even with the extraordinary circumstances of Ardal’s assassination, the Eastern Oracle refused to recognize the queen’s authority or meet with her ambassadors from Caislucis.
If David Corbin manages to reclaim his throne, he will need the help of the oracles to keep it, but convincing them to ally with him could be a challenge for a ruler who was not raised in Cai Terenmare.
About the author: Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. Sign of the Throne, the first book of this young adult fantasy series, will be released on September 14. She is currently working on the second and third novels in the trilogy, The Rabbit and the Raven and The Sower Comes.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found swimming, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona.