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Title: Secrets of the Starcrossed
Author: Clara O’Connor
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling | Adventure | Dystopian
Publication Date: January 21, 2021
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Until him, I had followed the Code unwaveringly every day of my life. And now our fates were aligned. If he was proved to be a Codebreaker, I too could be deemed guilty.Cass
Secrets of the Starcrossed Synopsis
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…
Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the pagan kingdoms that surround it. Within its mighty walls defiance means death and capital punishment is decreed by public vote.
As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city and the last scion of the Old Blood.
But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood. A mythical guardian from an ancient Celtic kingdom with a debt to pay to a Northern lord…
A boy who will make her believe in soulmates.
When a mysterious virus rips through the slums leeching the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council hide behind locked doors, scheming. But the question remains: is magic the cure or the curse?
Secrets of the Starcrossed Review
Wow! What a way to start a trilogy. Secrets of the Starcrossed is a modern retelling of an Arthurian tale with lots of twists and turns on the original tale! I love Arthurian retellings. This one has modern twists and a major alternative history.
If the Roman Empire never fell, magic was real and technology was highly advanced, this setting is what you would have gotten. Londinium, the walled Roman city, had to develop upwards, not outwards. Not to mention that it is one of the last Roman strongholds in Britannia due to the 1776 Treaty between the Britons and the Romans. The tech in this novel is advanced, the government monitors and controls everything.
Our main character POV is Cass. A young woman finishing her schooling (think university) before getting her citizenship and marrying her intended, Marcus Courtenay. Cass is the daughter of a wealthy merchant. She lives a very privileged life and is very typical of an elite member of the society. She follows the Code, meets her parents’ standards and never does anything that could affect her future. That is until Devyn and her lives cross and her eyes are opened to how the world is for those less fortunate than her. All this before she learns of a disease that raging through the “lower class” and her intended, Marcus, throwing himself into finding a cure.
The plot line, events and tension in the story all are excellent. You become fully engrossed in the plot extremely quickly. This is a book where nothing is as it seems, you never know who Cass should be trusting (including herself). There’s a slow burn romance, a potential love triangle, as well as the idea “perfectly matched” mates and soulmates.
The mix of Roman empire with the hints of history from Celtic and English history is well planned and thought out. You could actually believe that this is what the world could be if the Roman Empire prevailed. The world building is exceptional and well paced. The twists and turns will keep you engaged throughout the whole novel. I do know I will definitely be reading Curse of the Celts and no doubt Legend of the Lakes, as I am fully invested in this complicated, and amazing story.
I would like to thank NetGalley, One More Chapter (Harper Collins) and Clara O’Connor for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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About Clara O’Connor
Clara O’Connor grew up in the west of Ireland where inspiration was on her doorstep; her village was full of legend, a place of druids and banshees and black dogs at crossroads. Clara worked in publishing for many years before her travels set her in the footsteps of Arthurian myth, to Mayans, Masai, Dervishes and the gods of the Ancients. The world she never expected to explore was the one found in the pages of her debut novel, Secrets of the Starcrossed, which is the first book in the The Once and Future Queen trilogy.
Clara now works in LA in TV. At weekends, if not scribbling away on her next book, she can be found browsing the markets, hiking in the Hollywood Hills or curled up by the fireside with a red wine deep in an epic YA or fantasy novel.
The Once & Future Queen Trilogy
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