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Author: Naomi Hughes
Genre: Fantasy | Romance | Sci Fi
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
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Once there was a boy who believed…
Once there was a girl who was afraid..
and, once there was a girl who believed only in her brother.
The mercurial princess.
Everyone fears the Destroyer. The metal in her blood gives her incendiary powers, and the coldness in her heart makes her the empress’s perfect weapon…until a rebel attack leaves her with no magic and no memories.
The reluctant bodyguard sworn to serve her.
Tal’s god asked him to protect the Destroyer years ago. He said yes, and he’s regretted it ever since. Now that she’s powerless he can finally end her reign of terror—if he can stop himself from falling for the wicked, funny, utterly unfamiliar girl she’s become.
And the assassin who will save him.
Nyx was furious when her brother, Tal, abandoned her to obey a faithless god. Now, she hones herself as a rebel assassin until she can kill the Destroyer and rescue Tal. But the closer she gets, the more she realizes the entire empire hinges on the decisions the three of them will make…
This YA fantasy novel written by Naomi Hughes takes place in the world of The Alloyed Empire. A world where you can swear an everlasting oath on the metal in the world and the metal in you blood gives you power. The novel is in three POVs: The Destroyer, Tal and his sister, Nyx. Their stories all intertwine in interesting ways. Mercurial is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice and how manipulation can lead to destruction.
The writing was great, it is written in third-person. We jump between the perspectives of Tal, The Destroyer and Nyx. This was a short book but it was well-written and very easy to get through. Overall, the writing was great, though it was written more for the audience of the middle grade genre, rather than YA. The plot was well planned and had some expected twists and some unexpected ones as well.
The characters of the book were great! Tal had some great internal conflict regarding his faith, his oath and his charge. This added a lot to the plot and to Tal himself. He was loyal and kind but he was also fiercely protective of the people he loved and was willing to give up everything for them. I really like how in his perspective there was description of how the magic and the oath work. It was really well explained. The Destroyer was the most interesting character in this book. Throughout the book, there were glimpses of who she would have been, if it were not for the decisions made in the past. Nyx is a great character because of how much she cared for the people she loved as well. She gave up her dreams and hopes to save her brother and she risked her life multiple times to ensure the safety of others. I also enjoyed how her relationship with Helenia was written in without having any coming out moment or justification of the relationship. Their love and devotion just is. No need for explanation.
Overall, I really loved this book! The writing was thoroughly planned out and easy to read. The plot was original, fast-paced but also easy to understand and read. It really sucks you into the story and it’s descriptive enough to immerse yourself wholly in The Alloyed Empire. And the characters were dynamic, interesting and very morally grey from all the POVs (as I mentioned before I LOVE some morally grey characters). Definitely a MUST READ!
I would like to thank NetGalley and the Independent Book Publishers Association for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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About Naomi Hughes
Naomi Hughes is a writer of quirky young adult sci-fi and fantasy. She lives in the Midwest US, a region which she loves even though it tries to murder her with tornadoes every spring. When not writing, her hobbies include reading (of course), traveling, and geeking out over Marvel superheroes and certain time-traveling Doctors.
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