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New Release Review: Isle of the Immortal by S. M. Estrada

Released: 22 March 2022

Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

A land plagued in darkness. One woman who carries the weight of the sun.


In her twenty-three years of life, Shailin Srijan has never ventured past the mortal confines of her remote Scottish village. Working solely as her brother’s keeper and avoiding the small-town gossip of villagers, she’s never thought to question the mundane reality of her existence – until her brother’s condition suddenly worsens and all hope seems lost. Reeling at the thought of losing the only family she’s ever known, Shailin hastily agrees to her mother’s farfetched proposal: enter into the Immortal realm to face the greatly feared and equally mysterious Vampire King, who happens to owe the Srijans a life debt.


The Immortal is just as enigmatic as it is ethereally alluring, and left without any other viable options, Shailin has no choice but to honor her mother’s wishes and make for the magical lands. Only once there, she finds herself thrust into a dying world of indefinite darkness and legendary monsters that have taken permanent residence in a kingdom without daylight. Even more unexpected than the realm’s unconventional nocturnal splendor is the presence of Axton, a masked vigilante also traveling to the ruler’s castle. Though Shai knows better than to trust a man with a secret, she can’t help the budding attraction that only heightens as an unlikely relationship forms between the two.


Upon facing King Ezrium, Shailin will have to unravel a startling truth that upends the life she’s always known and decide whether she wishes to conform or pave her own way in a world of magic and mayhem.


Fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout's From Blood and Ash, Danielle L. Jensen's Bridge Kingdom, and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series will enjoy this fantasy romance novel.


Isle of the Immortal is, at its heart, a Hades and Persephone retelling. The book drew me in with a beautiful cover and skillful synopsis. Plus, it’s an indie pub, and I llloooove indie pubs. I had to struggle through the first 1/3 of the book, but after that, the pace and the plot picked up and the book turned out to be wonderful.


Most importantly, I absolutely loved the atmospheric setting. It is perpetually night in this story, with all the problems that go with the absence of sunlight, and the towns have adjusted to this accordingly. One town the characters pass through is reminiscent of that in Caraval, with magical shops luring in passersby to enchant them and take what they have. The setting and tone in this world is brilliant.


The characters are quite lovely. I do like the MMC, Axton, who is the bandit escorting the FMC, Shai, to the King of the realm in order for her to call in a life debt to save her brother. The attraction between him and Shai is not quite instalove, and I liked this. I would say that the story is an enemies-to-lovers trope, but the two MC’s don’t have a prior history, so it’s more of a tense, suspicious strangers-to-lovers instead. Shai is not a vapid, empty-headed girl, though she is also not an overly aggressive, hate all men, vengeful, over-powered woman, either.


Just my own preferences, but I found the profanity distracting. With fantasy, cussing just brings me out of the world I’m in and puts me back in this one, but words that make sense to be profanity in other worlds are not so jarring. This book’s language started at a fixed point in the book, around chapter 8, and just w

Just my own preferences, but I found the profanity distracting. With fantasy, cussing just brings me out of the world I’m in and puts me back in this one, but words that make sense to be profanity in other worlds are not so jarring. This book’s language started at a fixed point in the book, around chapter 8, and just went fr through the rest of the book.


The pace is lightning quick. So quick, for me, that I had to go back several times and reread tiny sections that I missed because I was distracted by real life stuff. I did not enjoy this aspect. I feel the pace may have seemed quicker than what it was because the transitions were a bit choppy. In one scene, the two main characters were riding on a horse and suddenly, in the next, they were having a conversation on the ground with knives in their hands and I completely missed how they got there. Again, it could have been because I was distracted a bit, but I think the choppiness in the beginning was consistent enough that it may have been the story.


I did see some errors that needed editing out; they had my eye twitching. I will say the story more than made up for them. I had to resist getting my red pen out, though.


Just my own preferences, but I found the profanity distracting. With fantasy, cussing just brings me out of the world I’m in and puts me back in this one, but words that make sense to be profanity in other worlds are not so jarring. This book’s language started at a fixed point in the book, around chapter 8, and just went from there, fading steadily in and out through the rest of the book.

This book also packs a punch of a twist, which I did not see coming. I loved the surprise! Overall, I quite enjoyed this book and am not sorry I purchased it. The hardcover is beautiful, and the dust jacket just complements it so well. 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Recommend for those who like some spice, don't mind language, and like Hades and Persephone retellings.






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