Series: The Realms of Ancient #1
Published by ECW Press on October 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Some violence, No romance)
As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds — all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . .
Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.
American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.
I called this book Urban Fantasy because that’s what it feels like to me, though I don’t generally associate the genre with YA (that’s why I also added Paranormal as a genre). It’s set in the modern-day world, but one steeped in ancient mythology and fantastical magical creatures. It’s an exciting combination!
What Fed My Addiction:
- The worldbuilding. The basis of this world is that there are some people who have animal spirits and magic (at least, that’s the best way I can describe it). There are five of them: foxes, rabbits, deer, owls and seals. Each type of animal has its own qualities and magic, and the people who embody each animal seem to be racially distinct. I recognize the fox (with nine tails) from some Asian folklore, but I honestly don’t know if all of the animals have these origins or not. (I felt like many of the other spirits, demons, etc may have had a background in Asian lore as well, but I confess to being mostly ignorant of the details—though the comparison in the blurb to Princess Mononoke makes me suspect even more that there’s a connection) Regardless, I thought that Beiko did a fabulous job creating a fantasy world that overlaps with our own and making it come alive!
- Diversity! Not only were many of the characters racially diverse, but one of the main characters has no legs, and he’s in a wheelchair.
- Paranormal monsters with bite. The book starts out with an incredibly intriguing scene (and a dead body), so I was invested right from the start. When the paranormal action starts… it’s pretty crazy. Seriously, yikes! Again, I thought that Beiko did a fantastic job of creating monsters (or, maybe, ancient spirits) that felt real and seriously deadly. I would not have wanted to be in Roan’s shoes.
- Twists and turns. There were a few of them that I didn’t see coming!
- No romance. (But possible hints of one to come?) Roan is too busy saving the world to indulge in a love life (though there is a tiny romantic subplot between other characters). There are a few little hints that there might be a romance in future books, but nothing is jumped into, and that was just fine with me.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Pacing. I felt like this book started out really strong, and then there was a bit of a lull in the middle, and then the pace and the action picked way up in the end.
- Set up for future books. This book could almost have been a standalone, but then at the very end something is thrown in that pretty much negates the entire first book, and I questioned it a bit. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be eager to find out what happens!
This book is a blend of fantasy, mythology and reality that makes you want even more!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
S.M. Beiko’s Top Ten Addictions
- Re-reading the same books over and over! Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat series is high on this list, and so is Brom’s Krampus the Yule Lord over Christmas. My gigantic To Be Read pile of NEW books notwithstanding . . . sometimes it’s comforting to read about old friends over again.
- Vegan chocolate cake. When I went vegan five years ago, finding ready-to-buy vegan treats was difficult, but a local chain restaurant carries the biggest, richest vegan cake now. And it’s available for delivery. I’m doomed.
- Shopping at pagan/metaphysical shops. Less an addiction and more a passion, maybe? But just how many tarot decks and crystal pendants do I need? (Read: ALL OF THEM.)
- Travelling. I travel maybe once a month now for my work, which is primarily in book publishing, but now I’ll be travelling EVEN MORE to promote my trilogy as an author. I just love exploring new locales—and writing it off as a business expense 😛
- Taking pictures of my dog. The 1000+ pictures on my phone are mostly of my rescue, Sophie. I can’t help it that she’s so photogenic! And entertaining! The world must know!!
- Once Upon a Time. Such a great show! So epically cheesy! I’ve maybe watched it from start to present airing about four times . . . you can’t judge me.
- Running. This is lucky especially given #2, and also because running is HARD and even harder still if you hate it. I’m addicted to ‘collecting miles’ in my legs.
- Wikipedia. I just love falling down these incredible rabbit holes of history. I’m currently obsessed with Sophie Blanchard the aeronaut.
- Collecting vintage clothing. Chances are you will find me building up my Etsy Loves List to bursting when I’ve got a sliver of off time, or combing through any vintage shop I can find. It’s always so cool to give a piece new life, and have something well-made, environmental, and unique!
- Boxing. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with running, but there’s nothing more cathartic than wailing on a sand bag when you’ve gotta work some things out! I’ve signed up to take a beginner sparring class at the end of August so I can work on my technique—there’s only so much I can do in my basement.
About the Author
S.M. Beiko has been writing and drawing strange, fantastical things since before she can remember. She currently works as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant and is the co-publisher of ChiZine Publications and ChiGraphic. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Scion of the Fox is the first book of the Realms of Ancient trilogy. Samantha lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
3 winners will receive a copy of Scion of the Fox and a signed fox print by S.M. Beiko.
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The cover of this one caught my eye the first time I saw it. And the synopsis is definitely intriguing. Not sure how I feel about that last minute set-up for another book (especially if it basically negated everything you just read in the first book!) but I love the sound of world Beiko created and the intense monsters. Great review, Nicole! I might be checking my library for this one.
Yeah, I wasn’t that crazy about the VERY end, but it does give a good lead-in for future books.
I just had to come and check this one out because of the cover! And I love Urban Fantasy/Paranormal! It sounds like EXACTLY something that I would love and it’s going on my TBR. GREAT review!
If you’re a fan of this type of book, I don’t see why you wouldn’t love it—it’s really well done!