Book Review

Curse of the Celts – Clara O’Connor

Today I am reviewing Curse of the Celts, book two in the Once and Future Queen series by Clara O’Connor. Many thanks to Clara and One More Chapter for providing me with a copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

You are accused of crimes against the Code. How do you plead?

After failing to escape the Roman metropolis of Londinium with Devyn, her lover, and Marcus, her betrothed, Cassandra wakes in inky darkness to find the ground giving way to sand beneath her feet.

All three of them have been carted back to the notorious arena at the heart of the city to stand trial by public vote. Cass knows they must escape at any cost: to warn the Celts of the mysterious blood curse ravaging their kin, to foil the schemes of the imperial council…

To find the fabled Lady of the Lake, the one who could save them all.

But even as the jaws of death close in around her, another threat looms in the shadows, a danger she never could have foreseen, a betrayal that could burn down her entire world.

Fans of The Hunger Games will revel in this sweeping dystopian adventure set in an alternate fantasy universe where the Roman Empire never fell. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

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REVIEW:

As you might recall, I adored Secrets of the Starcrossed, book one in this series, and the cliffhanger ending left me screaming for book two. Curse of the Celts picks up exactly where Secrets of the Starcrossed finished, throwing you instantly back into the drama, as Cassandra, Devyn and Marcus prepare to meet their fate.

Curse of the Celts takes the reader away from the luxury of Londinium and into the wilder lands of Britannia, the intricate blending of British legend with fiction creating a rich alternate history. I love Arthurian and Celtic legend, so this really was a dream come true for me, if perhaps less so for our heroes.

For Marcus and Cassandra, leaving high tech Londinium for the wilds of Britannia with no technology to speak of would have felt alien enough without the fact that they were were entering the borderlands on Samhain. With their vanishing pools of blood and skeletal hands, I was glad to be reading about this dangerous territory in daylight .  Add to this the turmoil of betrayal and not knowing who to trust, and emotions in Curse of the Celts are running understandably high.

Once again I was swept away by the world that Clara O’Connor has created, and I absolutely devoured this book. The Once and Future Queen is fast becoming one of my favourite series, and I know I will be returning to reread it time and time again.

Clara O’Connor truly is the queen of the cliffhanger and once again the ending of this book has had me pacing the floors as I impatiently await book three – not long to go now and it can’t come soon enough for me.

Book Review

Secrets Of The Starcrossed – Clara O’Connor

I have the first book in what promises to be a fabulous new series to share with you today. Secrets of the Starcrossed is book one in The Once and Future Queen series by Clara O’Connor. My thanks to Clara and One More Chapter for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

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 ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood.

A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

Panem meets the Grishaverse in this explosive new YA trilogy perfect for readers of Marie Lu, Bella Forrest, and Cassandra Clare.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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REVIEW:

Part historical fiction, part dystopia, Secrets of the Starcrossed appealed to me on so many levels. Clara O’Connor has created a series that presents a clever twist on history, entwining hints of real British history with a reimaged world where the Roman Empire still reigned supreme. From a history perspective, I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of familiar names such as Owain Glyndwr, Elizabeth Twdwr, and the Plantagenets, and how their stories had shifted in this alternate world.

As we follow Cassandra to her classes, I found myself picturing ultra modern monorails whizzing around the Colosseum in Rome and the amphitheatre in Verona. The landscape of Londinium with its street and area names that I have walked many times was easily recognisable, but at the same time strange and unknown, and I found this intriguing. The concept of taking something so familiar, both in terms of geography and history, and twisting it into something so very different made this book absolutely fascinating to me right from the start.

As soon as I finished reading I had to dash to Amazon to pre-order the next two books, and I am very interested to find out what happens next and hopefully learn more about the people of Britannia.