Review: The First Chill of Autumn (Shards of a Broken Sword, #3) by W.R. Gingell

29614612Llassar is an occupied country– but nobody seems to know it.

Fae began to filter slowly into the land shortly after the birth of the crown princess, Dion ferch Alawn, supposedly fleeing a dark threat in Faery known as the Guardians. But that was fifteen years ago, and now there isn’t a town in Llassar that isn’t populated by or under the control of the fae.

Smaller, weaker, and less talented at magic, Llassarians are quickly finding out that there’s no fighting the invasion that crept in so quietly and politely. Even the castle isn’t free of fae: those closest to the king and queen are faery advisors.

When Dion ferch Alawn returns from a carefully sanitised tour of Outer Llassar, the most exciting thing she expects from the near future is the present her twin sister Aeron promised for their seventeenth birthday.

Then her carriage breaks down, and Dion gets a taste of what the real Llassar has become: desperate, enslaved, and ripe for rebellion. Getting home safely is just the first problem she faces: the real struggle begins when Dion returns to the castle. Her new knowledge is inconvenient and unwelcome– to declare it, treason.

Her parents expect her to publicly embrace the Llassarian policy of acceptance and deference to the fae.

The common Llassarians, their injuries passed over and their weapons long since confiscated, expect her to fight for them. Dion must choose between doing what is convenient and politic, and what is right.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

This is the final book and with impending doom, so it’s just a tad darker than the other two. There was still plenty of laughs and cute, sweet “aww” things, not to mention the return of the characters from the first two books. It was a splendid ending (especially since I was rooting for Barric from the beginning—shh!) and I loved it.

The plot:

Since it’s a novella, the story moves along quickly, following young Dion from toddler years to when she fulfills her destiny and saves the human world from Faery. I very much appreciated the whole “political correctness” storyline with the faeries and how the humans basically outlawed defending themselves. It was strikingly familiar to some real world historic issues. At the same time, we get to meet wonderful, awesome, lovable faeries and some sides of familiar faeries we really haven’t gotten before. It was a good, realistic balance, I thought, and definitely a take I had not encountered before.

The characters:

Dion is sweet and brave, having accepted from a  young age that she is destined to die for her country. While she starts out naive and too trusting, she is forced to learn quickly. She’s the kind of character we admire most for her heart.

Just in case that opening paragraph misled you, there are no—I repeat—NO LOVE TRIANGLES, okay? There are two love interests (Padraig’s sweet and brave and awesome, but the other one is the perfect one), but no love triangles. There was still bittersweet romance tossed in with cute romance, we get to see Markon and Althea in their banter-filled wedded bliss and Carmine play damsel in distress to his warrior princess, plus Rafiq and Koto be awesome dragons together.

Novellas get taken for granted too much, but this one is definitely a series worth a shot. Magic, quests, and romance mix together in clean fairytale-flavored adventures any retellings fanatic is bound to love.

Find The First Chill of Autumn on Goodreads

Find The First Chill of Autumn on Amazon

Read my reviews of Twelve Days of Faery (Shards of a Broken Sword, #1) and Fire in the Blood (Shards of a Broken Sword, #2).

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