by Sarah Remy.
I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately (thanks, book club) and let me just say that it was so good to get back to my regular fantasy wheelhouse. And this book in particular was a good step back into it. Stonehill Downs is the story of Malachi, the king’s vocent (talks to spirits) and last magus in the kingdom, sent to the remote village of Stonehill Downs to investigate the very weird and bloody murders of a local lord and some Kingsmen. It is also the story of Avani, a foreign weaver, who has settled in Stonehill Downs and is the one to find the bodies. Unfortunately, soon after he arrives to investigate, things escalate, and Malachi and Avani are thrown together for survival. He’s haunted by his dead wife, she has a raven familiar and gets sporadic visions, and together they have to work to solve the mystery of what is happening on the Downs, before whatever-it-is spreads and destroys the kingdom.
I liked this book. It had a good mix of elements: magic, mystery, good characters with layers, a good pace, enjoyable writing. The central mystery of the book is handled well – Remy keeps it interesting enough to hold up as the main plot line, while not making the solution to the puzzle super obvious, and still leaving room for other side things to be going on. That’s a fine balance to walk. The relationship between Malachi and Avani is intriguing; you can see it change and grow through the book. I do wish the author had gone a bit more into the history of the world. I feel like I know the characters, but not that I really know too much about the world, especially in regards to Avani’s original home and certain legends that come up whose significance I feel like I’m missing because we don’t have that history.
However, the author has said this is book #1 of a 2-book series, so I’m excited to see what she has in store for book #2 – it might address some of those points. Overall, definitely a good read, and I will be picking up that second book. 🙂
I give it 4/5 stars.
I was given a promotional copy of this book by Harper Voyager U.S. for review.