I was so excited when Tristi Pinkston approached me about reviewing some of Valor's new books! She let me pick which books I was interested in reading and reviewing, and Karen Hoover's debut novel, The Sapphire Flute, was at the top of the list.
I would like to say that even though Karen is a friend of mine, and I got a free book out the deal and everything, I've tried really hard to be unbiased in my assessment of the book. So that's my disclaimer. :o) Now, on to the review.
The Sapphire Flute is the story of two girls - Kayla and Ember. Both are young women who are just finding themselves. At the beginning of the book, Ember is beginning to discover that she can do magic, and Kayla is given guardianship of a magic flute. Both girls have to fight against the evil C'Tan.
The first thing I noticed about The Sapphire Flute was how compelling the story was. It kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, that fell a little short in places, especially near the end. Because of the way the two story lines were interwoven, there were times when I should have been compelled to keep reading, but I wasn't because we had switched to the other story. As I got to the end, I was prepared to stay up until the wee hours of the night because I was so wrapped up in the story. However, because the story switched away from the climax of one of the storylines and back to a storyline that felt resolved at the time, I actually put the book down a few pages in to the chapter and decided to read the rest the next day. So the pacing could have been tighter, especially there at the end.
That's a pretty small complaint, though, compared to how wonderful the book was as a whole. There was so much fun magic throughout this entire book. Between the mages and the spells and the shapeshifting and the warewolves and the dragons, there was always something exciting happening.
The characters were also very well written. I felt I really got to know them, and I thought Hoover did a wonderful job giving each of her two heroines a distinct identity. She also created a very convincing villain.
The Sapphire Flute is only the first in a series of seven books about Rasaan, and it definitely felt wide open for a sequel at the end of the book. However, it didn't leave me hanging on a cliff the way a lot of YA books that are planned series have been doing lately. The conclusion felt satisfying, but I'm also anxious to read more.
Another thing I absolutely loved about The Sapphire Flute is that it's a very clean read. I would have no qualms letting young adults read this young adult book, which is something I wouldn't say about many of them that are coming out these days.
Basically, I'd recommend The Sapphire Flute to just about everyone who loves a good book. Here's a link, in case you'd like to order it off of Barnes and Noble. Happy Reading!