Book Review || Horrid

Horrid
Seven Sisters of Silverleaf #1)
L.C. Ireland

Ghostlight Publishing | April 10, 2018
Fantasy, Fiction, Faerietales

{GoodReads}
"This is your curse until all is made right:
I'll have my revenge at the stroke of midnight.
For once the moonlight touches your skin ... I win."
 

Delta’s family has been cursed. Every night, one of her sisters vanishes; and she's next. Desperate to save her family, Delta makes a deal with the very witch who cursed her. With only three days left to live, she has a terrible decision to make: Kill a target of the witch’s choosing or lose her life ... and her soul.


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I received an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
This is essentially an original faerietale (although almost nothing is ultimately original anymore, this novel is certainly not a retelling of any familiar story).  Delta Delaroe is not a princess, but she and her siblings, the parents long gone, live as a governing family among the three prominent countries of Barune, Horrid, and Sydna.  Her eldest brother, Alistair, serves as governor while the second eldest brother, Elias, serves as an ambassador of Barune to the neighboring countries.

War threatens to break between the adjoining nations of Sydna and Horrid, and so Elias travels to provide guidance wherever needed and accepted.  It isn't long however, until his family receives news of his disappearance.  And so begins the curse.

An old woman appears to Alistair and his seven sisters while they are dining.  There she warns them that their brother stole something precious of hers and she demanded it be returned.  Until then, she leaves the sisters with a curse where once moonlight touches their skin they vanish.  Delta's three older sisters succumb to the moon's glow on three separate nights.  Even chaining them to a room with attending servants could not stop the curse from taking them.  Delta is next, and terrified, but determined to do all she can to save herself and her three younger sisters, she sets out in search of the witch to make a deal.

And names hold more power than anyone could imagine.

{Spiritual Content}
A witch is the antagonist in this fantastical tale.  She uses dark magic to get her way.  Enchanted daggers obey her command, she can throw guards to the side like rag dolls, and vanish in a plume of smoke.  

She craves the souls of people because they give her youth and life, turning her old and frail body into that of a beautiful woman.

Delta often is said to pray in facing fears (i.e. praying for courage, or answers, etc.).  Spirits, or phantoms, appear to her and share with her visions.  In her bargain with the witch, Delta signs over her soul, and as a result she has no reflection in mirrors.  It is also implied that the animals of an estate---dogs, horses---sense something is wrong about her and practically go crazy, barking madly or shying away.

{Violence}
As part of the bargain with the witch, Delta is given a task to accomplish in order to save herself and her sisters: she must take an enchanted dagger and kill someone it has chosen.  Four lives for the price of one.

Rumors of war begin and gradually increase between the two countries.  People are captured and imprisoned.  

An assassin attempts to murder a sleeping girl, but another girl attacks him instead and is herself fatally injured.  SPOILER:  After she takes a sharp hair comb and stabs the assassin in the throat (to which blood and gurgling happens) she suffers a broken arm and a poisoned gash in the side, eventually succumbing to her injuries.  

{Language//Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

{Lovey Content}
A woman wearing the (I assume) traditional clothing of her culture shows her midriff.  While highly inappropriate among Delta's country, it is apparently quite customary as even the king of said country wears something similar.

Delta meets the wealthy son of another prominent family.  There is obviously a bit of attraction, but because of the curse and her dreaded mission, Delta tries not to let the poor man get too close, but he wishes to pursue courtship regardless.  (He's very sweet, I likes him a lot. :])

No kissy kissy smoochy stuff.  ;D

{Conclusion}
While this story is certainly not a retelling of any faerietale (as far as I can tell), I find almost extreme similarities to The Little Mermaid and, as with the two spirits who appear to Delta and show her visions of the past, The Christmas Carol with Scrooge and his three spirits.

Overall, this was an easy, intriguing, and entertaining read.  A marvelously clean fantasy!  I didn't want to put it down!  Practically read this in one day (welllll, technically, and according to my Kindle, approximately three hours).  :]  I enjoyed this little novel.  Delta learns much in her quest to save her family.  She comes to know that the true name of a person holds great meaning, and every life is precious.  There is no redemption in taking one to save four others---including her own.  And there is always a way to break a curse.

Moral of the story:  Beware of contracts in the hands of ugly old witches who barter with souls.  And avoid mirrors.  O__o

Ha! Just kidding!  ;D  
Every life has meaning, every soul a purpose, and love is willing to take risks---no matter the price. 

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Ages 14+

3 comments

  1. :O :O :O
    THIS LOOKS SOOOOO UP MY ALLEY. I have never heard of it before but NOW I DESPERATELY WANT IT. I adore original fairytales! (Or, ya know, ANY fairytales.) The whole idea of the curse is so unique and fun!

    I NEED DISSS.

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  3. This sounds really good! I'm surprised; looking at the cover and the title I suspected it might be rather, well, horrid. Thanks for always giving us such detailed reviews. :)

    Risa

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To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
-Anonymous-