Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Source: publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 15th, 2016
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Blurb from goodreads:
In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.
As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.
Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?
Sophia Rose's Thoughts:
This was one of those books that I knew from the beginning that it was just my thing. Intrepid heroine set for adventure, magic, war on the high seas, dashing Navy Captain, pirates, shipboard adventure, danger, and maybe love when she least expects it? This was history and fantasy blended together at it's best. A young woman courageously steps out of the restraints of her current life and boldly embraces the adventure of a lifetime so she can live free. I read it in two sittings and then groaned to see it end. Fortunately, it's the beginning of a series and I can come back to the world of the magical Extraordinaires again.
I love history blended with fantasy particularly when it is feathered into a powerful plot and characters. This alternate history world of the Napoleonic Era Britain is filled with magic wielders. Having magic gives one status and there are a variety of magic classifications some more desired than others when it comes to status amongst the high society of Britain. You guessed it, Elinor's Scorcher (fire) magic is considered unseemingly for a woman to wield and it also makes people nervous because Scorchers are generally unstable or mad.
The main character, Elinor, is the sole narrator. She is a fantastic heroine beginning as a sheltered and naive lady to becoming a formidable woman ready to learn from her mistakes and take her place as a valuable contributor to crew and country. She must battle the conflicts that come from stepping out of her place in life, enemies personal and of Britain, and she must fight an internal battle.
The author did a fantastic job of painting a setting around Elinor that was a balance of historical authenticity and her own parallel world. This story paces out slow and steady for the most part of life in London society and then shipboard life, but there are many exciting breathless moments when Elinor, Captain Ramsay, and the crew are fighting for their lives.
Elinor learns to build relationships on her own particularly with Captain Ramsay. He, more than others understands what it is to be a late-blooming Extraordinaire and the need to prove himself. He is her friend, but he is also her captain. But slowly something more grows between them. It was sweet and tender and was organic to the story.
In summary, this was amazingness and I definitely want more of the Extraordinaire world. Those who enjoy authentic feeling historicals, compelling characters, exciting adventure and magic surrounding it all should give this book a go.
My thanks to Curiosity Quills for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
About Sophia Rose:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Find Sophia Rose Online:
Assoc Reviewer at Delighted Reader blog: http://delightedreader.com/