BY NIKKY LEE
I received a free ARC from the author and am leaving a voluntary review.
Wow. What a ride this was. The Rarkyn’s Familiar by Nikky Lee is a YA: High Fantasy. It follows orphan, Lyss, who accidentally finds herself in a blood-pact with a beast from “the other world”: the rarkyn named Skaar. The magic bond she has with Skaar will drive her insane if she doesn’t find a way to break the pact.
First thing I want to clarify. I’ve heard this book being compared to Sarah J. Maas’s books. This is NOTHING like her books. The style, the content, the characters feel more in conversation with The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.
Now that’s out of the way…
The world-building is incredible. There’s so much history, lore and politics packed into 496 pages and a prose-style that zips along. Nowhere did I feel bogged down. And that’s amazing given Nikky Lee has created a made-up language, a foreign universe, a complex magic-system and an array of brand-new creatures.
The characters are beautifully drawn. There’s a large cast, as is expected in High Fantasy. Every character’s motives are clearly explained, making them easy to relate to. Even the antagonists have understandable motives, which adds to the richness of the world. I even felt sad when one of the major villains died. That, to me, is good writing.
The prose fits perfectly for the genre. It’s fast-paced, exciting and leaves enough room for world-building and character relationships to develop. It’s also at times dark and includes blood and gore, but not over-the-top. In fact, I would argue that readers who are not fans of dark themes, would enjoy this book too.
Over all, I recommend this book to anyone who likes their characters complex and morally ambiguous.