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#NewRelease The Claiming by J.A. Nielsen


a castle with a garden

Today on the blog, I review author J.A. Nielsen’s debut YA fantasy, The Claiming. I received an ARC from the author after being asked to blurb the book. I must admit being requested to give my opinion on a story for purposes of a blurb is quite an honor! Excerpts from my reviews have shown up on author websites and the praise page of at least one novel. This, however, is the first time I’ve been explicitly asked to provide a blurb.


So, without further ado, on to the review.

 


War, forbidden magic, and a sprinkling of innocent romance make for a fantastic debut sure to delight younger YA readers and anyone young at heart.

The Claiming by J.A. Nielsen is a yarn spun for the YA audience, especially the younger demographic. I believe readers anywhere from ten or eleven to fifteen or sixteen, especially those with interest in fantasy fiction, will find The Claiming difficult to put down.


This fast-paced fable is told from various narrative voices, but two stand out as the leads, Spense and Dewy. One might claim they are dual protagonists, but in my view, Spense, the bastard son of a human king and magician of dubious ability, is the story’s protagonist. Dewey, a fairy princess on the outs with her elders, is the most important of several major secondary characters. Spense and Dewy are fantastic YA characters hampered by inexperience, and at times, at hammerheads with their elders while striving to do the right thing. I can easily imagine Dewy taking on the protagonist's role in future installments.


The plot follows a war between a human kingdom and a fairy kingdom. In a last-ditch effort at diplomacy, Spense is sent by his father, the king, to strike a peace deal with the fairy ruler. During his adventures, Spense finds an indispensable ally in Dewy. The duo discovers the origins of the war are more complicated than they ever imagined, and the very people they are sacrificing for might be using them as pawns in a game they don’t understand. This doesn’t stop them from seeking peace, being willing to sacrifice for each other, and in all honesty, to be examples of what is good to the adults in their lives.


Bottom line, this is a fun book. War, forbidden magic, and a sprinkling of innocent romance make for a fantastic debut sure to delight younger YA readers and anyone young at heart. Highly recommended.

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