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Amy Hay
Spirit of the King
Amy Hay, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Allegiance is Power. Choose the Strongest.

Eighteen year old Aria finds her allegiance caught between Keriggor and Eli, the two most powerful opposing spiritual entities in existence. After being set free from a covenant with Keriggor under the presumption she will immediately forge a new covenant with Eli, the two not only war for her loyalty, but stoke her innate desire to wield extreme power. Each offers her a portion of their own by placing a unique seal on her forehead.

In her journey of self-discovery, she transforms the landscape of cities and villages throughout the territories. But as her own unique identity begins to emerge, she wonders if she will ever be truly free of them.

The spirited first instalment of a forthcoming trilogy, Hay’s fantasy blends high-stakes adventure, a coming of age, and an intriguing and original mythology all rooted, as the title suggests, in themes of spiritual belief. In the world of Spirit of the King, allegiance to one of two ruling spirits, the good King Eli or the dark spirit Keriggor, can change the course of one’s life. Eighteen-year-old Aria has been a devoted servant of the dark spirit Keriggor since childhood, even bearing his mark on her forehead. Such allegiance comes at an immense physical and spiritual cost for most of his adherents, but Aria has proven to be Keriggor’s favourite -- a believer so prized that she becomes the target of King Eli, too. Desperate to form a new spiritual covenant with her, the good spirit king’s attentions release Aria from Keriggor’s power, but also making her vulnerable to all manner of spiritual possession. Now, as both spirits war for her loyalty and promise her great power, Aria must decide who to ally with.

Hay’s detailed prose and sympathetic young heroine will keep fantasy readers intrigued. Spirits may crave her, but Aria’s dark past and connection to Keriggor have made her an outcast among her own kind, and the author’s nuanced portrayal of a young woman’s self-discovery will resonate with readers. Likewise, Hay’s accomplished worldbuilding -- crowded village squares, ethereal palaces, and host of well-defined secondary characters -- gives vivid life to Aria’s complex world, though the pacing at times makes the narrative seem episodic.

Aria spends much of the novel adrift in the wilderness, and her uncertainty over which spirit deserves her allegiance grows repetitious, even in this relatively short novel. These slight drawbacks do not diminish the story’s originality, and readers keen on fantasy that touches on issues of faith will find much to love in this engaging tale.

Takeaway: Fantasy readers will be taken in by the fable-like quality of the story of this story of choosing between good and evil.

Great for fans of: Robin McKinley, Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B