Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

The Shattered Court (A Novel of the Four Arts #1)
Author:  M.J. Scott
Publisher:  Roc, 336 pages
Expected Publication Date:  April 28, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…

The Shattered Court is a fantastic first book in a new fantasy series.  I enjoyed learning about the world, where women practice earth magic and men practice battle magic (blood magic and illusions).  Where women bind their magic to the goddess and to their husbands, leaving them with hardly any power.  Where the enemy country lets their witches be free and they also practice a forbidden magic, air magic, in which they use demons somehow.  It's fascinating.  For example, with blood magic, men use it to fight, but they feel a lot of the pain that they inflict.

Sophie is a lady in waiting to the princess.  She's about to turn twenty-one and that's the age when you find out if you have magic or you don't.  There are certain rituals that have to happen if magic manifests, although Sophie doesn't really know what they mean.  But those rituals don't happen because the castle is attacked and Sophie and Cameron (a lieutenant with the royal guard) escape through a portal and are on the run when she turns twenty-one.  Then they do something that changes everything and puts Sophie in danger.  

I liked Sophie and Cameron together.  They're drawn to one another, and, although they don't know each other very well, they like each other, they talk, they're honest with each other, and they don't play games.  That was refreshing.  Their relationship is complicated by the fact that he was the princess's lover (by the way, this is an adult fantasy novel, with language and explicit sex scenes), so it's not all smooth sailing, but it appears that the author is setting them up to be a good team. 

Filled with magic, royal intrigue, and romance, I loved this one.  Definitely recommend!

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I'm not usually into reads that have witches, but this one sounds really intriguing. Great review!

  2. Great review, Pam! I've heard good things about this one, but I'm not crazy about the romantic set up (with him being the queen's lover). But I do like that they work together and communicate! We need more of that in fantasy romances, for sure.

  3. I was going to say that this sounds like my kind of book but then I read Danielle's comment which sends a red flag. Was that handled well?

  4. This is a fantasy/??!? I remember seeing the book and thinking about what a beautiful cover it had but I thought it was just an adult historical drama :O :O. The magic you've described does indeed sound really fascinating; I LOVE fantasies that play off gender politics (makes them so fascinating to discuss, no?).

    I'm interested in this romance between Sophie and Cameron and how the lack of rituals for Sophie would play into the plot. S/C reminds me of how I would describe the romance between Po and Katsa in Graceling (well... minus the part on being the princess's lover hahah).

    Argh if only there was more time to read these different books! ALL the books.

  5. Oooh this sounds super interesting! I'm trying to read more adult fantasy this year so I'll be adding this one to the list. I love the idea of the different types of magic for males and females and I love a good badass heroine breaking out of the patriarchal society. Great review!