Title: Year of the Reaper
Author: Makiia Lucier
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: November 9th, 2021
Publisher: Clarion Books
“The past never forgets…
Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.
Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer… one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.” (Goodreads)
So, yeah. I loved this one.
I was scared to start this one since I had seen lower rated reviews but was hoping that this would be a gem. And boy, was it! It was one of those where I became enamored by the story from the beginning because the way she writes is amazing.
The book is told from the third person narrative, which is my favorite. It is also a male protagonist that the reader follows and let me just say how wonderful that was. Most of the time in YA Fantasy it is a female protagonist and sometimes we get multiple point-of-views for a female and male, but to just have the male protagonist alone was great. By far one of my favorite characters to read about this year.
Cas has been through a lot since the plague began. He is on a journey home with a new skill and what he left behind isn’t the same anymore. It is easy to feel something for this character. Cas is broken and dealing with PTSD. The last three years of his life haven’t been sunshine and rainbows. It’s been brutally dark. Even though I can’t relate to what he has gone through, I can see how the plague correlates to our own world today and what we have been dealing with for the last couple of years. I wanted to see him rise above his struggles and have a better life. One that he deserved wholeheartedly.
You can use the word resilient when talking about many of the other characters in this book. They want a better world which includes peace between two warring kingdoms and they want to stop the spread of the plague. They accomplish this through many routes and sometimes what you think isn’t always the reality of that action. There is a mystery surrounding some of the plot and it had me hooked. The mystery was a nice touch to this already impressive plot. I got to 60% by bed time and then decided I didn’t need sleep so I kept on going. It was too good to put down.
Usually a book like this would be hard for me to like. Standalones can be iffy especially for the fantasy genre. It also isn’t overly complex when it comes to the plot. But the thing is is that the book didn’t need an overly complex plot. It was easy to follow along, had the right amount of suspense, and it’s filled with great characters that you can’t help but want to know more about. Besides, that ending was adorable and I can’t help but root for the bit of romance we got between two of the characters.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I’m going to talk about it forever so be warned! Now, go read it if you haven’t!