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Stephen C. Merlino - The Jack of Souls

21. The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino (2014)
The Unseen Moon Trilogy Book 1
Length: 343 pages 
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Started: 28 April 2015
Finished: 11 May 2015
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Stephen C. Merlino and to Dorothy from Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 6 March 2015 as an ebook; Since 10 March 2015 as a physical book.
Why do I have it? I like historical fantasy and Stephen C. Merlino is a new author for me.

For most of his nineteen years, Harric Dimoore has lived under the shadow of a curse - and the identity of the curse weaver is his very own mother. According to her premonitions, Harric's mother - a banished member of the Queen's Court, and a sorceress driven to the brink of insanity by her visions - was convinced that the Queen's demise would most certainly come at the hands of her own son. To protect the Queen, his mother cursed Harric to die on his nineteenth birthday.

As his nineteenth birthday approaches, Harric is determined to do everything in his power to break the curse his mother has put on his fate. Even in death, the mad sorceress still haunts Harric, and nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity; his mother's sorcery eats at Harric's soul. Raised to be of service to the Queen, his courtly education was interrupted by his mother's frequent bouts of insanity.

To save himself, Harric has become an outcast rogue - a cunning trickster, honor-bound to defend the innocent and help the downtrodden in a way his mother never could. Yet to survive, Harric will need more than his usual bag of tricks. He'll need help - and a lot of it - but on the kingdom's lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts.

One of these outcasts is Caris - a mysterious runaway with an almost crippling fear of humans, yet a young woman who also has a remarkable affinity for horses. The timidly quiet horse-whisperer has dreams of becoming the Queen's first female knight. Another one of Harric's allies is Sir Willard - a knight errant: an ex-immortal, ex-champion of the Queen, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court. With their help, Harric just might manage to keep his curse at bay. But for how long?

But Harric's companions both bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still haunts her; Willard is still at war with the Old Ones, an insane order of immortal knights  who once enslaved the kingdom. Now, the Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is on the run from his pursuers, and in the midst of one final, desperately personal quest to save his queen.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes. Alone, Harric must face the temptation to use a forbidden magic that could break his curse forever, but cost him the only woman he's ever loved. This is the beginning of a triumphant epic fantasy - a tale of magic, mischief, and miscreants. 

I have always loved reading epic fantasies and this book was no different. The story and plot was well-written and exciting, and I was drawn quickly into the story right from the beginning. The characters were sympathetically drawn and well-developed. In my opinion, this was a fantastic beginning to an unusual series, and I'm absolutely caught up in the story and really want to know how the series continues. I give The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino an A! and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series: The Knave of Souls.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

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