Asunder by L. Steinworth
The Shadowen Thieves Guild will do anything for the right price. From stealing to kidnapping, gold is their number one priority. But not everyone in the guild enjoys the gristly work they do. There are certain lines Alden will not cross. When the guild kidnaps Princess Mayli, he knows something must be done. With the help of members within the guild, Alden rides off with Mayli, in the hopes he can return her back to her family before the guild catches up with them. But a Princess's ransom is a lot of gold to lose, and the guild does not take betrayal lightly.
Enter a well-crafted world of fantasy and adventure as Alden and Mayli journey the countryside on their quest. The history of the world is interwoven into their story, allowing the reader to slowly submerge themselves into the world of Vatan. Emotionally captivating, you will be crying and cheering alongside the characters as they struggle with internal burdens and scarred pasts.
While Mayli is a princess, she is no damsel in distress. She certainly gives Alden a run for his money, as she proves to be strong-willed and capable of protecting herself. She also doesn't hesitate to push Alden's boundaries every chance she can, providing the reader with a series of entertaining exchanges. It makes you laugh at the same time you feel bad for Alden with the predicaments he ends up in.
Complex characters are always my favorite and Alden is all that and more. His motives and behavior will keep you guessing throughout the entire book. It's clear he wants to save Mayli, but there is so much more to him. While he isn't the best fighter, he is determined to keep Mayli safe and it's his loyalty that will help him through the darkest times.
Despite a large number of characters, each of them was given enough page time to allow the reader a chance to remember them. The story itself was fast-paced and followed a well-developed plot. This is the best debut novel by an independent author I have ever read.
The world of Asunder is filled with daring escapes, budding romance, and epic battles. It will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page and leave you waiting impatiently for the next book in The King's Renegade series.
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