Amazon (available on KU)
Fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres, so anytime I see a new fantasy romance author, I leap for joy at the prospect of a new world to dive into. After reading Leviathan's Song, I can safely say that Elsie Winters is a bright star for the future of fantasy, creating a world full of rich culture, unique characters, and engaging plotlines that speak to my soul. If it weren't for the need to sleep, I would have read this in one sitting - it was that good. The worldbuilding was thorough yet not overwhelming, allowing the reader to slowly immerse themselves without feeling like they were getting information overload. There were several intriguing side characters that were key players in the plot, rather than serving as merely comic relief or introductions for future books. Although I am extremely excited to read the next book, as I already know who it will be about!
The world is divided into two lands - the Void and the Boundlands. The Void is where all pureblooded humans lived, unable to pass into the Boundlands, where magical beings resided. Depending on the mix of a being's bloodlines, they may be able to pass from one to the other, but many perish in the attempt or find themselves slowly dying the longer they are there. Elara Hawthorne is of mixed elvish blood, allowing her to live in both worlds, and she spends most of her time creating magical charms and using her magic for good rather than evil. So when a shady character comes knocking, wanting her to make him a golem, she immediately declines and finds herself in danger. Levi Navarre is a siren, born of a human father and a mer mother, and Elara is attracted to him instantly. When Elara is in danger, he comes to her aid, and soon she finds him guarding her every move. Her attraction to him goes beyond his siren magic, as her charms deflect the worst of it, but Levi is insistent that they keep their distance. Otherwise a permanent bond could form between them, and if she leaves him, his life would be full of pain and misery. As they work together to keep her safe and assist with a growing crisis in the Boundlands, keeping apart is no longer an option, and soon it's not just their lives but their hearts that are in danger.
I adored Elara and Levi to pieces! They were both such lovable, strong characters who I immediately felt a connection to. While Elara came from a place of privilege, having powerful parents with wealth and high connections, Levi was less lucky, having to use his siren abilities to make money and enduring each day without hope for love or familial support. Elara and Levi started off a bit rocky, but as they spent more time together, it was clear that there was a strong spark between them. Levi fought it every chance he could, not believing it could lead anywhere good, and I felt for him so much. To grow up unwanted by your mother or your people, with a father who drowned in his sorrows in an often harmful way...that must have been a terrible way to grow up. Which is why I was so happy that Elara was there for him and constantly reminding him that he was worthy of affection and love. Elara was an absolute gem, caring more about other people than herself, and she was consistently looking for the good in everyone, not in a naive way but rather in a way that showed her genuinely beautiful heart. She was strong, despite her small stature, and she stood up for herself and others whenever she could. The fact that Levi found it sexy was the cherry on top of this relationship. This relationship was GOALS. I can't stress this enough.
The next book focuses on Sidney, who was an utter delight. Her feisty nature had me laughing several times throughout the book, and her strong bond with Elara was so amazing. I love seeing great female friendships in romance novels, especially when they are just as engaging as the romance itself. I can't wait to see where Sidney's book takes us in this magical world!
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**