I just had the pleasure of reading The Sapphire Flute (Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga) by my friend, Karen E. Hoover. It's a YA fantasy and it's off to a good start.
Here's a teaser:
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.
In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.
At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.
Okay, so first off, I just need to say that this is a book I wish I could have gotten my hands on back when Rosehaven was in its heyday. I love YA fantasy and I especially love it when there is a unique and believable world and strong female characters. This story had both.
Karen has created Rasann with a clever and diverse magical system, where each of the gods of the world are associated with a color and an object. In this book, we learn about the Sapphire Flute which creates magic when played.
The Sapphire Flute is the story of Ember and Kayla, both young women trying to find their way in a confusing world with the typical teenage angst and issues compounded by their newly acquired magical powers—all while avoiding the notice and wrath of C'Tan, the villain who wants to take their powers and use them for her own purposes.
Ember's father died when she was an infant and her mother keeps her sheltered from the world of magic. However, Ember soon discovers she's inherited some of her father's magical shape-shifting powers and her journey becomes one of learning who she is, where she came from, and how to wield the magic that is a part of her.
Kayla is mysteriously gifted the Sapphire Flute with the charge to keep it safe from C'Tan, at all costs. A bit impetuous, she must learn to control her impulses and her desire to play the flute, while figuring out what she's supposed to do with it.
Both girls take individual journeys that will eventually (I presume, in future books) bring them together for a final battle against evil.
I think this book will appeal most to readers in the 12 to 14 age range, especially girls who like a good fantasy. Adult readers who love YA fantasy may also enjoy the book.
This is Karen's debut book and I think she's done a good job creating this world and introducing us to characters that live and breathe. I'm looking forward to seeing more of their journey. I loved the plot. I will definitely read book two in this series.
The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover was released March 16, 2009 by Valor Publishing Group. It's 370 pages, hardbound. Valor Publishing provided me with an ARC in exchange for this review.