The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox
Genre: MG Fantasy
This book is part of the Feed your Reader Giveaway Hop. 3 lucky people will win a ebook version of The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox. Link to the rafflecopter is HERE and at the end of the post.
Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.
Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard,” Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.
Overall: I devoured this sequel overnight – seriously, I went to sleep at 3am cause of this book. It’s hard to find MG fantasy that has the world-building depth of adult fantasy books. Once again, I adore the black and white illustrations of Victoria Simcox. Her artistic talent definitely rivals her writing skill. The Black Shard picks up with Kristina (now 15) suffering through the company of Hester and Davina at summer camp. For those who haven’t read the first book, the first couple chapters may be confusing. Once Kristina re-renters Bernovem, The Black Shard is easy to follow without reading the first book.
Characters: I was disappointing that Kristina had not grown as a character from the end of the last book into this book. She is still insecure, shy, and naive. She doesn’t act her age. I would say that she acts about 12 or 13 and that was my major gripe for this novel. Most of the characters in this novel act like preteens instead of teenagers. I understand that this is designated for MG readers but I still expected teenagers to act like teenagers. Hester and Davina are still horrible children, although Davina is a little less so then before the first adventure. I definitely grew to love Davina over the course of the novel. Hester not so much. The chemistry between Werrien and Kristina was hit or miss through-out the novel. They never seemed to be on the same mental page.
Plot: Apparently only Kristina remembers the first adventure the group had in the fantasy land of Bernovem and her real life pretty much still sucks. Davina and Graham aren’t nearly as mean to Kristina as they were in the first book, but Hester is a complete spoiled brat. Hester and Davina seem to have a love/hate relationship with each other. There were a few sections that dragged – when Werrien’s father info dumped and then when the evil villains at the end info dumped. I hate reading info dumps. Besides that, I really liked the action in this book. The villains were scary and I was worried about Kristina’s safety and sanity through its entirety. There is romance in this book, but its very downplayed to fit the audience.
Ending: The ending definitely leads into the third book. I thought that the villains at the end talked way too much but otherwise I enjoyed the twists. I was SO not expecting this one particular character to be as bad as she was. There are reveals at the end of this book that actually explain the purpose of certain characters from both books. The Black Shard wasn’t perfect, but it is still an amazing read. I am definitely looking forward to the next book.
This book is good for fans of MG fantasy.
I technically received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review, but to be honest I forgot to retrieve my copy of the book before the coupon expired so I ended up buying a copy. Worth the money IMO.
About the Author:
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children’s Celtic band. She also loves reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends