The Killing Fog (The Grave Kingdom, #1)
The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain series conjures an epic, adventurous world of ancient myth and magic as a young woman’s battle with infinite evil begins.Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman, and collector of rare artifacts, has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price.Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s.Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds.

The Killing Fog (The Grave Kingdom, #1) Details

TitleThe Killing Fog (The Grave Kingdom, #1)
Author
ReleaseMar 1st, 2020
Publisher47North
ISBN-139781542015011
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction

The Killing Fog (The Grave Kingdom, #1) Review

  • Khurram
    January 1, 1970
    Destiny, faith and choiceA great book and story with plenty to come. This book is a perfect blend of Chinese culture, fantasy and Martial Arts.The book starts as a revenge story, with martial arts and a bit of magic. I like the martial arts fight in the book are great. I really wise Martial Arts masters. That is what I think is missing from martial art teaching today. I have trained with very good practitioners of hard arts who were great coaches but not the best people to get life advice from.A Destiny, faith and choiceA great book and story with plenty to come. This book is a perfect blend of Chinese culture, fantasy and Martial Arts.The book starts as a revenge story, with martial arts and a bit of magic. I like the martial arts fight in the book are great. I really wise Martial Arts masters. That is what I think is missing from martial art teaching today. I have trained with very good practitioners of hard arts who were great coaches but not the best people to get life advice from.A group of Martial Arts adventures have been charged with finding a lost Kingdom for its riches however what they do is unleash something long buried into their world.I really enjoyed watching the main character grow. From someone only looking for revenge to a true warrior. I also like the fact that she is conflicted about her destiny. It makes her character more real and relatable.This is a great book for anyone who who loves old school Kung Fu movies. The story of the book gets better as the book goes along. The action is top notch, the story is good and I can't wait for the next book.
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  • CR
    January 1, 1970
    Although this is set for adult readers I wanted to let you know that I think some young adults might enjoy this as well. Its a very clean story. I mean I have some young adult titles that have more gore and sex in it than this one did. Because it didn't have any. You would have thought that with a title like The Killing Fog that we would have gotten something. But there just isn't. And I am not saying thats a bad thing, but it was kind of weird if you ask me. Anyway the characters were great the Although this is set for adult readers I wanted to let you know that I think some young adults might enjoy this as well. Its a very clean story. I mean I have some young adult titles that have more gore and sex in it than this one did. Because it didn't have any. You would have thought that with a title like The Killing Fog that we would have gotten something. But there just isn't. And I am not saying thats a bad thing, but it was kind of weird if you ask me. Anyway the characters were great the pacing worked well for the story and yes I want another one!! I need more stories set in this world.
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  • Hannah Osborn
    January 1, 1970
    "Revenge settles nothing. It only poisons those who carry it in their hearts.”-The Killing Fog by Jeff Wheeler My thoughts: Two nights ago, I was outside with my elderly beagle. While he sniffed his way around my yard, I watched the sky. The moon was full and it cast a silvery glow on the grass and trees, only interrupted by clouds that seemed to be growing as I watched. It had been an unseasonably warm day and only now did a cold wind start stirring around me. The air was moist and seemed to "Revenge settles nothing. It only poisons those who carry it in their hearts.”-The Killing Fog by Jeff Wheeler My thoughts: Two nights ago, I was outside with my elderly beagle. While he sniffed his way around my yard, I watched the sky. The moon was full and it cast a silvery glow on the grass and trees, only interrupted by clouds that seemed to be growing as I watched. It had been an unseasonably warm day and only now did a cold wind start stirring around me. The air was moist and seemed to run its cold fingers across my skin. As the breeze picked up, it carried the smell of damp earth and decaying leaves. The hair raised on my arms and neck as I felt like I was being watched. It was eerie and unnerving. I hurried my dog inside and dead bolted my door against the dark and whatever was in it.You may be wondering what this has to do with The Killing Fog by Jeff Wheeler. That's reasonable. Bear with me and I'll tell you. Wheeler has a way with words that immediately pulls you into the setting within the first paragraph. He draws on all the senses in his world building and puts you straight in the middle of a world that is touched by ancient China and Mongolia. You can smell the camphor, myrrh, and cinnamon. You can hear the marketplace or the shouts of the soldiers. You can see the boats laden with fish. And yes, you can feel the eeriness and foreboding of the Killing Fog. It was a feeling almost exactly like my midnight excursion with my pup and I wanted to lock my doors lest the fog rolled in and claimed my furballs' lives. Bingmei has faced far more than an unnerving dog walk, as she lives and breathes in this wild world Wheeler has created. She has faced loss upon loss and now struggles with developing attachments. Here are her thoughts after one such loss:"Loss quivered in her chest again, though she tried to still the wrenching sensation . Death was something that happened often. It did no good to become too attached to people ."Bingmei often feels throughout the book that she would not sacrifice herself for anyone. That she is selfish. Over the course of the book she comes to the conclusion that she would die for her friend Quion and that maybe she's not as selfish as she thought. When she's asked to sacrifice herself for a cause greater than herself she balks at the idea. Maybe it's selfishness on Bingmei's part or maybe it's because too many have already died to preserve her life. Maybe throwing her life away seems to her that it wastes their sacrifice. This is a truly honest feeling. How many of us would choose to sacrifice ourselves, given the chance to think about it beforehand? Overall, I don't think any of that detracts from her character since it is such a human thing to feel. Bingmei is likable and fierce. She has secret skills that are unique from most fantasy books I've read. The supporting characters were also interesting. Bunmia Suun is her master and a maternal figure in Bingmei's life. She is highly skilled as a warrior and highly moral. Her honor and how she lives it day to day is refreshing as it's not cheesy or portrayed as weaker than the more morally ambiguous characters. She loves her followers dearly and treats Bingmei as a daughter. One quote I liked, is Bunmia describing herself:"When I take an assignment to protect something, I protect it as a mother does her cubs. It is powerful magic. The most powerful, I believe."We also have two potential love interests that, thankfully, never descends into a love triangle. Any romantic feelings are secondary to the rest storyline. The first is Quion. He is the sweet, steadfast boy-next-door. The other is Rowen, our brooding bad boy that is more than he seems. I look forward to seeing which one "wins the girl". This is a very clean read where love is hinted at more than anything. One last thing, I truly appreciate what Wheeler has done with this book. The female characters are strong, fierce, moral, and honorable without falling into stereotypes that still prevail in fantasy fiction. How many times are a woman's strength portrayed as being less than a man's and she needs to be rescued from her innate weakness? Here the men and women are on equal footing. Their strengths are different but equal. If one character shows any weakness, it is because they are human, not because they are male or female. Many thanks to the author for writing his characters that way. Also, my thanks to Netgalley for the ARC on exchange for my honest review.“Real love is displayed when a choice has to be made. It would be easy to heal everyone who was sick if it didn’t cost you anything. But what if it meant excruciating pain? Then you would have to make a choice: Do I love enough to take on that pain, or do I take the easy route and keep this gift to myself?”Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse Some recommended reading that I think is similar to this book:Daughter of Light by Morgan L. BusseMark of the Raven by Morgan L. BusseProphet by R.J. LarsonA Cast of Stones by Patrick W. CarrRed Winter by Annette Marie
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  • Christi M
    January 1, 1970
    The Killing Fog is the first in a new Asian-inspired fantasy series by Jeff Wheeler. I’m ashamed to say I have seen his other works, but never got around to reading them even though they have been on my list for a while. So, I am very happy to be able to read this first one in his new series.One of the main features fantasy readers always look to when attempting to decide if a book is right for them is in the world-building. In The Killing Fog, the world has associations called ensigns’, which The Killing Fog is the first in a new Asian-inspired fantasy series by Jeff Wheeler. I’m ashamed to say I have seen his other works, but never got around to reading them even though they have been on my list for a while. So, I am very happy to be able to read this first one in his new series.One of the main features fantasy readers always look to when attempting to decide if a book is right for them is in the world-building. In The Killing Fog, the world has associations called ensigns’, which are groups of trained warriors that can be hired for a variety of reasons. Magic is also in the world, but is never used as a first resort. Bingmei is part of an Kunmia’s ensign, an honorable ensign. The story truly begins when King Budei, one of their patrons, hires them to find an artifact at the Summer Palace. With fear of giving too much away the main story takes the reader to two different kingdoms as well as the Summer Palace, which is also called Fusang.Although, I’m still not quite sure what to make of Bingmei’s personality, I can say for certain that I didn’t find her disagreeable, but I also didn’t find her shy or extroverted or anything particular memorable other than a special talent she has. She also has white hair – something she tries very hard to hide since her hair color is known to frighten people and make them uncomfortable. At the end of the book a very difficult decision is forced upon her and I suspect it will be her struggle with this decision that will begin to fully endear her to me.Overall, I found the world-building easy to follow and never felt weighed down by too much being thrown at me. Lately I’ve been finding myself really enjoying the Asian-inspired fantasy novels that I’ve run across and this was no exception. At the same time, I did feel it lose just a little steam in a small portion of the book right before the climax began occurring. There was plenty going on at that moment so I’m not quite sure why I felt that way, but it occurred for me nevertheless. Even with this in mind, I definitely enjoyed the book and plan to pick up the next in the series.Rating: 4 starsThanks to 47North and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    What a fantastic work of fantasy! I was reading two other books when I started this one and literally had to put them down while I finished this. I think fans of Priory of the Orange Tree would love this as much as I did. Endearing characters, descriptive scenery and a compelling story line made this a WINNER in my book. It's going on my favorites list. I cannot wait for The Buried World(The Grave Kingdom #2) to come out.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    Strong yet conflicted HeroineI'd previously read another book from this Author, so when I saw this one was available as a First Reads selection, I selected it. I was intrigued by the main character, but found the World and the plot premise difficult to absorb. The Asian names and locale were not easy to mentally pronounce or remember, making the flow of reading a little tiresome. The writing style was typical epic fantasy--flowery and overly descriptive. Although a good length for a first book Strong yet conflicted HeroineI'd previously read another book from this Author, so when I saw this one was available as a First Reads selection, I selected it. I was intrigued by the main character, but found the World and the plot premise difficult to absorb. The Asian names and locale were not easy to mentally pronounce or remember, making the flow of reading a little tiresome. The writing style was typical epic fantasy--flowery and overly descriptive. Although a good length for a first book in a series, the ending (?) definitely didn't resolve anything, which really left me unsatisfied.Yes, it was interesting. There was magic, bloody action, and political intrigue. Hints of romance. Yes, I read it to the un-end. However, I'm undecided as to whether I'll read the second book. 3-1/2 Stars for me.
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  • June Calvin
    January 1, 1970
    Good world building but . . .The world building in this book is fantastic. The main character is well-drawn, and the plot is exciting. But far too much of the book is taken up with fight scene after fight scene. Bones crunch, blood flows and spatters, foes fall, only to be replaced by ever more mindless, faceless enemies. I got heartily tired of prolonged fight scenes. Even though I am curious about how the story proceeds, I simply can't wade through more of the same, and there is no reason to Good world building but . . .The world building in this book is fantastic. The main character is well-drawn, and the plot is exciting. But far too much of the book is taken up with fight scene after fight scene. Bones crunch, blood flows and spatters, foes fall, only to be replaced by ever more mindless, faceless enemies. I got heartily tired of prolonged fight scenes. Even though I am curious about how the story proceeds, I simply can't wade through more of the same, and there is no reason to expect anything else.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this more but the book is a thin pastiche of Chinese Wuxia and not an overly original concept. The main character is not a sympathetic hero though I know we are supposed to believe she is, however she is incredibly selfish and shortsighted. Some of the story beats are too obvious, the future books are most likely going to be just as obvious.
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  • Fazila's Book Review Corner
    January 1, 1970
    FBRC REVIEW : DISCLAIMER : I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an ARC of this book. The Killing Fog by Jeff wheeler is the first book in the Grave Kingdom series. It is a very promising first book and pulled me in from the very beginning. The book is about an orphaned teenager Bingmei who belongs to a school where they are trained to be warriors. They are available for hire by the Kings to complete FBRC REVIEW : DISCLAIMER : I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an ARC of this book. The Killing Fog by Jeff wheeler is the first book in the Grave Kingdom series. It is a very promising first book and pulled me in from the very beginning. The book is about an orphaned teenager Bingmei who belongs to a school where they are trained to be warriors. They are available for hire by the Kings to complete various missions. Bingmei and her journey are one of exploration, growth, and sacrifice. Will she able to sacrifice herself for the people and do they deserve it? The story was fascinating, engaging, and a definite page-turner with the right pacing and story development. I also loved the glossary and the character details provided in the book as a reference. There were proverbs (Dawanjir) spread out throughout the book that I really loved. The group is lead by a fierce leader Kunmia. Kunmia is hired by King Budai to collect various artifacts that contain magic. He then comes across a fisherman who found a rare piece of stone that is claimed to be the part of the Summer Palace. They set forth on this journey teaming up with another Quonsuun to find out if the stories of the Summer Palace and its existence is true or not. The team is ambushed by bandits and by following their leader's instructions they get pulled into an unexpected situation. Bingmei unknowingly brings Echion the Emperor of Darkness into existence and therefore dooming their country into destruction, despair, and tyranny.Bingmei is our central character and we follow her from when is 12 yrs old to her teenage years as a young adult. Her character is brave, smart and special. She is someone who is said to have the winter sickness which is loathed in certain parts of her country whereas welcomed and respected in other neighboring countries. Her pale skin and white hair have always been looked at with contempt and wariness by people. Her parents and her grandfather loved her enough to avoid getting hurt by outsiders. Her training began at a very young age. She was a hard worker who had the passion and dedication to be a warrior. Her character was not that of a perfect girl who is flawed, selfish at times and someone who made her own survival a priority. I loved her character and the role she plays in bringing the story together.Kunmia is a fierce warrior with the heart of gold. She was a second parent to Bingmei and guided her journey. She is protective, selfless and a great example to follow for her young followers. I loved her and how she was secure and confident in her position as the leader of her Quonsuun. She handled her situations very well and was always humble.Marenqo, Zhui, and Meishi were great cast as well. They were different and had their voices with interesting traits. The fisherman Quion is also a great supporting character. They all were amazing. Bao Damanhur is the leader of the second Quonsuun. He is arrogant, prideful and a great warrior as well. He is an interesting character and his relationship with Prince Rowen is also fascinating. They are all unique. All these characters and their motivation to be part of the expedition to find the Summer Palace. Their skillset and strengths help them move forward on their journey. The expedition itself was risky to attempt and the outcome was unknown. The greed and need to be in power shifts from some characters to the other character.Rowen as a character hasn't shown his true nature, he is very good at controlling his emotions and not letting it get the best of him. He is prideful, jealous, and ambitious. He is not what you expect in a prince and yet you can't help their cause because they are all banded together to ward off the enemies. One thing the book has in common is the characters are gray. Morality, right or wrong is something they grapple with. They do understand the severity of situations but have difficulty doing the right thing as well.Emperor Echion is truly a great villain and the perfect antagonist with powers unknown to the characters and dark magic that rivals the living world. His limitations are unknown and the extent to which he might use magic to gain power is not something we can imagine at this point. He is without mercy, prideful and arrogant. I want to know more about him and how it all connects him to Bingmei.We see the elements of greed, revenge and the aftermath of these. How the power and the greed for more end up with more people dead. The book is not heavy on gore, it was clean but at the same time had fight sequences, adventures they take us on. I am extremely curious about Bingmei and her special skills. I wasn't a fan of it in the beginning and after the story progressed I was OK with it. I want to know more about their background, history of the place and the connections they have to current events. I wonder how Bingmei will accomplish her task and come out unscathed as well. It is nearly impossible, but I love her determination and motivation to do things. Hopefully, we will get an amazing sequel to this book. I can’t wait to read it and discover more of Echion, Bingmei, and Rowen.Overall this was a fun and engaging read. I loved it and totally recommend it to all YA fantasy readers. It's unique, well written and amazing...Definitely check it out...
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  • Tessa
    January 1, 1970
    When I first saw this book, I wasn’t so sure about it. The title sounded like a Stephen King horror story, and the main character has a name that I wasn’t sure how to pronounce. But Amazon First Reads doesn’t offer fantasy novels very often, and Jeff Wheeler is a good fantasy writer – so I took the chance and made it my first reads selection. I am happy I did because…WOW! What an incredible epic fantasy story – rich and vibrant with characters who jump off of the page and into your heart. I’m When I first saw this book, I wasn’t so sure about it. The title sounded like a Stephen King horror story, and the main character has a name that I wasn’t sure how to pronounce. But Amazon First Reads doesn’t offer fantasy novels very often, and Jeff Wheeler is a good fantasy writer – so I took the chance and made it my first reads selection. I am happy I did because…WOW! What an incredible epic fantasy story – rich and vibrant with characters who jump off of the page and into your heart. I’m just marveling at how extraordinarily lucky I am to be able to get it for free. I can’t correctly pronounce any character or place names, but that does not matter in the least. I figured out my pronunciations, and no one will be the wiser.Favorite character: QuionA fisherman’s young son, he is neither magical nor a trained fighter. But what he lacks in heroic skills, he makes up for with practical skills and a heart that is loyal and true. He adores Bingmei, the main character, and will stick by her side through good and bad. He grabbed my heart instantly, with his innocence and devotion. What I Loved about The Killing FogThe beauty of Asian-inspired mythology so vibrantly and majestically described is a wonderfully mystical backdrop for the epic hero-journey of the story. Palaces, runes, statues that come to life, crickets carved out of a particular wood that allows the person holding it to jump like a cricket – The Killing Fog has it all.The characters are so well developed that they instantly draw you into the story. I chose Quion as my favorite character, but it was a tough decision because all the characters in the main character’s ensign, including Bingmei, have something about them that is relatable and sympathetic. I wonder if it is because of Bingmei’s magical ability to smell emotions – that enables you to experience characters on a whole different level and know them not just based on their actions but by their scents.I loved the potential romances set up between various characters. They were all innocent and may or may not develop as the series continues. That is just one more thing to look forward to. Among others, will Bingmei ends up with Quion, who she doesn’t even realize has feelings for her and who is wholly devoted to her or Rowen, who is as conflicted as he is heroic. When the world is at its darkest, it’s love that provides that spark of hope that everything can be made right.The world-building is so lush and vibrant that it is natural to be drawn in. I found a rival to Rivendale for my favorite fictional vacation spot. From the network of palaces encased in ice to those outside of the ice, once the evil is conquered, I can’t imagine a more opulent place to stay.Even the combat scenes have a beauty to them with everyone trained in the martial arts. Fighting becomes more about form rather than savage butchery.To Read or Not to ReadThis novel is the start of the best new epic fantasy series that I have come across in a long while. If you love fantasy, as I do, you will want this on your virtual or actual bookshelf.
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  • Ian Strawbridge
    January 1, 1970
    I read this because I loved the Kingfountain series (five stars for the early books in that series, it tails off). I wanted to see where Jeff went next because I decided not to go to Muirwood!He went to China, it doesn't matter what authors call that wall, it's obvious! There seems to be more and more eastern based fantasy at the moment, is that a trend, a fashion? I hope so… It's what I'm writing!There plot here is very engaging throughout. It builds to a climax nicely but the climax itself was I read this because I loved the Kingfountain series (five stars for the early books in that series, it tails off). I wanted to see where Jeff went next because I decided not to go to Muirwood!He went to China, it doesn't matter what authors call that wall, it's obvious! There seems to be more and more eastern based fantasy at the moment, is that a trend, a fashion? I hope so… It's what I'm writing!There plot here is very engaging throughout. It builds to a climax nicely but the climax itself was… lacking. I guess that's OK, book two is coming and it's coming quickly, I'll read it. For me, the magic came too fast and too hard, but that's just me. I prefer a gradual build up of magic with foreshadowing of its existence.The settings are the greatest part of this book and I can't wait to see where we are taken in the rest of the series. A palace in a glacier, just genius. The cities and countryside are well portrayed and I often found myself lost in the world, I liked the merge of historical and post-apocolyptic and that's definitely given me food for thought.I can speak a little Chinese so I was OK with the names and pronunciations in this book. Others may find it annoying. But, let's get more Chinese references into western fiction, well done, Jeff!The characters are where this book falls slightly flat. I found myself rooting for Bingmei; but I don't identify with her in the same way as I did with Owen (and Trynne) in the Kingfountain series. There was just something that I still can't quite put my finger on. I think because she was conflicted herself, that made me conflicted about her. I don't know… Also, Muxidi I thought was a good villain, but Echion… It's difficult with the book only being from Bingmei's point-of-view. Again, the villains are nowhere near as good as, for example, Severn Argentine in the Kingfountain series.I liked this book and will finish the series.What do you think? What should I review next? I'd love to hear from you.Favourite quotes:"When there is trust, no proof in necessary. When there is none, no proof is possible.""There were only rumors, whispered a thousand times until they sounded like truth.""My father said there is no such thing as bad weather. Only bad clothes.""When you never know which day will be your last, it's important to eat well every day."Plot - 4.2 icerosesCharacters - 3.8 icerosesSetting - 4.4 icerosesOverall - 4.1 iceroses
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  • The Mother Cover Lover
    January 1, 1970
    Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler...How can such an awful predicament seem so serene? Strange. I strolled through Jeff Wheeler's pages of THE KILLING FOG centered, enlightened, while the forces of this unknown land released horrible terrors. I can't help, but go back to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. That beauty stricken time frame with hardships, determination, honor, and the unforeseen deaths.THE KILLING FOG is Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler...How can such an awful predicament seem so serene? Strange. I strolled through Jeff Wheeler's pages of THE KILLING FOG centered, enlightened, while the forces of this unknown land released horrible terrors. I can't help, but go back to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. That beauty stricken time frame with hardships, determination, honor, and the unforeseen deaths.THE KILLING FOG is considered adult, however, it is clean. Super clean in the aspects of no cussing, there's high level mind sets of what is right and wrong, and no sex or over lusty moments. Even the fighting scenes, minus a few characters who perish, are not overly cringe worthy. One might ask with all of these none existing layers in an adult Sci-fi/Fantasy how did you come to enjoy it so much? Didn't you miss the bloodshed?Sometimes those aren't needed when the elegance of a story commands more than the need for the bloody tales with gore. The essence of THE KILLING FOG is so much more.I am a dark fan reading type of girl, and the lack of these qualities didn't affect me in the slightest. Honestly, I appreciated the change and fell in love with the honor and determination of the characters. The magic that misted into the story line and the pacing was phenomenal. I enjoyed so much how bits of the story pieced together with time with no intention to fast track due to the end is coming. The characters, oh, I enjoyed their slight differences. The twist of Bingmei's ability... now, I'm not spoiling that for you. Jeff Wheeler is truly a master at pulling together an amazing story. There is so much as a writer myself, I'm taking away after reading THE KILLING FOG.I don't know if I would've ever read THE KILLING FOG given it's none dark feel, but I'm delighted I went out of my zone and did. THE KILLING FOG rates 4.5/5 stars for me. I'm excited to see where The Grave Kingdom Series goes and how Bingmei continues to evolve. I for one will definitely have my eye's peeled for the following sequel!I received an ARC of THE KILLING FOG by Jeff Wheeler in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of the review.Let’s be honest here. If it was great or sucked, I have no problem writing it out.Check out THE MOTHER COVER LOVER BLOG @ www.jenarcolliins.com for the full Cover Critique as well!
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    And this is why Amazon First Reads is a Thing, and should be cherished by all book lovers.This BOOK. Good grief, I am SO happy that I’ve found this series. I’m not great with book series’... there’s not many that I actually finish. But from page 50 of The Killing Fog, I knew this to be a series I would continue. This is my first read of a book by Jeff Wheeler, and I am impressed! (Just to note here: I believe this book is marketed as an adult fantasy series, however it is very accessible, in my And this is why Amazon First Reads is a Thing, and should be cherished by all book lovers.This BOOK. Good grief, I am SO happy that I’ve found this series. I’m not great with book series’... there’s not many that I actually finish. But from page 50 of The Killing Fog, I knew this to be a series I would continue. This is my first read of a book by Jeff Wheeler, and I am impressed! (Just to note here: I believe this book is marketed as an adult fantasy series, however it is very accessible, in my opinion, to the young adult market too.)Firstly, it is set in a landscape similar to the Alaskan coast (the author states at the end of the book that he was inspired by the fjords and glaciers and mountains of Alaska when writing this novel), but also uses Chinese folklore and mythology, and the Chinese culture, to weave the unique tale of Bingmei. She is unusual in her world, suffering from the winter sickness that renders her hair white and her skin pale. She is a fighter, and having watched her family murdered as a girl, she is intent upon revenge. However, on a mission to a city hidden beneath a glacier, she unwittingly brings back to life a terrifying king called Echion, who claims to be the Dragon of Night. What I love about this book is its vividness. I can picture those gorgeous snowy landscapes easily, and without overdoing it on the descriptions, Wheeler has brought to life the Grave Kingdom. I also loved the depictions of Wangfujing, the life and colour, the smells and the food, that make this place come alive. Meanwhile, there is a fantastic cast of characters. All the women in this novel are strong and feisty, dependant upon nobody yet fiercely loyal to those they protect and work with. Bingmei’s strange ability to smell the emotions of people mean that the intentions of everyone is instantly clear to us. It’s an interesting part of the story! It is a magical tale. Magic exists in special objects, however to use them can be deadly, for igniting the magic entices the killing fog - which instantly kills anyone that it touches.I rarely read fantasy. I dip in and out of it every now and then but only occasionally does a fantasy story really steal my attention, to the point that I now have no idea what to pick up next because I’m gutted that the second instalment in this series isn’t available for months yet. The Killing Fog, with its gorgeous world and it’s fantastic characters will stay with me for a long while.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    3. 5 stars. I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and 47North.The Killing Fog is the first book in a new series by Jeff Wheeler. I had read and loved his Kingfountain series, so I was excited to read this one. The book takes place in an Asian-inspired world where the past is a mystery that has been lost to time. The protagonist is an orphan named Bingmei, or Ice Rose, so named because she has pale skin and white hair, which is 3. 5 stars. I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and 47North.The Killing Fog is the first book in a new series by Jeff Wheeler. I had read and loved his Kingfountain series, so I was excited to read this one. The book takes place in an Asian-inspired world where the past is a mystery that has been lost to time. The protagonist is an orphan named Bingmei, or Ice Rose, so named because she has pale skin and white hair, which is extremely unusual in this world. She also has the ability to smell people’s intentions and emotions and this is an extremely useful gift that she utilizes throughout the book. After the death of her parents, Bingmei joins another ensign (a group of mercenaries that are hired to protect merchants and kingdoms). Her ensign is hired to find the lost kingdom of Fusang, which has been lost to history. Bingmei finds herself the chosen one who awakens the Dragon of the Night and unleashes his destruction upon the world. Now it is up to her to save the world if she can.I really enjoyed the last half of this book. That’s when the action picked up and it was thrilling and suspensful and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The beginning half of the book was much slower, setting up the world-building and with the ensign travelling for most of it. I had a hard time wanting to pick up the book during this part, but the last half made struggling through the first half worth it. The ensign characters were easy to like, especially the leader, who Bingmei admires for good reason. They were a family and you felt the strong bonds between them, even when they disagreed. Bingmei is a trusted advisor for the leader of the ensign because of her special ability. It is an interesting gift, with different intentions and emotions having different smells, that sometimes are so strong they make Bingmei gag. It gave you an unique insight into the many characters that they meet, but it also made me think about how people can be good even if they sometimes have jealousy or ambition or whatever distasteful emotions that we all sometimes have. I am still a little confused about why Bingmei was fated to awaken the Night Dragon and then also supposed to be his nemesis as this seemed at odds with each other, but the story is engaging enough that I didn’t spend a lot of time pondering this. I am looking forward to reading the sequel and finding out what happens next.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and 47North for letting me read and review this incredible story. I'm already anxiously awaiting the next book in this series! I love and have read most of Jeff Wheeler's works and he never disappoints with his stories full of adventure, intrigue, romance, life lessons and so much more. It's always one wild rollercoaster ride with my emotions when I read one of his books, but I always learn or take away something and enjoy the stories immensely.I always find myself easily Thanks to NetGalley and 47North for letting me read and review this incredible story. I'm already anxiously awaiting the next book in this series! I love and have read most of Jeff Wheeler's works and he never disappoints with his stories full of adventure, intrigue, romance, life lessons and so much more. It's always one wild rollercoaster ride with my emotions when I read one of his books, but I always learn or take away something and enjoy the stories immensely.I always find myself easily lost and immersed in the worlds he creates and invested in the characters and the stories they have to tell. This story is very unique and different from others that Jeff Wheeler has written and just as amazing and engrossing as the others I have read.In this story, we find ourselves following along with this story of an orphaned girl named Bingmei, who is with a group of mercenaries that serve a local ruler. They are sent on a mission to find and retrieve what treasures they can that are in a lost palace buried and preserved in ice. But when they get there, they find more than they bargained for and when they upset the tomb, they unknowingly cause havoc. Bingmei unknowingly brings Echion, Dragon of the Night back to life, waking him from his tomb and now is meant to fulfill her part in the legendary prophecy. She has to destroy Echion before he takes over all the kingdoms and he has to stop her from destroying him. Bingmei knows what she has to do, but she doesn't know if she can do it. This is in a world of ancient myth, legend, magic and is a story about love, loss, grief, balance, duty, honor and what people do when faced with difficult choices in heart-rending situations and so much more. You definitely want to have this one on your list, preorder it and read it as soon as you can.
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  • Tales Untangled
    January 1, 1970
    The Killing Fog has an exciting new world created by Jeff Wheeler. The world is rich and complex with characters facing moral dilemmas.Not only are there factions fighting to exist in a harsh world, but there are unexplained powers within artifacts from a bygone era. When the fog rises it kills those it touches, but no one knows where it originates. The current people live within the cities of a people whose history is lost to time. Why did this former civilization disappear?The main character, The Killing Fog has an exciting new world created by Jeff Wheeler. The world is rich and complex with characters facing moral dilemmas.Not only are there factions fighting to exist in a harsh world, but there are unexplained powers within artifacts from a bygone era. When the fog rises it kills those it touches, but no one knows where it originates. The current people live within the cities of a people whose history is lost to time. Why did this former civilization disappear?The main character, Bingmei, has her life course changed when mercenaries attack her home. As she grows, she comes to find that she values her own life more than revenge.There haven't been dragons for ages, and the lost city she is sent to find might not even exist. When she and her companions find a lost city, they are in awe. There is no way to know what awaits them in this mystic palace. Bingmei is guided on their travels. Even she doesn't know that deception is at the heart of the sword binding to her. Bingmei sets the wheels of destruction in motion when she is tricked by the ancient forces.When Bingmei is seen as a means for peace, she questions the fate planned for her. The rising evil is great, but is it greater than the forces already at work? When there is unspeakable evil in the hearts of mankind, why should she sacrifice herself?I can hardly wait for the next in the series. If you enjoy fantasy novels with interesting worlds, you won't want to miss The Killing Fog!I received an ARC from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.For more reviews go to www.talesuntangled.wordpress.com
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  • ElleM
    January 1, 1970
    This is an easy 4.5 stars for me.Considering I love the fantasy genre so much it's a bit of an oversight for me that I haven't read any of this author's previous books - only because I never knew which series I should begin with! When I saw The Killing Fog - the first in The Grave Kingdom series - offered on Netgalley I jumped at it and am so glad I did.We are thrown immediately into the action as Bingmei's entire family and community is slaughtered and she narrowly escapes. From there the story This is an easy 4.5 stars for me.Considering I love the fantasy genre so much it's a bit of an oversight for me that I haven't read any of this author's previous books - only because I never knew which series I should begin with! When I saw The Killing Fog - the first in The Grave Kingdom series - offered on Netgalley I jumped at it and am so glad I did.We are thrown immediately into the action as Bingmei's entire family and community is slaughtered and she narrowly escapes. From there the story continues to progress at a good pace, neither hurried or too slow, and Bingmei becomes a formidable fighter in a band of mercenaries led by Kunmia. Kunmia's team are sent on a mission, along with an exiled prince and his friend, to find a legendary palace buried beneath a glacier. Also buried and now awoken is a powerful lord, Echion, who commands a legion of outlaws and who rules over The Grave Kingdom - the kingdom of the dead.I loved the Asian influences throughout the book. It was very fitting for the storyline. The author has drawn a cast of characters whose unique strengths and weaknesses are revealed bit by bit along the way. Together they make a strong ensemble. The magical components add an element of unpredictability to the story.I now know why Jeff Wheeler is such a popular author and I can't wait for the next book in the series!
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  • JustSomeGuy
    January 1, 1970
    After reading The Queen's Poisoner a few years ago and not feeling motivated to continue on with that series, I'm not sure why I thought reading another opening installment of a Wheeler series would turn out differently. I was encouraged by the take on a fantasy series taking place with Chinese lore as the backdrop, but I struggled to connect to the characters. I welcomed the linear approach to this fantasy tale - we stick with one point of view from start to finish. Bingmei was likeable and After reading The Queen's Poisoner a few years ago and not feeling motivated to continue on with that series, I'm not sure why I thought reading another opening installment of a Wheeler series would turn out differently. I was encouraged by the take on a fantasy series taking place with Chinese lore as the backdrop, but I struggled to connect to the characters. I welcomed the linear approach to this fantasy tale - we stick with one point of view from start to finish. Bingmei was likeable and capable, but her ability to sense people's true nature by the smells their feelings give off was original, but quickly grew tiresome after every situation is defined by whatever smell she senses. The secondary characters are developed just enough to care what happens to them, particularly Kunmia, the leader of the ensign, and the young fisherman, Quion. The ancient demon lord and his henchmen are cookie cutter evil, nothing dynamic or interesting about them. The killing fog itself is an interesting component of the magic system, more so then the largely basic magical items used throughout: Kunmia's magic-draining staff, Bingmei's high-jump cricket and the all-powerful Phoenix Sword. Style points for capturing a different culture in the telling of a fantasy story, but like the previous series, I will be bowing out after book number one.
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  • A. Lorna Warren
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free e-arc!Already I am eager for more in this series! Since being introduced to Jeff Wheeler a year or so ago I have thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the many worlds his mind has produced, and this is no different. I love how he ties history and culture yet builds a whole new realm around it. It is refreshing to have female leads in each of Jeff's books, and Bingmei is quite an interesting character to get to know. Jeff is able to be Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free e-arc!Already I am eager for more in this series! Since being introduced to Jeff Wheeler a year or so ago I have thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the many worlds his mind has produced, and this is no different. I love how he ties history and culture yet builds a whole new realm around it. It is refreshing to have female leads in each of Jeff's books, and Bingmei is quite an interesting character to get to know. Jeff is able to be descriptive without being overwhelming about it, so that the characters build up and come to life with ease. There is plenty of action and suspense throughout- I kept trying to sneak a chapter or two in down time at work because I just HAD to know what would happen next! Learning the way Bingmei interacts with her companions and the world at large- and learning what sets her apart and why- was fascinating. Each time a question is answered, those answers bring 3 or 4 more questions, without feeling too convoluted. At the end, you really feel Bingmei's struggle between what the world is expecting of her and what she feels is right. My only complaint is that I now have to wait until I can read what happens to Bingmei and her companions!
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  • Gigi
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a trashcan fire.I refuse to give much more time to this review cuz I want to move on, but here are a few things that made me not a fan:- Something about a white man writing in the voice of an Asian-inspired woman made me a little uncomfortable. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but it made me feel meh. I'd rather see more own voices in this genre, rather than someone writing it because he spent a month in China. (And, yes, I know fantasy has different acceptable rules)- Very This book is a trashcan fire.I refuse to give much more time to this review cuz I want to move on, but here are a few things that made me not a fan:- Something about a white man writing in the voice of an Asian-inspired woman made me a little uncomfortable. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but it made me feel meh. I'd rather see more own voices in this genre, rather than someone writing it because he spent a month in China. (And, yes, I know fantasy has different acceptable rules)- Very one-dimensional characters. One character is legit defined by his obsession with food.- The only problems in this book were ones created by the MC- The MC was a pain. She's introduced as this loyal person, but (view spoiler)[ she literally runs away in the end. I get the idea of an unwilling hero, but plant those characteristics from the beginning, don't to a total 180 on someones personality. (hide spoiler)]- So. Much. Telling.So. Little. Showing.- Info dump in the prologue.- Dialogue is important to give characters a chance to show themselves. When there's hardly any dialogue and most of that sounds like the same voice, it's not being utilized properly.Just my $0.02.
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  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    I just loved this story from beginning to the end. I enjoyed all of the different details and I also became attached to the characters. It was nice to see what the meaning of honor was to the main leader as well as her outlook of revenge- the poison it embeds deep within the heart; the lesson the main character, Bingmei, learned because of her friends as well as her enemies, including lessons she held dear within herself from her ancestors. This story was epic! There were so many awesome ideas I just loved this story from beginning to the end. I enjoyed all of the different details and I also became attached to the characters. It was nice to see what the meaning of honor was to the main leader as well as her outlook of revenge- the poison it embeds deep within the heart; the lesson the main character, Bingmei, learned because of her friends as well as her enemies, including lessons she held dear within herself from her ancestors. This story was epic! There were so many awesome ideas put into it that the reader can appreciate. I have always wanted to read some of Jeff Wheeler's novels because they sounded really good, but I hadn't got around to buying any just yet. After this novel, I am sold. His writing is great, the story line was great, the flow of things was great (not messy or all over the place- easy to follow), the plot was awesome, and there was a fine balance with the action: the victories and the deaths. Great book and I can't wait for the 2nd book of this series. :)
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  • Kristi Kunselman
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the author and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I happened to discover Jeff Wheeler a few years ago when browsing books to borrow from Amazon. It's been one of my greatest discoveries to date! His series feature fantastically detailed worlds. They have magic, and a strong hero or heroine that faces some kind of evil. The main character often makes mistakes, but then sees the error of his/her way and overcomes them to become a better person. The Killing Fog I received this book from the author and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I happened to discover Jeff Wheeler a few years ago when browsing books to borrow from Amazon. It's been one of my greatest discoveries to date! His series feature fantastically detailed worlds. They have magic, and a strong hero or heroine that faces some kind of evil. The main character often makes mistakes, but then sees the error of his/her way and overcomes them to become a better person. The Killing Fog is the start of a new fantasy series featuring a girl named Bingmei who's entire family is killed in front of her as a child. After finding someone to take her in, she trains as a warrior, partly so that she can take revenge on the man who killed her family. She and her team are hired by a king to go search for a hidden kingdom. When they find it, a great evil is awakened and the world is in danger. Bingmei must decide how or if she is going to save the world. She will have some loyal friends to help her along the way.
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  • Pamela Scott
    January 1, 1970
    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...I own a few of the author’s books but have only managed to read one so far. This is the only title from February’s #AmazonFirstReads that held my interest. I was indifferent to the others so was left with little choice but to read this. I liked the blurb. It intrigued me. I really like Oriental Mythology and legend so this appealed to me. I made the right choice in deciding to read this. The world building in this book is spot on. The landscape Bingmei https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...I own a few of the author’s books but have only managed to read one so far. This is the only title from February’s #AmazonFirstReads that held my interest. I was indifferent to the others so was left with little choice but to read this. I liked the blurb. It intrigued me. I really like Oriental Mythology and legend so this appealed to me. I made the right choice in deciding to read this. The world building in this book is spot on. The landscape Bingmei travels through is full of strangeness and mystery and it’s beautiful as well. A kingdom hidden under the ice. What’s not to enjoy? Bingmei is a great character, quite the heroine, she messed up and awakens a monster and takes responsibility for stopping him instead of running away. I’ve pre-ordered the other two books in the series as I really want to know what happens.
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  • Andy Coleman
    January 1, 1970
    A SIMPLE MAN'S REVIEW: I loved the world within these pages -magic, mystery, and fighting! Such a beautiful country and fascinating characters. And being able to smell emotions? Who has that superpower?! But...The story started out incredible and captivating. But as it continued to be strung along, it became apparent that there wasn't going to be a fulfilling ending point. And the decisions the characters needed to make to get there were very disappointing. I know, a protagonist is allowed to A SIMPLE MAN'S REVIEW: I loved the world within these pages -magic, mystery, and fighting! Such a beautiful country and fascinating characters. And being able to smell emotions? Who has that superpower?! But...The story started out incredible and captivating. But as it continued to be strung along, it became apparent that there wasn't going to be a fulfilling ending point. And the decisions the characters needed to make to get there were very disappointing. I know, a protagonist is allowed to have flaws, but in this case, they seemed to arise just to cause a conflict. It just didn't feel natural.With this book I'm torn. The story could still become great in the next book, but the ending of this one was so frustrating. So, I can't recommend or not recommend this one. Your call!
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  • Derek
    January 1, 1970
    I read Jeff Wheeler's Harbinger series and really enjoyed it. That was the reason I chose to read the Killing Fog. As with the Harbinger series, I very much enjoyed what I read. The story was very intense and the characters were unique and well built. My only problem is the story started a little too fast and didn't have enough back story at times. I felt like I was either learning as I read or had to piece together why we were where we were at certain times. I'm sure if you read more of I read Jeff Wheeler's Harbinger series and really enjoyed it. That was the reason I chose to read the Killing Fog. As with the Harbinger series, I very much enjoyed what I read. The story was very intense and the characters were unique and well built. My only problem is the story started a little too fast and didn't have enough back story at times. I felt like I was either learning as I read or had to piece together why we were where we were at certain times. I'm sure if you read more of Wheeler's series, some of the language/verbiage would make more sense. Overall though, a really good book an good start to a new series,Thank you to Jeff Wheeler, NetGalley, and 47North for providing me with an advanced reading copy.
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  • Corinne Sparks
    January 1, 1970
    A very exciting fantasy world set in mythic-asia.A breath of fresh air, as most contemporary fantasy is still stuck in a western world, so to have a massive fantasy world full of Asian themes is wonderfully refreshing. I particularly love a female main character, and Bingmei's ability to smell emotions is immediately interesting and captivating.Filled with dragons, magic, fighting and a slow, soft romance, I flew through this and leapt upon the next one - where Bingmei has to try and stop things A very exciting fantasy world set in mythic-asia.A breath of fresh air, as most contemporary fantasy is still stuck in a western world, so to have a massive fantasy world full of Asian themes is wonderfully refreshing. I particularly love a female main character, and Bingmei's ability to smell emotions is immediately interesting and captivating.Filled with dragons, magic, fighting and a slow, soft romance, I flew through this and leapt upon the next one - where Bingmei has to try and stop things that she has started... I highly recommend if you enjoy any of Jeff's other works, or if you enjoy Brent Weeks, Sanderson or Jay Kristoff. Five stars!
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  • Stephen A. Madva
    January 1, 1970
    If you’re looking for fast paced stylish writing and creative plot lines and interesting intricate characters as created by George R. R. Martin, Tolkien, or even the Hunger Games trilogy, don’t bother with with this. Wheeler tells a linear tale of average interest and not particularly well. The characters are of limited dimension. None is particularly compelling, although the female protagonist has a unique ability to smell the emotions of other characters, but even that gets a bit old. All in If you’re looking for fast paced stylish writing and creative plot lines and interesting intricate characters as created by George R. R. Martin, Tolkien, or even the Hunger Games trilogy, don’t bother with with this. Wheeler tells a linear tale of average interest and not particularly well. The characters are of limited dimension. None is particularly compelling, although the female protagonist has a unique ability to smell the emotions of other characters, but even that gets a bit old. All in all, an okay read, but I doubt I’ll continue on to the rest of the series. Too many good books, too little time.
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  • Timothy S.
    January 1, 1970
    **Warning this text may contain spoilers**I didn't have the faintest iota of interest in neither era or lifestyle of the people in this novel. Truly unbelievable. Fitzgerald certainly kissed the right asses with this one.I can't be trusted to rate fantasy novels. You could put the most trash fantasy novel in front of me and I will finish it and love it and wonder how many more books are in the series so I may read the rest.
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  • Jessica Devaney
    January 1, 1970
    MORE....It has been a long time since I have regretted that I would have to wait for the next book in a series. This book is extremely well written. It is also a book that I would not hesitate to let my pre-teen pick up and read. Everything in the book is leading forward to something big... I can't wait to find out more on the rest of the series. I have already pre-ordered the next book!
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  • Travis
    January 1, 1970
    I was not really interested about this story at the beginning of the book. It started off kind like a normal young adult book. It has Asian culture influences, but that isn't anything new. It wasn't until later chapters that I made my connection to the story. The magic kept my interest in the early section of the book because I wanted to see it in action. I won't spoil anything. Just give it a chance if you want some clean young adult fantasy adventures.
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