Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of destroying the usurper. But this will mean turning to unlikely allies and opening herself up to unpleasant memories that have been suppressed for many years. For Yalxi is no great hero, but a cunning sorceress who once forged her path in blood – and must reckon with the consequences.
Set in a fantastical land where jewels and blood provide symbiotic magical powers to their wearers, The Return of the Sorceress evokes the energy of classic sword and sorcery, while building a thoroughly fresh and exciting adventure ripe for our era.
CW: blood magic, self harm
I have only read Gods of Jade and Shadow by the author before and thought her writing was very beautiful. I never did get to Mexican Gothic despite all my friends loving it because I’m not really into horror. So I was pretty excited to get back to her writing, within the fantasy genre again.
I’m usually a huge fan of novellas and authors who can say a lot in few pages. And this seemed like the perfect choice especially I’m in the middle of a bad reading slump. And I loved how this was such a quick read. The author gets right in the middle of the proceedings when the main character has just escaped from her captor/former lover and is seeking ways to get her revenge. It was interesting to see someone once powerful grapple with her current vulnerable predicament, and think about all the choices that she made which led to the present. The dialogue between Yalxi and her nahual is also very sarcastic and fun, adding some mirth to an otherwise dark situation. But the author definitely is best at writing gorgeous descriptions that captivate us, bring the world to life and make us feel the depth of emotions.
However, this time I felt the book was too short. There was a good amount of build up towards the final confrontation, and the climax fight was spectacularly written. But it still felt too simple and easy, and didn’t evoke the awe I was expecting. Maybe I just had too high expectations. Or maybe it would have been better if the story was more fleshed out, with deeper look into the characters’ backstories.
Overall, it was a fun and quick read with gorgeous writing, and fascinating characters. I just think it could have been wonderful with a longer page count. But I’m very much looking forward to the author’s other upcoming releases.
PS: Thank you to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.