Adult Book Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

Title: The Shattered Court
Series: A Novel of the Four Arts
Author: M.J. Scott
Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type: Fantasy, Magic, Witches
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Roc

First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.

Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.

The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott is the first book in the Novel of Four Arts series. Readers can expect royal intrigue and the beginnings of an interesting fantasy with a healthy dose of romance to heat up the pages alongside the magical workings. 

Royal Intrigue, Forbidden Magic and Romance

The story opens up with Lady Sophia Kendall getting ready for the celebration of her Ais-Seann. The Anglion royal witches on their 21st birthday take part in a celebration held at court where any magic they may possess is bound to their Goddess and arrange matches are made between them and nobleman of the courts choosing. Just days before Sophia's Ais-Seann is to occur, the palace is attacked and she is forced to flee to safety with the queen's favored Red Guard, Lieutenant Cameron MacKenzie. It soon becomes very clear on Sophia's birthday just how strong her magic is as the Ais-Seann manifests in an unexpected way. It also begins to reveal just why the royal court is determined to keep their young witches under the hands of the court and the temple, quickly binding their magic to them.

I want to be more than Lady Sophia Kendall, valuable broodmare

I immediately liked Sophia's voice as a smart, sassy and unconventional heroine as she grumbles about etiquette, her destiny as a broodmare, and the possibility of the Ais-Seann doing more than just sparking in her blood. I found myself easily turning the pages as M.J. Scott weaved a tale of court intrigue involving a forbidden magic as Sophia finds herself much closer to the throne and powerful magically than any had suspected.

Power Struggles, Twists and Deadly Traps

The unique twist the magic had on our heroine Sophia and Lieutenant Cameron MacKenzie, linking them together, added a nice touch of steam and romance, but also brought them both into a dangerous game of a power struggle within the very heart of Anglion. Cameron's character soon won me over as he immediately stood by Sophia's side as a courtly intrigue and deadly traps were set seeking to destroy Sophia for her power as an Ais-Seann. I also enjoyed the fact that he had his own battle magic as a soldier, yet used it wisely and only for protection. Daring and at the same time practical, he was a perfect counterpart to Sophia's personality and magic. It was easy to enjoy the romance between the two.

A New Fantasy Series to Dive Right Into

 The Shattered Court is a great choice for readers looking to dive right into a fantasy series that has interesting world building and magical system, without being overly heavy in the description department, and some very heated chemistry in its romance. I can't wait to see where the adventure continues and more magic in the Novel of the Four Arts series.

My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Roc in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Roc for the review opportunity!