Book Rating: ★★★★✰ (3.75 / 5 stars)
Juniper has a mission: collect obsidian and return to her brother. But when the Chambers ambush her, she is held captive with a death threat over her head. In a world where her magic has been outlawed and her people are in hiding, can she trust the Beta, Reuben to help her? Will she be able to fight? Or will she be sent to the gallows to hang?
Truthfully, I enjoyed this story more than Kelly’s more popular novel, Meraki. While Meraki has better writing (and editing…more on that later), I felt like Trial by Obsidian was a stronger story. While the plot was fast paced (which made me want more), I knew enough about this world by the end of the story to appreciate everything. The magic system was unique, focusing on different elements…a trope with magic that I adore. It had enough limitations though where no one person was overpowered, in turn creating tension throughout the climax of the story.
As I read the story, I kept going back to Meraki. Why did I enjoy this story more? It came down to a single trope: Enemies-to-Lovers. While Trial by Obsidian does have a slight enemies-to-lovers plot, it really isn’t enemies-to-lovers. I would have classified Reuben as a perceived enemy, but once the narrative progresses, we see he never was an enemy at all. I know I’m in the minority here, but I’m really not a fan of enemies-to-lovers. Personally, I feel that few are written where I feel like the romance is authentic. Most of the time it feels forced or unhealthy, and I don’t enjoy that sort of relationship when reading. This of course is not a judgement on anyone who enjoys this trope…it’s just a personal taste of mine.
I have two reasons why I can’t rate this story higher though: 1) the pacing and 2) the editing. Let’s talk about the pacing first. While the speed isn’t terrible, and I really did enjoy the story overall, I felt like this story could easily have been longer or a duology. There is so much in this world to explore, as well as character relationships, that I think the author could have really expanded more upon this. This is a product of me being greedy too: I always want more! The second issue though is more fundamentally a problem: the story desperately needs editing. While mistakes are expected in any publication, there was nearly a spelling, wording, or grammatical mistake on every page. Also one little thing that drove me crazy, as I read this on my kindle, was the lack of table of contents. While this was overall an annoyance that didn’t pull me from the story, it was something I notice. This could all easily be corrected with a second edition.
Overall though, Trial by Obsidian is a fun, fast paced story that will enthuse any lover of elemental magic. If you want a fast paced read, I encourage you to pick it up! I think you’ll enjoy it!
What’s it about?
The poverty-stricken southern lands of Deshure have kept Juniper Obsidian hidden all her life. Her concealed identity kept her safe. Until now. The northern lands of Sinlara are home to the Chambers. Here rules are enforced and wars are waged, but since the end of the War fifteen years ago things have been quiet. That is until they get their hands on Juniper.
When an enemy who has an uncertain a past as she does a future offers her help, Juniper must question what really makes us who we are? Can she trust the man before her?
Is there more to loyalty than a boarder? More to family than a blood-line?
The time has come where she must learn to stand and fight.
Hiding is no longer an option.