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Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott (Four Arts #1)

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The Shattered Court by MJ Scott // VBC ReviewThe Shattered Court
(A Novel of the Four Arts #1)
M.J. Scott
Published: April 28, 2015 (Roc)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by Amanda

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Lady Sophia Kendall is days away from her twenty-first birthday—the day she’ll come into her powers, if she has any. She’s out running errands with Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie when a vicious attack takes out a good portion of the court. Unable to return to the palace, and without any knowledge of what, exactly, will happen if she does manifest power, the pair spend several days on the road. And what happens between them will change everything for both of them.

Because Sophie’s powers are stronger than anyone could have predicted, and an unmarried witch must be tamed as quickly as possible.

Unbound by marriage rites and undedicated to the temple, Sophie’s viewed as a threat. It’s not long before Sophie and Cameron start questioning the status quo–and it’s not long before they’ll have to make a choice: remain loyal to their country, or challenge those in power.

As a fan of Scotts Half-Light City novels, I was excited to hear she had a new fantasy romance series, and from a world-building standpoint, The Shattered Court does not disappoint. While vastly different from her previous series, the details and nuances are just as intricate. Royal witches are only allowed to use earth magic, and even that’s strictly regulated. There are three others—blood magic, commonly used by the battle mages to aid them in fighting; air magic, which is rare, and water magic, whose use is forbidden. Because this is the first book in the series, there’s a lot of set up and explanation, and Scott does it with a deft hand.

I liked Sophie and Cameron. I liked them apart, and I liked them together. Their relationship doesn’t get off to the most auspicious start, but as they get to know one another, their chemistry develops into something fiery and strong and believable. Paired by circumstance, they acknowledge theirs was a partnership that may not have started with love…but it’s sure heading that way.

Sophie shows signs of being headstrong and ready to buck tradition early on, but those hints aren’t teased out until close to the end, and this is where the story faltered for me. The ending felt rushed. The choice that Cameron and Sophie were faced with was huge and incredibly impactful, and I didn’t think it was given the time and the weight it deserved.

The ending itself, though, promises to take us further into the world of the Four Arts, and I’m eager for the next one.

Sexual content: sex

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