Gatekeeper Press (2018)
Reviewed by Arianna Violante, YA Reviewer for Reader Views (3/18)
“These Lies That Live Between Us is a fascinating debut novel from author Kai Raine, and Book One in her new series entitled: ‘What Words Have Torn Apart.’ The story begins in the year 450 AD in the fantasy kingdom of Ceryll and its neighboring countries. The army of one of the countries, Seleukos, is using forbidden magic, known as Words, to attack its enemies, and Ceryll is the next country in their path.
Readers follow three sisters, the children of King Juste and Queen Consort Esther, on magical journeys as they fulfill their destinies. Nicole is the eldest sister, and the heir to the throne of Ceryll. Stelle and Gwen are the younger daughters – the silver and gold twins, one with a head full of silver hair, the other with golden locks. When Stelle runs away one day, it leaves Gwen next in the line of succession after Nicole. While Nicole is busy manipulating court politics and wielding her power over the kingdom, Gwen is determined to save her people from the Seleukos army. Believing a legend is the only thing that can save them; she sets out on a mission to find the Phoenix. As she learns more about the forbidden magic, she also learns that she must make a choice about it. Her journey is far from what she expected!
Wow! So good – intrigue from the very first page! The author hooked me right from the beginning with the captivating characters of the sisters, and I wanted to get to know them better immediately. A dramatic twist occurs right before the end of the very first chapter and sets the pace for unpredictable action, and high level adventure and excitement! Throughout the story you really get the sense of a chaotic time – at court and over the lands, with assassination attempts, cover ups, threats, and manipulations, and I really enjoyed the author’s storytelling talent.
The writing style and the way the chapters are divided move the story along through different viewpoints within a well-paced plot. This method and the short-ish chapter lengths also made it easy to keep up with the numerous characters in the story. A key in the back of the book is handy for an easy point of reference if needed, and the maps in the front of the book helped to draw clearer pictures of the land in my mind.
And the characters - I loved them! I really admired Gwen’s character and watching her grow from a girl at court that no one took seriously, into a resourceful and strong young woman – her destiny was the biggest surprise in the book, taking her character to an entirely different level. The sisters are all so unique with elements in each one that will drive you crazy, while attracting you to their causes at the same time! Even the minor characters introduced along the journey create a sense of wanting to actually get into their heads as you try to figure out who to trust and who to be wary of – not everyone is as they seem!
Overall, I really enjoyed “These Lies That Live Between Us,” by Kai Raine. Mysterious worldly and supernatural elements, forbidden magic, royalty, goddesses, witches, etc., – what’s not to like? This world is full of spirited characters, complexity and non-stop unpredictable activity. The ending is fantastic, setting things up nicely for the next book in the series. I can’t wait!