Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic #1) by Maya Motayne

Nocturna“Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.”  I loved the sound of this book and was so excited to pick it up but, to be fair, and to get it out of the way quicky, this one didn’t really work out for me and I’m not one hundred percent sure why so this will be a fairly short review I think.

As the story begins Alfehr is returning from a three month absence to his home.  He’s in the bad books with his parents and is delaying the inevitable repercussions following his disappearance.  Prince Alfehr is, following his older brother’s assassination, next in line for the throne and not only is he not keen to pick up the duties he’s also not convinced that his brother is actually dead.

Meanwhile in a slightly seedier part of town we make the acquaintance of Finn – a thief with a difference.  Finn can change her face which makes her pretty difficult to catch as nobody ever really sees her true face.

Alfehr (Alfie) and Finn are about to meet at an illegal card game where the stakes are very high. Alfie is hoping to win a set of black market magic books to try and find some leads about his brother and Finn is hoping to secure the same books.  The two cross paths and things start to go wrong from there onwards.   When Finn is given a job that involves thieving at the Palace their paths cross again and this time the Prince makes a disastrous mistake unleashing evil upon the world.

In terms of the things I liked I have to say the writing was very good and the story intrigued me enough to keep me reading until the end.

I think my main problem with Nocturna was that I failed in the first instance to connect with the two main characters.  I don’t really know why but they just didn’t work their magic on me and this meant in turn that their adventures along the way felt lacking in tension and fell a little flat – basically I didn’t have that feeling where you’re scared that one of your main characters might be hurt.

On top of this I didn’t really get a feeling for the place.  This is a Latinx inspired world but it didn’t feel massively different to me and perhaps that’s because I had unrealistic expectations going into the read – although I don’t think the main character having the nickname Alfie really helped with this.  I liked the magic and thought that it had some very inventive aspects to it but it felt a little too easy at some points and then failed at times when it was desperately needed..

In terms of pacing.  This is something of a slow starter so you need to have patience going in.  The plot does change tack following the ‘incident’ and the focus deviates when the Prince has to take action to try and rectify the mistake he made.  In fact this is one aspect that I meant to mention above in terms of the two main characters.  I think that the author certainly manages to do a great job in portraying the youth and naivety of the two main povs.

Overall, Nocturna didn’t work out for me for a number of reasons during the read but mostly because of my lack of feelings for the two main characters.  I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone else from picking this up.  It could be a mood thing on my part and of course I’m not the target audience so perhaps it felt too young for me overall.  I’m sorry that this didn’t work for me but I will certainly keep my eye on this author in the future.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 3 out of 5




15 Responses to “Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic #1) by Maya Motayne”

  1. Camryn

    I haven’t read this yet but I want to. The cover is stunning.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you love it and I completely agree about the cover -it’s great.
      ynn 😀

  2. Susan

    I think I’m the only person who liked this book and that’s ok as I’m also sure I’m the only person who didnt connect with the Devouring grey

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I felt bad that this didn’t work out better for me really but I’m glad you connected well with it. I don’t know what the Devouring Grey is tbh??
      Lynn 😀

      • Susan

        Oh that came out ummmm in the spring… there were parts that were akin to stranger things. But a lot of people liked it but I never really connected to the characters. It just kinda fell flat for me. Plus there was an unexpected cat death/resurrection right at the beginning that seriously threw me for a loop

  3. Lori's Bookshelf Reads

    I’ve heard a few things, and most of it that it disappointed in what was promise. I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint me once I get to it

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I have this in audio, along with a ton of other YA fantasy audiobooks in my queue. From what I gather after reading your review and others, it doesn’t seem like a real standout. Guess I’ll tackle other books first 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, in fairness, there seems to be a lot of reviews suggesting similarities to another well known book – I haven’t read the other book so I really can’t speak to that but for me the characters just didn’t really work and I think I was expecting more from the world building – which wasn’t terrible or anything – but I didn’t feel transported to a different place.
      Lynn 😀

  5. evelynreads1

    Great review! Not connecting to the main characters always makes me like a book less 😦


  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Not being the intended audience and not being able to feel invested with the characters’ journey are the two main reasons that compel me to DNF a book, so I can only commend your decision to see this through the end. And thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I did feel bad for not loving it – I so wanted to.
      Lynn 😀

  7. waytoofantasy

    It’s always tough when you don’t connect! That’s usually the one thing that will always keep me from being able to fully enjoy a book. I do love the cover for this one though. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know – the cover is gorgeous and it makes me sad that this one didn’t wow me – I really wanted to love it but I suppose you can’t love all your reads all the time.
      Lynn 😀

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