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