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Review: The Rarkyn’s Familiar by Nikky Lee

April 13, 2022

About the Book:

An orphan bent on revenge. A monster searching for freedom. A forbidden pact that binds their fates. Lyss had heard her father’s screams, smelled the iron-tang of his blood. She witnessed his execution.
And plotted her revenge.

Then, a violent encounter traps Lyss in a blood-pact with a rarkyn from the otherworld, imbuing her with the monster’s forbidden magic—a magic that will erode her sanity.

To break the pact, she and the rarkyn must journey to the heart of the Empire. All that stands in their way are the mountains, the Empire’s soldiers, and Lyss’ uneasy alliance with the rarkyn.

But horrors await them on the road—horrors even rarkyns fear.

The most terrifying monster isn’t the one Lyss travels with.

It’s the one that’s awoken inside her.

Monsters of a feather flock together.

My Thoughts:

What makes a monster, a monster?

This is a super unique, incredible fantasy full of magic, strange creatures, friendship and violence. The worldbuilding in this story is top notch. The magical systems are well thought out and complex.

Humans vs Creatures. Creatures who run on the substance that fills the Otherworld and infuses otherworldly monsters who only exist to consume life. The rarkyn are creatures that live in both worlds. Creatures with a strange magic that allows them to slip between worlds – as long as they can control their power. Humans also have magic – a different kind of magic – one with complicated spells that are cast with runes and this magic is tightly controlled by the mage-run military. The military who are hell bent on keeping control. But regular townsfolk can use rune magic as well, it means control is a slippery slope, turning some members of the military violent. The need for control is absolute. Lyss, a human girl, has no magic but is forced to witness a horror that consumes her mind. She will learn to fight so that her all consuming desire to hunt down the one who killed her father is sated. When events cause one of the rarkyn to blood-bond with Lyss, both of their lives change forever. The rarkyn is being hunted. The blood-bond will destroy Lyss’s mind. So the race is on to sever the blood-bond so that Lyss will survive and the rarkyn can escape.

Lyss’s anger and heartache are palpable. The rarkyn’s desire for home and safety are also palpable. It puts them at odds but they are stuck together. And the longer the bond holds, the more of Lyss’s mind she will lose, turning her into the very monster she wants to slay. A killer.

This is a gripping story. A clever tale spun by a terrific writer of horror and high fantasy. Come for the world building, stay for the story of hope and loss, of family, and friendship and love. A story where the two main characters are connected through blood and a burgeoning if at times volatile friendship (not bound by a romantic love but one of family). This is a terrific story and I’m looking forward to continuing Lyss and Skaar’s journey in book two.

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