Title: Secret of Souls
Author: Aubrie Nixon
Series: Age of Endings #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Wolf Press
Pub Date: November 24, 2017
My Copy: Advanced Reader Copy that I picked up at Book Expo America
The Empire of Lucent has stood for centuries as a beacon of strength and light. But now an otherworldly realm has unleashed an army of nightmarish creatures upon the peaceful empire, spreading a lethal plague called The Decay which consumes its victims mercilessly from the inside out.
The king of the Empire of Lucent calls upon “Lady of Death” Zephera Travelle—an infamous assassin with a weakness for braided cinnamon bread and a striking aptitude for murder and mayhem. He sends her on an impossible quest to find the one person who can concoct a cure and save the realm from total annihilation. Together with her best friend Zadkiel, mage extraordinaire Brenner, girly city-guard Oriana, and broody warrior Daegan, she embarks on a journey that will test her wits, will, and sanity. Along the way, she discovers that no one—and nothing—is as it seems, including herself.
This was an enjoyable fantasy to read. I totally found myself enjoying Zephyra and her companions. It had some major surprises and twists in a way that I didn’t see coming. I really found myself liking this story.
We begin this book with our main character Zephyra hunting something for her boss, a stag. The stag proves to be difficult and we learn that there is some kind of plague now on the loose and she sees a horrible creature, fights it and it gets something on her. Zephyra, thinks she is going to be sick or become one of these creatures. We learn that she is immune. This is going to be an interesting thing.
Zephyra, finds out that there is much more that her boos, Belem hasn’t told her. There is a lot of her past she doesn’t know. All she knows is that she is immune and there is something that she must do. We get to meet some of the other people who will be going on this journey to find a person, who might have a cure and answers that Zephyra and her group of companions will need to why the realms are starting to fade and these creatures are coming into our world. We learn that there is an evil sorceress, she is trying to get into Zephyra’s head and tell her things. Daegan can be a bit of a jerk at times. Yet we find out that Daegan is also immune. So this makes things a bit more interesting as there is some chemistry between them, but we find that Zephyra and Zadkiel are now in a relationship. This relationship between them is going very well. The other characters at times got on my nerves, but they prove to be useful at times.
So while on the journey, they get to meet some interesting people and go to very interesting places to get objects and information. We learn that not everybody has the same agenda in mind. Zadkiel is very much in love with Zephyra and this is going to cause some issues later on in the book. Daegan is also immune because he has lived through several lifetimes we learn. We also learn in the previous cycles that he knew Zephyra as a different person. This will be important later on in the book.
I love how all the challenges and obstacles that are put in our heroes way. We all learn what each character is good at. Plus they all start to work as a team. Then things happen, some characters get hurt. Then we learn that not everything is at it seems. Zadkiel gets offered to drink something so that he will be able to help Zephyra when the time comes to help her. We also learn that a powerful sorceress has more ties to Zephyra more than she ever thought.
There are so many twists and turns you can’t even imagine. Relationships change in so many ways. People have reasons for doing the things that they do. Then something happens that you don’t see coming. We learn right near the end that Zephyra, Daegan and the sorceress all formed a pact in a former life. Zephyra is definitely shocked by this turn of events. She doesn’t want to believe it. Zadkiel is disgusted by what Zephyra did in her former life. Crazy things happen. Unbelievable hurt & pain ensues. A lot of awesome fights occur in this book. Plus there is an incredible display of magic.
We think the end is near for Zephyra, as her father, we will learn right near the end of her book is someone very powerful indeed. He is about to sentence her to death, when her old boss opens a portal to another dimension and Zephyra chooses to go to the darkness completely. It definitely was a shocker to say the least. I liked the cliffhanger in this book a lot.