May 2024
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Sebastian, Anne Bishop

Ephemera is a fragmented, strange world, each landscape different, and each person with the ability to travel to the landscape where his or her heart most resonates. In this world resides Sebastian, a half-incubus who feeds on sex, but who also longs for something more. Meanwhile, at the Landscapers’ School, a girl whose heart is tempted by the dark unleashes an ancient evil. Glorianna Belladonna, a “rogue” landscaper cast out by the school, is Ephemera’s only hope.

I liked this book. No one is ever going to call Anne Bishop an amazing writer, but her books are addicting and absorbing. This classifies as “dark” fantasy, probably because of the sexual themes, but I honestly didn’t find much dark in it, and instead embraced many heartwarming scenes and really wonderful characters. It’s slightly erotic, but not as much as the Black Jewels trilogy. I did find some characters’ transformations a little too abrupt, Lynnea’s in particular. I suppose that can be attributed to her inner personality finally emerging, but I think in real life it would have taken more than a day. I really did like her character, though, even if she was on the “too good to be true” side. I can forgive a few of those since the book embraces characters with both a light and a dark side, like Belladonna and Sebastian.

I liked very much that despite being half of a duology, this book had a definite climax and conclusion. The battle is not yet won, but there is a satisfaction to the ending that means I want to read the next book, but I don’t have to do it immediately. Convenient, since Belladonna is still only out in hardcover. This is something that I really enjoy in series books because it makes each feel both like an entire book and a part of a whole.

This is a book that I would highly recommend to fantasy fans, but not really to anyone else. It does show that the “light” is better, but there aren’t many merits beyond that a non-fantasy reader would enjoy, in my opinion. It is definitely very enjoyable in general though, a book that could easily become a comfort book.


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