ARC Review – The Phantoms Curse by Shelley Wilson

Sixteen-year-old Marianne lives a simple life as a healer in the Link, looking after her younger brother since their parents’ exile. Little does she know how everything will change after attending the blessing in the city of Obanac. After her brother is wrongfully imprisoned, Marianne seeks his release from Crawford Reign, the Lord of Obanac. But she’s faced with an impossible choice—the lord wants her in exchange. To save her brother she turns to the daring outlaw Robbie and his friends for help. Along with the help of Theo, the holy man’s son, a daring rescue soon uncovers rumors of an old sorcerer who may still live and whispers of the phantom’s curse—an evil that requires a host and seeks to destroy the world—threatening to resurface.

With the threat of an old evil rising in Obanac and the attacks of the Black Riders throughout the realm, nowhere seems safe. To save the people of the land and everyone she cares about, Marianne must unlock the secret to who she really is and embrace the mage magic that stirs within her. 

Review!

I enjoyed this fresh take on the story of Maid Marion. Maz is a kid just like any other who lives in the Link, and on her 16th birthday is invited to the Palace for a celebration where she catches the eye of Crawford Reign, the Lord of Obanac. When her brother becomes wrongfully imprisoned she goes to the Lord hoping to find help and instead finds a boy who has no desire other than to own her. He tells her that he will release her brother if she agrees to stay with him in the castle. Maz knows she could never abandon her brother and sets off to find Robbie and his friends, a band of outlaws that protect people from evil raiders known as the Black Riders. They agree to help, but Maz has no idea how much Crawford Reign wants her, and the depths he will go to to ensure that her part in his master plan is played. An ancient evil, thought dead is stirring, and It will take Maz bringing together all of Obanac to make sure they get out alive.

This is great book for those in the younger YA, possibly MG age ranges. There were a few issues I had whilst reading, I felt that everything came together a little too neatly at the end and the main character came into her supposed power with little effort or training, it all seemed a little easy, and the book in general seemed a tad rushed.

There was a strength to the authors characters. I enjoyed that this is an almost Robin Hood re-telling but gender bent and Marion is the main character, the one skilled with the bow, and in the end the one who saves them all.. I did like Robbie’s character, and their almost hate to love with each other fit in so well with the characters ages. The book was well paced and had a few twists and turns that keep us as the reader engaged.

I do think the world and overall storyline could have been developed further, especially since the book is only around 200 pages, but all in all it was a fun and easy read perfect for MG/YA readers.

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