Once upon a time, there was a noble huntress who fell for an evil queen…
Once a huntress blessed by the gods, Zahria has since become a murderer without honor. She loses herself in wineskins, paying a private penance for the sins she’s committed in her royal lover’s name. But the kingdom she can’t escape has no use for drunken cowards.
When the queen’s secret menagerie of exotic birds breaks free from the palace, revealing themselves as the reclusive shape-shifting clansmen who dwell within the Unforeseen Forest, the queen demands Zahria do the unthinkable:
Kill the forest-made beasts plaguing the realm, then destroy the cursed forest itself.
A sin, in the eyes of Zahria’s gods, for which there would be no redemption.
But Zahria is weary and has lost too much. All she wants is to return to her homeland after a century of secrets and lies. With a heart long past the point of breaking, fulfilling the queen’s task could mean her freedom at last.
How can Zahria resist such a bargain?
About the Author
Recently featured in Unread Magazine for her “positive, creative, and inspiring” content, Amara Luciano is a unicorn-obsessed, smiley YA fiction author, who writes stories featuring magic, misfits, and mystical (mis)adventures.
As the co-founder of an independent publishing company called Wonder Heart Books, she empowers writers and readers to seek out diverse narratives in fiction. She also teaches other fiction authors how to market their books, shares tips for staying peacefully creative, and writes empowering love letters & poems for creative millennials on her website.
She loves heart-ready smiles, chocolate anything, and people who win love by daylight. Her spirit animal: a Kara Danvers-Zendaya cross-mix. Her motivational manta: “If I can see it in my heart, I can hold it in my hands,” a la Cara Alwill Leyba.
Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQ, Romance
Title: Huntress and the Nightingale
Series: Gods’ Fate novella #2
Author: Amara Luciano
Publisher: Wonder Heart Books
The writing is so freaking pretty. Luciano is a new indie author and this is her second novella. Now I always go into these short things with some expectation and criticism. A few work well, some don’t bother with a solid beginning-middle-end and choose to just hit you with seemingly random things. This one was a good BME on top of it being magically enticing. Luciano made me forget that I was reading at times and I even felt like I was right there with Zahria in the dark forest. It was great.
It started off as an automatic 5 Stars for me but towards the end, things did feel a little rushed, so I knocked off star points. I did love the way she played with the pages, making scenes shorter, giving more impact. My only two issues with this– as small as they were –would have to be the way someone abruptly died, and the romance. I personally felt like Zahria and that character could have had a mildly different parting to keep from making it seem so sudden, but that’s just me. Another personal opinion regarding the romance was that the end didn’t leave as big an impact. The story itself was totally ended awesomely but for Zahria and her love interest, it just feels like I would’ve connected with their attraction to each other more if they’d done something other than exchange verbal admiration. I’m not really sure what would’ve done it for me and I would never say what an author should do (lol) but I will say that I felt Zahria’s and the Evil Queen’s old connection a lot more than whatever I clicked with for the romance. I wasn’t quite there, but almost. It was nice.
Overall, it’s a recommended read. Luciano is a new author and considering this is her second novella, I’m blown away. I love the writing, I love the fantasy that seems to just melt off the pages. Go read it.