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New Treasures: The Nissera Chronicles by Hannah West

Sunday, November 25th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Kingdom of Ash and Briars-small Realm of Ruins-small

I’m still not done unpacking my free book bag from the World Fantasy Convention, but the wheels of publishing stop for no man. Review copies continue to pile up at the Black Gate headquarters, and they demand attention. At least, that’s what Realm of Ruins did when I pulled it out of an envelope on Tuesday, anyway.

First, Daniel Burgess’ cover is great. He also did the cover for the first volume, Hannah’s debut novel Kingdom of Ash and Briars, released by Holiday House in 2016. I was completely unaware of that book until Tuesday but, second, there’s ample praise for it on the back of Realm of Ruins, including a snippet from this starred review from Kirkus:

Bristal, a teenage kitchen maid, never expected to survive being forced into the Water, a pool designed to prove that a mortal may be an elicromancer, an ancient breed of ageless and immortal beings that once populated the realm of Nissera. But she does.

With elicrin stone in hand, Bristal is thrust from the Water, proving her birthright as an elicromancer. With Bristal’s true identity revealed, the last two remaining elicromancers, Brack and Tamarice, materialize to rescue Bristal from kidnappers. They begin to train her to use her gift as a Clandestine: the ability to transform into any human or animal form… Greatly influenced by the likes of “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Hua Mulan,” and arguably Harry Potter, debut author West mixes fairy-tale charm with contemporary mysticism to create a world both terrifying and wonderful… Sweet romance and strong supporting characters complete this impressive debut.

Third, all the Black Friday madness put me in a buying mood. so I ordered a copy of the first book yesterday. Will it turn out to be as lightly sweet and charming as promised, or was I just another victim of unchecked consumerism? Stay tuned to find out.

Realms of Ruins goes on sale December 4th. Here’s the description for the first book.

[Click the images for realm-sized versions.]

A stunning fantasy inspired by familiar fairytales, complete with cursed princesses, thieves-turned-soldiers, and an orphan girl transformed into an immortal, shapeshifting heroine. The Nissera Chronicles start here . . .

“One of the best books I’ve ever read.” — C.J. Redwine, New York Times best-selling author of The Shadow Queen

* “A world both terrifying and wonderful.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid, finds herself in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she has elicromancer magic in her blood. Elicromancers are an ancient breed of immortal people, but only two remain in Nissera after a bloody civil war. Bristal joins their ranks without knowing that one of them has a dark secret . . . Tamarice is plotting a quest to overthrow the realm’s nobility and take charge herself. Together, Bristal and Brack must guard the three kingdoms of Nissera against Tamarice’s black elicromancy. There are princesses to protect, royal alliances to forge, and fierce monsters to battle — all with the hope of preserving peace.

With clever homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a fast-paced, exciting, and wholly original debut. The Nissera Chronicles continue with “Fields of Fire,” a short story set against the events of Kingdom of Ash and Briars, and Realm of Ruins, a gripping companion novel.

And here’s the book blurb for Realm of Ruins.

Valory’s power is different . . . it’s dangerous, unruly, and destructive. Can she channel it to crush a cunning enemy and save the realm from chaos? Dark magic and romance make the latest installment in the Nissera Chronicles a page-turning read.

“A brilliantly paced adventure full of betrayals and romance and magic. I could have stayed and played in this treacherous world for a long time.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Legendary

Welcome to Nissera, land of three kingdoms and home to spectacular magic.

A century after her legendary ancestors overcame a bloodthirsty tyrant, seventeen-year-old Valory Braiosa attends a training academy for elicromancers, immortal beings with magical gifts. Yet Valory’s immense power seems impossible to tame, and she faces imprisonment by the Nisseran authorities. Then a forbidden resurrection spell awakens a long-dormant evil, and Valory may be the only one who can vanquish this terrifying villain. Together with a band of allies — including an old friend; a haughty princess; and a mysterious, handsome stranger — Valory must learn to harness her power and fight back.

My hardcover edition of Realm of Ruins includes an illustrated family tree, a detailed map of Nissera, and a super-shiny embossed jacket.

For those of you (like me) who care about the gritty publishing details:

Kingdom of Ash and Briars (368 pages, $17.95 hardcover/$9.99 paperback and digital, August 30, 2016)
Realm of Ruins (451 pages, $18.99 hardcover/$11.99 digital, December 4, 2018)

Both are published by Holiday House, with covers by Daniel Burgess.

See all our recent New Treasures here.

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