Welcome to my stop on the Scion of the Sun Blog Tour, where you can read my review. This tour is hosted by Chapter by Chapter. First, here’s what the book is about:
Title: SCION OF THE SUN
Series: THE SOLAR SNATCHERS SERIES
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN eBook: 978-0-9850294-2-5
Author: Nicola Marsh
When she least expects it, sixteen-year-old Holly Burton’s unremarkable life is shaken to the core. A vision of the mother Holly never knew leaves her questioning everything she believes.
Eager for answers, Holly enrolls at a boarding school for highly gifted students in Wolfebane, New Hampshire. But Holly’s complicated life worsens when she accidentally transports to a parallel existence where she’s confronted by a dark and ancient evil.
With the help of Joss, a sexy alpha warrior sworn to protect her, and her new BFF, the equally swoon-worthy Quinn, Holly faces her fears and an unlikely adversary in a showdown that is worse than anything she could’ve possibly imagined …
In a word: An adventure full of Celtic mythology, a wonderfully human and flawed main character, lots of sly references to Harry Potter, but not quite enough danger for me.
I couldn’t wait to start reading Scion of the Sun, mostly because of the gorgeous cover that really drew me in. And Scion starts off very strong, as we are introduced to MC Holly, who is telling the story. One of the best ways to throw your characters into uncomfortable situations is to send them to a new place. In this case, Holly is about to start boarding school at the Clique of Unique Luminary Telepathies (try saying that out loud!), or C.U.L.T. for short. C.U.L.T. takes in students with psychic powers of one sort or another and helps them develop those powers. (Sound familiar?) Holly has just started having visions, and they’re freaking her out, and she’s hoping someone at the school will be able to help her understand them.
But even though she meets new friends Quinn and Raven when she arrives, Holly still feels like an outsider. And when she accidentally teleports to another place and meets a group of teens that belong to the Sorority of the Sun, Holly realizes her visions may be a clue to her true purpose in life: to help the Sorority fight a man named Cadifor who is trying to obliterate the world. Holly, it turns out, is a descendant of the Celtic sun-god Belenus, and is the Scion of the Sun.
Holly was by far my favorite part of Scion of the Sun. She’s a typical sixteen-year-old girl who crushes on cute boys and simply wants to fit in. Her voice is sarcastic and snarky, yet you can tell she lacks confidence in herself. Her Nan, the woman who’s been taking care of her for years, has just gone into a coma, and Holly thinks she is responsible. When she is told that she’s the person who can save the world from the evil Cadifor, Holly has a hard time believing it. She reminded me a lot of Buffy, but without the cute clothes.
Marsh does give us a love triangle, of sorts, when Holly meets the hot (naturally) and enigmatic Joss in Eiros, the secret place located in New York City where Holly goes when she teleports. Joss calls himself her “warrior” and is sworn to protect her. But from what? Holly of course doesn’t want his protection at first, but there seems to be a strong connection between them that she’s having a hard time explaining to herself, and when things start to get dangerous in Eiros, Holly realizes that she needs him more than she thinks. And then there’s Quinn back at C.U.L.T., who is cute and funny and likes Holly a lot. Holly can tell that Quinn is developing a crush on her, but she can’t explain her frequent disappearances to Quinn and Raven, because her involvement with the Sorority must remain a secret.
The story jumps back and forth between the school and Eiros, as Holly must keep up appearances with her friends at school, and learn how to control her powers in Eiros. I actually preferred the scenes that took place in Eiros, when Holly begins to learn who she really is and what she must do as the Scion. Marsh adds lots of mythology to the story, and although at times I felt there was information overload with all the intricacies of Celtic beliefs, I was fascinated by the symbols and rituals that Holly had to learn in order to fulfill her destiny. The story actually became uncomfortable during the scenes at school, when Holly must lie to her friends in order to keep her doings in Eiros a secret.
A few things didn’t work as well for me. For example, Marsh introduces several characters that only make one appearance in the book and never show up again, like a mysterious boy named Drake that greets Holly at the entrance to the school on her first day. I was intrigued by Drake, but disappointed later when he never made it back into the story.
I was also confused by the lack of danger related to the character of Cadifor, who is after all, the “bad guy.” Holly seems overly melodramatic when her visions show him manhandling a woman by pushing and shoving her, and it almost felt as if the author was censoring the story so that it wouldn’t be too violent for young readers. I’m not saying I need death and blood and violence in everything I read, but I would have been more engaged with the story if Marsh had upped the stakes and made the danger more intense. Also confusing was something called “Arwen” that both Holly and Cadifor are searching for. I wasn’t sure whether Arwen was a person or an artifact (or maybe I just missed that detail when I was reading), but more information would have made me care more whether or not Holly located this elusive “thing” before Cadifor did.
But I loved the sweet scenes when Holly worries about her Nan in the hospital. She clearly has lots of history with her and cherishes her memories in Nan’s house and gardens. I also loved the frequent references to Harry Potter and Twilight, and I appreciated the author poking fun at herself, since the book is partly about a school of magic. Scion of the Sun is a strangely appealing mixture of old world Celtic lore populated with modern teens who are just trying to fit in. Holly shines as a reluctant girl who is destined to save the world, but like her counterpart Buffy, isn’t sure she really wants to.
Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
About the author:
USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flair for adults and riveting, spooky stories for teens.
She has published 43 contemporary romances with Harlequin, Entangled Publishing and indie, and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Her first mainstream romance BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD was nominated for Romantic Book of the Year 2012. Her first indie romance, CRAZY LOVE, was a 2012 ARRA finalist.
Her debut young adult novel, a supernatural thriller BANISH, released with Harlequin Teen August 2013, and her YA urban fantasy series kicks off with SCION OF THE SUN, November 2013, with Month9Books.
She’s also a Waldenbooks, Bookscan and Barnes & Noble bestseller, a 2013 RBY (Romantic Book of the Year) and National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and a multi-finalist for a number of awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has also won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.
A physiotherapist for thirteen years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, and her favorite, curling up with a good book!
Thanks to Chapter by Chapter for hosting this tour!