ARC Review, Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Tethered Spirits (Curse of Shavhalla, #1) by T.A. Hernandez

A man with an unknown past

For years, Amar has traveled the Kavoran empire, seeking a way to recover his lost memories and end the curse that plagues him. With support from loyal friends, Amar may finally be on the verge of finding answers, but to do so, he’ll need to enlist the help of an unexpected guide.

A girl afraid of her own powers

Kesari is a Tarja, granted magical abilities through her Bond with a spirit named Lucian. Haunted by past mistakes that have left her desperate to sever her Bond, Kesari has her own reasons for agreeing to help Amar. But in doing so, she may finally have to face the fears she’s carried ever since leaving home.

A woman on a vital mission

Meanwhile, a young refugee named Aleida is in hot pursuit, hoping the secret behind Amar’s curse can save her brother from a fatal illness. With so much at stake and little left to lose, Aleida will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

And when their paths collide, all three are set on a journey to unravel a mystery far deeper than they ever suspected. 

I have to admit; I was a little confused when I started reading this story. At first, I thought I missed something until I realized it was just how the story started. I do not mind stories jumping straight into action, but it did not feel right this time. Maybe it needed a little something at the beginning, a prologue or another paragraph or two. After figuring out what was going on, I had no problem getting into the rhythm and focus of the story. The pacing was right, even with some of the slow points. This story is an amazing set up for this series.

In this story, we have a full cast but 3 are major characters: Amar, Kesari, and Aleida and each chapter represented each one’s point of view. I do not know when this trend started, but I love it! It makes it easier to follow who’s view you are reading instead of missing the paragraph break transition. These characters are very well developed, and each serves their purpose. I look forward to reading more on these characters and their development.

Amar is where the mystery starts. He is an old soul in a young man’s body. At the beginning, we learn how his curse works. When an incident happens, Amar loses his memory and becomes someone else entirely. Because of his memory loss, he becomes irritated and bitter towards those around him, especially Mitul. But he has a good heart and eventually lets those around him in.

Kesari is a tarja and my favorite character. She has a good heart and wants to do what is right, but when the time comes, her fears overcome her. Lucian, Kesari’s spirit tarja, is snarky and intelligent. When fear freezes Kesari, he is there to help her overcome them. He is her rock and helps Kesari stay grounded. The two have respect and trust for each other, even though their quest is to break their bond.

Aleida and Valkyra are our antagonists. I would say Aleida is mostly a grey character. She still has goodness in her but buries it by being cold and ruthless. In reality, Aleida is desperate and vulnerable and Valkyra, Aleida’s spirit tarja, uses her desperation and vulnerability towards her advantage. Valkyra’s powerful influence encourages Aleida to take what she wants.

Mitul is very optimistic. He tries to see the positivity everywhere they are and makes the best he can out of life. His loyalty to Amar is because of deep brotherly friendship even with their unusual circumstances. But, you get a sense there is some pain hidden beneath his happiness. The happiness seems to be a coping mechanism.

Saya slowly became a favorite. Her loyalty and dedication to her people is deep, as well as towards her friends. She is focused and will do everything in her power to finish her quest. I felt like she became the big sister figure for Kesari and would love to see more of that relationship in the next books.

After figuring out what was going on, I fell in love with this story. It was character driven, which are the stories I love. There was not one character I despised or got bored with. Each brought with them grief, loss, and trauma, and during this story, we learn how this drive our characters in their decisions. The characters themselves learn what it is like to be a dysfunctional family and accept who they are. The plot is interesting and keeps you on your toes. I kind of wish there were more explanation on the Tarjas and how their powers work but hope this will happen in the next book.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves magic, quests and adventure, and mystery.

*I received an ARC from the author, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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