It’s my day to celebrate the new book, just released last month!
As the second child of the Aridan imperial family, nineteen-year-old Guerline knows exactly what is expected of her: be unobtrusive, be compliant, and do not fall in love with her low-born companion, Eva. She has succeeded at only two of those.
But before her feelings for Eva can become a point of contention for the royal house, Guerline’s calm and narrow life is ripped away from her—in the course of a single night—and she is abruptly cast in the role of empress.
Faced with a council that aggressively fears the four witch clans charged with protecting Arido and believes they are, in fact, waging war against the humans, Guerline struggles to maintain order. As her control over the land crumbles, she learns that the war is rooted in a conflict much older than she realized—one centuries in the making, which is now crawling from under the mountain and into the light. With the fate of Arido hanging in the balance, Guerline must decide who to trust when even her closest councilors seem to have an agenda.
Darkly cinematic, From Under the Mountain pairs the sweeping landscape of epic fantasy with the personal journey of finding one’s voice in the world, posing the question: how do you define evil, when everything society tells you is a lie?
Let’s face it, fantasy is awesome. And this book did not disappoint. The world of Arido is fantastic…witches, dragons, magic, shapeshifters, and something lurking under the mountain, something dark that has been sealed away. But it’s escaping.
You probably know that I love a good evil character and Ianthe is one of my very favorites. Always there. Watching. Waiting to strike.
Okay…okay… there is more to this book than a fabulous evil.
Guerline. You have to love her. From the first scene, as she’s standing wanting, needing to save her parents from a horrible fate, your heart goes out to her. And her older brother is, well, a goober-head, and would have become Emperor, until he’s killed.
Which makes Guerline Empress. Through the book she becomes Empress, transforming from a scared, uncertain girl to a leader. She faces the challenges of ruling with calm logic and lots of heart. None of her advisors agree. All of them trying to be heard, to scream the loudest, but Guerline has her own thoughts, her own beliefs and I loved watching her find her voice.
Even when it conflicted with her love’s. And now the big question, we all know I always ask…
Well, yes, it is. And we all know I’d rather evil and destruction than kissing, so everyone holds their breath, waiting to see how I react. Overall, the kissing (and more) didn’t distract me. Eva and Guerline’s story was touching, with enough reality mixed into the high emotions of first love.
The witches. Four sisters, four clans, each with a special type of magic, each with a place in the world. And they can fly, but not on brooms. Thiymen clan would be my favorite. Fiona is awesome. Though Morgana is pretty kick-ass.
THERE ARE DRAGONS! Just saying’. Dragons.
The people of Arido struggle with who they trust, with what they believe. Are the witches good or bad? Is it okay that they work out from under the control of the Empress? What of their gods? To worship blindly, is that enough? As Guerline fights for her place, trying to take what she believes and rule.
As the darkness seeps into the world, plotting her moves. So much great creepiness! I loved it!
All leading to an epic battle with armor and swords (and dragons) where the people of Arido fight for their lives, for their world as the witches and gods pour all their magical energy into trapping the evil threat back under the mountain.
At times, I lost who was who with all the advisors, especially when Guerline held meetings and people were talking, but it didn’t take away from the overall story. And all the main characters felt real, which is what matters. I’ve always had problems with too many names.
There are fabulous scenes in this book, ones that I will tuck into my heart forever, the barrier, the fountain, the spell to trap Ianthe, and, well, any scene with Ianthe or Fiona. Seriously… IANTHE!
And, of course, we are left with a great hook… the story isn’t finished.
So there are my thoughts and reactions to From Under the Mountain. I will be waiting to read the next one! What have you found, Lisyne? WHAT?
And meet the author! She’s kinda fabulous. And by kinda I mean COMPLETELY! Always encouraging everyone to be powerful, to embrace every facet of humankind. I stalk her regularly, her being one of the cool kids (which, yes, makes me one of the dorks in the background). Not only did she have a launch party, but it was a fashion show where she brought her characters to life. I’ve seen the pics, and I was left speechless, staring at them.
Cait Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy From Under the Mountain and the horror novella series, “The Web“. Her enduring love of fantasy started young, thanks to authors like Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Diane Duane, Tamora Pierce, and many more. Now, she explores the rules and ramifications of magic in her own works—and as a panromantic asexual, she’s committed to queering her favorite genres.