Page Count: 112
Release Date: September 15th, 2019
Series: THE TAROT SEQUENCE, Book 1.5
Rating: 4/5 stars – Really Liked It
Note: This novella was received in a free giveaway from the author. It has not affected my review in any way.
Warning: Light spoilers ahead for previous books in the series. You can find a review for book one, THE LAST SUN, here!
Rune Saint John is the last heir to the Sun Throne, one of the many courts of Atlantis. He and his bodyguard Brand didn’t expect to be saddled with a teenage ward, but having given his oath to protect Max until he reaches adulthood, Rune is slowly coming to grips with the responsibility he faces. And currently, that means finding a way to Max feel like he belongs as a member of this make-shift family. So when Ciaran tells Rune he knows the location of the Sunken Mall, he jumps at the chance to check it out. The mall was plucked from another city when New Atlantis was being assembled, but something went wrong with the translocation spell, and the mall arrived…somewhere else. With no one to claim the goods, it’s a perfect chance to take Max somewhere to grab things that can be his and not hand-me-downs. And the mall’s been lost for decades, so it should be completely abandoned with little to no danger…right?
THE SUNKEN MALL is a great bite-sized adventure that continues the story from THE LAST SUN, taking all the parts I liked about that book and continuing to build an even better story. If you’ve read my review for THE LAST SUN, you’ll know it took me a bit to warm to it, as I didn’t quite click with the lead characters in the beginning. I didn’t have that problem at all this time around, easily settling into the banter of Rune and Brand and their very awkward ward Max. If you’re a fan of the “group that bickers constantly but will die for each other when the chips are down” trope, have I got a series for you! And if you needed more time for Rune and his boyfriend Addam to be adorable, please step this way.
I was also impressed at how much THE SUNKEN MALL managed to accomplish in its short 100-ish pages. Big picture world-building (which I found maddeningly vague in book one) was fleshed out. Rune and Addam got to have some emotional beats as their relationship grows, especially necessary given Rune’s traumatic past. The found family became just a little more tight-knit. And a whole self-contained adventure with fights and strange magical creatures happens in the middle of everything else.
THE SUNKEN MALL might be a short little novella, but it takes readers on excellent adventure and reinforces the best parts of the series. I’m finding myself well and truly hooked on these characters, and THE HANGED MAN is now firmly in my sights as I consider next backlist reads.