Featured Review: Beyond the Ruby Veil (Mara Fitzgerald)
About This Book:
A dark, queer YA fantasy that's perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.
Emanuela Ragno always gets what she wants. With her daring mind and socialite schemes, she refuses to be the demure young lady everyone wants her to be. In her most ambitious move yet, she's about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn't care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn't want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she'll have it all.
But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In the city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has given themselves up for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She's kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.
When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back...and kills her. Now Occhia has no one to make their water and no idea how to get more. In a race against time, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the secrets of the watercrea's magic and find a way to save their people-no matter what it takes.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL is a very dark YA fantasy that features a ruthless anti-heroine and a mysterious other world. Emanuela lives in Occhia, a town that has existed for a thousand years under the rule of the Watercrea, a woman who takes those about to die and extracts their blood to turn it into water. Emanuela is about to be married to her BFF (not paramour), Alessandro. It is rare that a betrothal of children actually turns into marriage, as people are frequently marked for death.
The red mark will appear on the skin, indicating that they must deliver themselves to the Watercrea before it spreads over their body. They are a sacrifice to turn blood into water to sustain the remaining townspeople. This happens at any age. In fact, Emanuela found hers when she was little, but it has not spread in all those years. It is a secret she has guarded for so many years - only for it to be exposed on her way to the altar.
However, Emanuela will not go quietly, and her rebellion signals darker things to come, setting her on the path to discover how water is made and the secrets that surround their town.
This story is shockingly dark and a horror at times. That being said, it was highly devourable, and even after reading it, the reader is left with so many intriguing questions. This world is crafted well and with so much mystery that answers only lead to more questions. Emanuela is certainly an anti-heroine - she is selfish and self-serving and so compelling. She has a thirst for life and power that sets off a cascade of events that will change her world, which has existed stagnant for a thousand years, forever.
BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL is shocking, provocative, and lethal - a story that will leave the reader reeling, and eagerly awaiting the sequel. Highly recommend for fans of dark fantasy/horror - this is a compelling read that will consume a fantastic afternoon.
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