She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart. In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings. Literally. It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it. But this year, things are different. Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and when the Empire strips them of their weapons, leaving them defenseless against the deadly magic that surrounds their settlement, she feels powerless to help. Unfortunately, her frustration comes out in the worst way possible - as aberrant magic. When Aella's magic manifests, it doesn't come as a bird. It comes as an angry swarm of bees. And that aberration will threaten her life and everything she loves. Can Aella keep her family safe by learning to control a magic born of frustration and fear before it masters her instead? Sting Magic is tale of loyalty, fantasy, and love - best for fans of Sorcery of Thorns, Bone Crier's Moon, or Daughter of the Forest.
The story begins on Aella’s Hatching Day at the far edges of the Winged Empire. Aella is a force to be reckoned with. On her Hatching Day, she doesn’t expect to hatch, show magic, but she does. However unlike everyone in the empire, Aella doesn’t hatch a bird, but bees. She is an abomination, an oddity, and the prince claims her as his, taking her with him as they continue their track across the empire.
Le Majest claims he is there to bring peace, yet he sows discord, taking the villagers’ weapons, their only defense against the Forbidden. Aella has spent her entire life at the edge of the empire fighting the Forbidden, a twisted sort of magic that consumes everything in its path. Seeing her family and others forced to give up their only defense stirs a resentment that has been building within her.
I really like Aella. She’s snarky, stubborn, and rebellious by nature. Her disappointment in her bee magic is quickly tempered by her fascination with them. Why is she different? What can she accomplish with her bees? How can she get back to her family? All of these questions run in a loop in her mind.
The plot of this story follows Aella as she travels with Le Majest. She meets another hatchling that he picked up on the journey and initially clashes with her. Then there is Osprey, the prince’s bodyguard. He also has a fascination with Aella, but he seems to be on her side. She wants to trust him, but his ties to the prince hold her back. Os is my favorite character. I can’t wait to figure him out more.
Overall I really enjoyed Sting Magic. I read it in one sitting, devouring Aella’s story. I love the world-building and can’t wait to find out more about the Winged Empire, the Forbidden, and what Aella’s magic means for her. If you’re looking for an adventure, look no further than Empire of War and Wings.