Suddenly realizing it’s been ages since I posted a proper book review! And what better time than Virtual Realm Makers to get back to it? So, today, I’m bringing you the award winning, Seventh City! I’m so proud of Emily for taking home not only the Best in Fantasy Realm Award, but also Best Book of the Year!
This book has a special place in my heart. Not just because it’s a great book and Emily is awesome, but because it’s the first book I got on a blog tour for! (If you’d like to read that character interview with Maki, you can find it here: https://writerraegraham.com/2019/08/24/guest-post-emily-hayse/(opens in a new tab))
“Let me tell you a story that happened so long ago that only the hills and rivers can remember the time . . . .”
All her life, thirteen-year-old Maki has heard tales of the legendary city of gold, buried deep in the northern frontier. But when her village is burned and her brother captured by cruel invaders, the legend becomes desperately real.
Armed with a wolf-dog and a heart of courage, Maki sets out on a journey that will demand all her strength and cunning. She is determined to bring her brother home at all costs. Yet as her quest leads her deep into a wilderness of ancient dangers, Maki realizes that even for her, some prices are too high to pay.
What I liked:
Alaskan Fantasy: I’ve always been drawn to Native culture, so the Alaskan setting alone had me falling in love. It’s so vibrant and really makes you feel like you’re there, battling the elements with the characters. Throw in a dash of whimsy and you’ve got a perfect backdrop for a great adventure!
Maki: I absolutely love Maki! A thirteen-year-old-girl capable of sending grown men to the hospital? Really, what more do you want? 😉 She’s brave and loyal, if a bit hotheaded and too stubborn for her own good; but she’s got a will of iron, a heart of gold, and a wolf to back her up.
Sibling Story: I love the familial bonds! The whole story hinges on the lengths Maki will go to save her captured brother. Watching her struggle to balance the desire to be near him with the desire to keep him safe by concealing their relationship really did a number on me. And then there’s the surrogate-sibling relationship she develops with Willow. It’s so heartwarming. And Willow himself is pretty amazing: kind, honorable, protective. Great big-brother material … or, you know, crush material. Not for Maki, she’s far too young, but a girl can dream can’t she 😉
Forgiveness: I love redemption stories! And a key part of any redemptive arc is asking and/or bestowing forgiveness. Maki starts the story with justifiable hate for the invaders of her homeland, but as she spends time with them and sees that not all are monsters, she learns to forgive and begins to heal. It is truly so beautiful and I think a timely lesson for today’s social climate.
My Rating: 5/5
A superb adventure story for those who enjoy character centric fantasy with heartwarming themes!