Guess what! Just what you’ve all been waiting for! ANOTHER MCAH REVIEW no but seriously, I’ve gotten a new trilogy of hers, and she’s got a big promo for one of them right around now, and THIS IS THE TIME TO BE TALKING ABOUT MICAH. *coughs* Just saying.

In any event, if you’ve been on the blog for any length of time, you’ll know that M.C.A. Hogarth is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve always up to read and review her work, and it’s been a while since I delved into anything. (Mea culpa, mea culpa.) Having spent as much time in her Pelted universe, stepping outside of it–no matter how sure I am of her talent–is a little unnerving. The Blood Ladders trilogy is definitely not the Peltedverse, and AN HEIR TO THORNS AND STEEL is book one of Morgan Locke’s adventure into worlds he truly never believed to be completely real.

Morgan Locke is a student at Leigh University, studying philosophy and ancient legends. It’s a prestigious school, and not one where any type of weakness is to be tolerated–which is problematic, because Morgan has suffered from intense chronic pain and seizures for most of his life. For the time being, he knows what pattern they follow and has managed to keep his friends and teachers in the dark as to his condition, but as it progressively gets worse…it becomes harder and harder to explain away. So when a curious twist of fate accompanied by two incredibly unlikely messengers comes by with a chance to turn his entire world upside down and maybe…just maybe…bring him a tiny amount of relief, it’s a hard-pressed battle for Morgan to take the risk and jump into the unknown and likely unreal…or stay with the devil he knows.

Now, having not lived with chronic pain, I can’t speak to the level of agony Morgan goes through. The attacks are constant and debilitating, and the amount of the book they consume truly emphasizes how much of Morgan’s life has been chewed up by this. Others I’ve seen say that it slows the plot down, and I’d argue that it does–and it should. Morgan’s entire life has been weighed down by this; it wouldn’t make any literary sense to see time flying by. I’ve lived my whole life with someone with chronic pain, and I can absolutely believe every moment that Morgan endures. It also allows me to celebrate with him in the moments he is free of the pain.

I’m truly baffled by some of the reviews I’ve seen for this book. I will say that yes, there is a level of depravity in the elves that is truly unsettling, and it does border on a level of uncomfortable that makes me want to put the book down. But that’s the point. We’re supposed to see the dark sides along with the light, and it’s certainly true that Kelu spends more than enough time telling Morgan how awful the elves are. And yes, their relationship with the genets is equally unsettling. Often times, relationships (and I use the term lightly) like this are.

Nothing about this book is meant to be easy. Morgan’s life is a struggle, the balance between worlds is a struggle…and all in all, this is a very thought-provoking book with a brilliant world in the making. It’s a smart book which will make you hope you have a dictionary nearby. It’s a touching book which can have you laughing one moment and in tears the next. It’s a perfect example of Hogarth’s brilliant storytelling, and it is absolutely recommended. These are real characters who you will form real relationships to, and at the last page you will already be reaching for the next book.

Rating: **** (Recommended)


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