Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
348 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Melissa A. Ivanco-Murray grew up in southwest Virginia, where she developed a love of reading, painting, sewing, and walking through the woods singing to squirrels. Melissa graduated with two bachelors of science degrees in Russian and International Relations (along with a track in Nuclear Engineering just for fun) from the United States Military Academy in 2011. Her experiences at USMA as well as her subsequent service add a ferocity to her storytelling that sets her apart from other contemporary fantasy novelists. Across worlds inspired by Slavic mythology and folklore, Melissa pits realistic characters against fantastical odds they can only overcome through a combination of cleverness, creativity, and sheer grit.

Melissa currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband Sean and a verifiable horde of fur- and feather-children. In between taking care of the farm and pursuing a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literature, Melissa continues to pursue her passions: writing chiefly among them. And, more recently, singing and playing lead guitar for metal band Olga's Burning Sparrows.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Hidden is an epic fantasy novel and the second installment of the Circle series by author Melissa Murray. Fifth Spinner Laria is troubled to find out that the enchanted device Loom, which allows her to peer into the past, present, and the future, is unable to give a glimpse of the western part of Dahrigek. She contacts Mari and her friends and seeks their help in investigating the land and solving the mystery. Mari, Gren, and Ruv once again set forth to Aorea alongside the twins, Sam and Sarah, and the new recruit Wendy. However, things are worse than they imagined as they soon discover that the reawakening of ancient powers threatens to destroy all civilizations. Mari and her friends must do their utmost to prevent the apocalypse.

Hidden is a wildly entertaining epic adventure novel that keeps you hooked to its pages with its colorful characters, intricate storytelling, and stupendous worldbuilding. With its plethora of magical creatures including sanguines, leshii, lanti, necromancers, and a detailed history and lore of Aorea, Melissa Murray's narrative pulls you deep into an immersive world full of wonder and awe. The author takes her time setting up the plot but halfway through the book, the narrative picks up speed and flies by in its final stretch. I couldn't pick a favorite between the characters as everyone felt distinct and I was mesmerized by every single one of them. Despite being the second book in the series, Hidden also works out as a standalone. I was thoroughly entertained and I would highly recommend it to fantasy readers.