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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Shock of Fate by D.L. Armillei is the first book in the Anchoress series. Vanessa Cross plans to idle away her summer, lounging on the beach and shopping, but all that changes with accusations made about her father. In order to find answers for her past, she has to work with a new group of friends to find the Coin of Creation before the corrupt princess, Solana, can. Heading into the Living World, Van discovers more than she ever expected: a wish-fulfilling bowl, gnomes, trolls, and soldiers. As she faces her worst fears, she discovers the truth about her past and her future.
D.L. Armillei has a fairly light style that never shies away from bullying, prejudice, war, and loss, and instead weaves these elements into Van's personal journey and growth. At the beginning Van is very selfish and entitled, but she's always presented with sympathy as she lashes out and strives to prove herself. This is just the start of Van's journey, but she comes a long way, and becomes a better person, the kind of hero I want to read more of. The tragedy that unfolds packed a real emotional punch. The past plays an immortal role for Van as she struggles to place all the pieces together in order to discover the actual truth. Armillei shows how hard it can be to understand history whenever you're not a physical part of that time. The history of the world is mysterious and heartbreaking, but it feels as if finding answers gives Van a sense of hope, at least a little. Shock of Fate is a coming of age story with a heroine that learns how to navigate friendship, new love, loss, and inner strength. A great first novel for a series!