ARC Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

ARC Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
The Shattered Court
A Novel of the Four Arts #1
by M.J. Scott

Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Publication date: April 28th, 2015
by Roc

Format: eARC

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Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

The Shattered Court is a book that would have totally escaped my notice where it not for Nick. I am so glad she mentioned it to me because otherwise I would not have found this wonderfulness. I will begin by saying that this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, far from it, but at the same time, it just works. It may not be incredibly original but it is so much fun to read and I do like that the author has made it her own story in many ways.

I am going to start off by talking about the main character, Sophie. She is such a good main character. She isn’t reckless yet she isn’t someone who will just take things at word. She questions things, before someone even has to point it out to her. She is a smart main character and it’s nice seeing that she takes the time to think through the consequences of some of her actions. Of course, she is not perfect but I also admire that she knows when to lay low and when to speak up.

This book comes with an interesting cast of secondary characters, including my personal favorite, Lord Sylvian. My real complaint comes in the form of Queen Eloisa. I actually really liked her at the start of the book and I HATE what was done to her character. I wish there were ways to make the book progress, and to make the plot develop without making her an enemy but alas, sometimes, that’s the way things are no matter how much I detest it. *sighs*

Then we have a certain Cameron. I admit, I was worried about him. He was sleeping with Queen Eloisa for crying out loud when the novel started. No, he was not in a committed relationship but it was a fling so I was worried how this would all come to play within the whole context of Sophie and Cameron’s relationship and I guess it didn’t really. It’s one of the reasons why I am genuinely disappointed that Queen Eloisa turned into someone she was not at the beginning of the novel. I wonder what we will find out about her character that will at least help us better understand the sudden shift. Going back to the lovely Cameron, he managed to win me over right from the get-go but I was slightly disappointed in the rather easy shift of feelings (not that he had overly romantic feelings for Eloisa, it’s just that his focus shifted very easily). I am happy to report that he was a good mixture of sweet but also not sweet (if you know what I mean).

The romance between the two was something I enjoyed. There was insta-attraction happening but the way their relationship builds on that is beautiful. They build trust and when they are thrust into an awkward situation that forces them to acknowledge their feelings for one another (whoever says that forced marriages aren’t fun to read about), they go about doing that in a fantastic way. Cameron pays attention to Sophie’s fears and assures her that he will be loyal to her no matter what. I admire that their relationship gets to a point where the drama is external rather than internal and what I also admire is that while they clearly have feelings for one another, there are no random declarations of love. Also sexy times. I was genuinely surprised when they made an appearance but hey, you take what you get. ;)

While I adored the fast pace nature of the plot, I will admit that I was rather disappointed that they weren’t going to be on the run for the entirety of the book. I am glad though that that wasn’t the case because otherwise we would have totally missed out on meeting characters like Lord Sylvian and we would have also missed seeing the politics within the court (although I wish there had been more of that too).

I think the world building aspect of the novel could have been more intricate but given that this is only book 1, I do like the details we have gotten. And I will not elaborate because, you know, you got to find these things out on your own. I will say there is magic involved.

This book sucked me in and left me anticipating for the sequel. It is a really fun read and I am looking forward to where our journey will take us in the future.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 3.7
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    It’s kind of funny but I actually really like the books that “just work”. The ones that really there isn’t anything special about them other than they are just fun and hard to put down and you don’t even know why sometimes.

    I am so glad this was one of those reads for you! Wonderful review!!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: The Remedy by Suzanne YoungMy Profile

  2. says

    I remember seeing this one pop up on Nick’s blog and I made a mental note than to check it out but you’ve reminded me again Rashika! I’m glad this one just worked for you and was an enjoyable read! I’m curious about it and hopefully I can fit it in my review schedule :)
    Lily recently posted…Hit (Hit #1):ReviewMy Profile

  3. says

    As always, I haven’t heard of this one but I’m so glad I came across your review because you always manage to convince me to pick up novels that weren’t even on my radar before. Plus, I adore that despite being a mainly positive review, I know to keep my expectations average and not sky-high. Gorgeous, balanced review, Rashika! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Romance Mini-Reviews: Burned by Karen Marie Morning, Still the One by Jill Shalvis, The Kraken King by Meljean Brooks, and Crushed by Lauren LayneMy Profile

  4. says

    WOO! I’m really glad you gave this a shot, Rashika.
    Umm what?! I hated Eloisa from the start! I knew she was fishy in many ways and I think she has a lot up her sleeves. I can’t wait for her to go all psycho (hopefully). I was nervous about the romance too, but it was so well-done and Sophie and Cam were too adorable together. (And of course those sexy times were HOT, especially the one on their wedding night!) I’m still swooning over that one. I can’t wait to see where the story takes us next.
    Great review, Rashika!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Unrequited by Jen FrederickMy Profile

  5. says

    Haven’t really considered picking this one up, but it actually sounds like it could be a cool concept. And I’m so happy to hear that she generally thinks her actions through and thinks of the consequences! That’s something I find incredibly irritating in a lot of novels. Not every teenager is that reckless. Lovely review!
    Zoey recently posted…Review: AngelfallMy Profile

  6. says

    I really like the sound of this, Rashika! I already don’t like Eloisa for having something going on with the hero/romantic interest, but I’m a jealous (for my heroine) type of reader, so that’s not unexpected. The fact that they’re drama is mostly external rather than internal makes me happy and I do so love a heroine who thinks things through before acting! A TSTL heroine will usually ruin a book for me. I’ll have to hunt down a copy of this one. Wonderful review! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Blog Tour: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne BlankmanMy Profile

  7. says

    This actually reminds me a little of The Jewel, with the difference that Sophie is a reliable and intelligent protagonist. That’s a breath of fresh air compared to most YA books. While the romance sounds believable, I’m disappointed that the adventure dissipates too. I’ll give this one a go regardless though, if only for the entertainment value.

    Lovely review Rashika, glad you were able to enjoy this one overall <3
    Kelly recently posted…Hold Me Closer – The Tiny Cooper Story by David LevithanMy Profile

  8. says

    Oh Rashika this book sounds so good! I do really end up appreciating a book more when the plot has been done before, but you’re still able to enjoy it. And you know me I love my well written romances, I was a little wary when I’d seen that you’d written insta-attraction, but when it’s done well, I don’t mind at all. So thanks for putting this on my radar lovely!
    Jasprit recently posted…Blog Tour: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne BlankmanMy Profile

  9. says

    Glad to hear this one agreed with you Rashika, even though this seems to be romance-centric! It’s just a shame what happens to characters you immediately connect with. Sophie does sound like the perfect balance of flawed and strong, at least she isn’t a Mary Sue.

    I love the way the romance is built though, even though it happened a bit too quickly. Sometimes in the fantasy world, if it happens quickly it’s a bit easier to swallow you know?

    Wonderful review Rashika <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Review: A Book Which Spoils ItselfMy Profile

  10. says

    Wait, what/who did Queen Eloisa shift in to? Was it a lovesick puppy? WAS IT A WEREWOLF? WAS IT A LOVESICK PUPPY WEREWOLF?
    *ahem*
    Cameron sounds a little indecisive but if you love him, I’ll make room in my heart. Because your love is my love *breaks into song*

    … I don’t know what I was trying to achieve with this comment LOL
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