When fate tears Estelle Verndari from an ordinary world, dreams become a sinister new reality. In Kiliac, different is dangerous. Different means magic, and magic is punishable by death.
Lost and alone in a forest of nightmares, Estelle is saved by Rose, a man with fire in his eyes and blood on his hands. But she must learn to survive this brutal new world if she ever hopes to make it home. As the forest becomes a sanctuary, Rose captures her heart, and Estelle discovers a secret magic in her soul—the ability to heal in a world full of ruin.
But an ancient power is calling her name. A tyrant king is drowning the forest in death, and taking up arms to defend it means giving up on finding her path home. If Estelle’s secret is uncovered, everything she’s grown to love will be destroyed.
This book was excellent! Daughter of Dreams and Dread is the debut novel from Clare Kae and was published in November 2020. I saw it mentioned by a few others who seemed to really enjoy it so I was excited about the premise so immediately bought a copy. This was one of my best reads this year and I cannot wait for the next book (please let there be a next book!). This story has so many great things about it- a magical, beautiful world, a plot with nonstop action (from page 1) and relationships I became seriously invested in. It was also unexpectedly dark and violent which I was not expecting given how light the story started, but it was such a pleasant surprise. The ending gives this story so much promise and I cannot wait to see where she takes the story!
Estelle, our main character, comes from a world very much like our own. She wakes up one day in a strange world with magic, strange creatures and places she’s never heard of before. We don’t know why or how Estelle got to this world, but she quickly finds her place in it. In this world, magic is illegal and Estelle learns she has some magic of her own. Estelle is fierce, snarky, determined and an overall easy heroine to love. When she realizes she won’t be going home anytime soon, she starts to become part of this new world. She develops lovely relationships with some of the other characters: Tor becomes a father-like figure, Kiita the friend she never had back home, and a budding romance with mysterious and handsome Rose. We also can’t forget Achilles! My favorite stag.
While I loved seeing these relationships develop, Estelle’s character development throughout this story was incredible. She goes through some dark, dark times and ultimately makes decisions for herself, and herself only. The ending broke my heart a little but I was so happy to see Estella start to take charge of her life. While I fully expect to see more of her relationship with Rose, I love that the focus was on Estelle for this book as she grows.
Like I mentioned above, this book gets dark. Kae has no qualms about taking this story to places I never expected and I applaud her for making me surprised with every twist and turn. She made me feel so conflicted about some of the characters – characters I did not want to have any sympathy for. This book was such a fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the story goes.
If you are a fantasy fan I highly recommend Daughter of Dreams and Dread. I promise you will not be disappointed!