Published: February 15, 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Series: Elements of Cadence #1
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.
Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.
This was my first foray into Rebecca Ross’s work and what a wonderful starting point! I didn’t have time to squeeze in an ARC of this before its February release so I picked up the audiobook once it was available. I’m trying to balance things and pick up more audiobooks of new releases so I don’t overwhelm myself with print titles… So far, it’s been an excellent life choice! The narration was excellent and really helped bring this tale of music, warring clans, and slow burn romance together beautifully.
Jack Tamerlaine was sent away to the mainland to attend university at a young age and hasn’t stepped foot on his home island of Cadence in a decade. Until he receives a letter from his laird summoning him home to help track down girls who’ve gone missing. BUT! The letter is not from the laird, but rather his daughter Adaira who was Jack’s loathsome childhood rival. The two begin to work together to track down the missing girls – it’s either the spirits or the people from the western side of the isle – and slowly they begin to realize they might not hate each other so much after all.
This is an excellent story with a multi-layered plot and a rather nuanced cast of characters. Jack and Adaira might be the main focus in the synopsis, but there are several other POV characters that add so much to the story! Sidra and Torin provide an excellent and somewhat more mature foil to Jack and Adaira. Torin is the captain of the guard so it’s his duty to find the girls who’ve been taken and he feels it’s his failing that resulted in them being taken at all. Sidra is Torin’s wife and a healer as well. Watching the two work through grief, love, and the numerous other emotions in their relationship was moving! I love the magical elements that broadly range from spirits of water, earth, fire, and air, to bottomless lakes and tragic myths.
If you’re looking for a lovely blend of Irish and Scottish vibes and a dash of slow burn romance in your fantasy then this might be a book for you! I really ended up enjoying this though it was a slow and steady read and not one I felt tempted to rush through in a few evenings. That being said, I felt that I was able to truly savor it because it was engaging enough that I wanted to come back to it each time but I wasn’t tempted to binge it (and therefore miss details!).