Author: Kristin Jacques
Narrator: Amie Lyn Hornick
Length: 10 hours 24 minutes
Series: The Gate Cycle, Book 1
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: June 12, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
“In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but they were already in our world, and they were hungry.” (The Lost History, Library of Avergard)
Azure “Azzy” Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above. Magic-borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities – a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken. People twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread.
When Azzy’s brother Armin is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him, no matter what he becomes. The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe.
Armin is captured and bound for the auction block of Avergard – a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world. And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.
Kristin Jacques is speculative fiction author and content creator from New England. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Wells College.
Her contemporary fantasy Ragnarök Unwound was published with Sky Forest Press in January of 2019. Her award-winning dark fantasy Marrow Charm was released from Parliament House Press in October 2019. In November 2019, Marrow Charm won the Fantasy Fiction category at American Bookfest. In 2020, she signed a four-book deal with City Owl Press for the paranormal series Midnight Guardians.
When not writing, she is juggling two rambunctious boys, spoiling her cats, and catching up on a massive TBR pile. She is currently working on projects full of magic, mystery, and delight.
Amie Lyn Hornick is a professional audiobook narrator and producer with a true passion for bringing stories to life through engaging and versatile presentations. After graduating from St. Lawrence University with double majors in English and Psychology, she spent the next few years working in marketing and graphic design. For the last two years, however, she has completely immersed herself in the audiobook industry and has loved every minute of it. Based in Upstate New York, Amie spends much of her free time playing far too many video games and exploring the Adirondacks with her husband and two incredibly cute rescue dogs (who don’t quite understand why their mom spends most days speaking in weird voices).
A massive wolf dangled a foot off the ground from the thick gray cords, his twisted position giving her an eyeful of his anatomy. He wrenched against the web, painting it red. The threads were so tight around his body they cut through the thick pelt of mottled black and gray fur. He was killing himself. The more he fought, the tighter the web would constrict until it cut off his air or he bled to death. He jerked into a halting spin, half facing her His pale yellow eyes were sightless and wild, so panicked he didn’t see her standing there. His dying movements would draw them out, and soon, with the delectable promise of fresh meat. Azzy had to flee, run for the safety of the caves before the winnowrooks descended from the treetops like spidery angels of death. She holstered her axe and bent her knees, prepared to run away. The wolf’s chocking whimper made her pause. Her breath shuddered with her hesitation, her body vibrating on the edge of indecision. Her thoughts bordered on madness.
Are you ready to go on an adventure? There are monsters, witches, and magics that you wouldn’t believe. There are worms that have rows of teeth like sharks and they can come out of the ground and attack you. Don’t forget the creatures that come out and snatch you up to sell in market. Then you’d be forced to live out your days as a slave under an inhuman Lord. Who knows what they are capable of! Would you still want to go on that adventure? Jacques provides her readers with an enticing and action-packed adventure as Azzy is forced to traverse the world above ground in search for her brother.
Azzy and her brother have lost their mother and have a guardian who treats them as if they were his own. An apothecary, and highly sought after, he still cares for Azzy and her brother in spite of the hushed whispers about their susceptibility to magic. Everyone is fretful of the magic that exists above ground, so they’ve all made an underground oasis. Even this cannot stop the spread. After Armin is infected, he is cast out into the above where a band of snatchers take him away. Hell bent on finding her brother, no matter the cost, she finds that not all creatures above ground are evil. Dangerous, yes. But, not evil. Gaining followers on her journey, she has many battles to face. When she finally finds her brother though, will there be anything left to salvage of his humanity?
Jacques has an unforgettable first installment. Marrow Charm is chalked full of engaging and mysterious characters alike. There is danger around every corner, but Azzy’s determination is unfathomable considering all the stakes. The story appears to be very well-written, but this is just based on an assumption from the narrator’s ease of navigation through the story. The pace is on par with each phase of the story and Hornick provides an effortless narration to boot. Her ability to capture each character and the emotion that they portray is outstanding. Not only does Jacques provide the creativity, but Hornick adds her own brand of allure to the mix. If you are a reader of young adult fantasy and adventure series, this should be right up your alley. This is the first installment in The Gate Cycle, but it does not appear the next in the series is available yet.
An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating to Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques.
Author Kristin Jacques’ Top 10 Books You’ll Love to Read after Marrow Charm
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Liani Taylor
Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabhaa Tahir
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Angelfall by Susan Ee
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Winterwood by Shea Earnshaw
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