NOCTURNA by Maya Motayne.
Hodder & Stoughton. h/b. £14.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Prince Alfehr lost his brother in an inexplicable and impossible way, leaving him the unprepared heir to a damaged throne. In pursuit of a deep and dark magic, Alfie clings to the hope that his brother can be restored to the kingdom and set right the path that was taken from them.
It has been three months since the prince left San Cristobal behind him. Alfie returns to find the capital city distressingly unchanged in his absence, yet so much has changed in him. He returns a different person, tonight his last chance to uncover the forbidden magic he hopes will bring his brother back, desperately hoping his propio is enough to overcome those who stand in his way.
It is almost the Equinox Festival which means the city is filled with rich pickings for a skilled thief like Finn, but this time her sights are set on a higher prize that comes with more risk. Still, for someone as skilled as she, armed with her unique propio and the ability to hide in plain sight, the risk is one worth taking.
Nocturna is an exciting debut presenting a unique magic system that is as powerful and flawed as the characters who are granted its usage, told against a backdrop of thievery among the dark streets of a city unaware of its impending danger. Surprisingly dark at times, this first in the A Forgery of Magic series is a promising beginning in a new young adult series.
Alfie and Finn share the narrative points of view and are both young, sweet characters from different spectrums, each damaged and deeply changed by their pasts. The narrative progresses at a pleasingly steady pace to an ending that is satisfying and gracefully sentimental where it could have been predictable and familiar.