Hello everybody. Today I have for you a non-spoilery review of Sara Secora’s Young Adult fantasy novel Throne of Lies, followed by an interview with the author.
What the story is about
Throne of Lies follows the journey of Amethysta Serelle, a young princess torn between her seemingly inevitable role as the future ruler of her kingdom, and her own secret dreams of freedom and passion. Amethysta lives in Vataenya, a world composed of different races and kingdoms, and where there is rampant intolerance against those who do not abide by the laws that govern them all. So, when Amethysta begins to show signs that she possesses a strange magic, one that manifests itself as a mystifying blue glow, she is desperate to find answers before her secret is found. Because princess and heir she might be, but in her kingdom, magic is forbidden to all, including royals…
My review of Throne of Lies
Throne of Lies is very character-driven, which I thought was a nice change of pace from your usual action-driven YA Fantasy. We get to spend more time exploring Amethysta’s character, which makes it easier to get really invested in her story. The book is not without its twists and turns though, as there is a bit of a mystery aspect as well. I thought it was quite fun to figure things out along with Amethysta as the story progressed. And while this first installment took its time setting up the world and characters, it is clear by the direction the story takes as it unfolds that we can expect a lot more action and exciting reveals in the next book in the series.
Since the story takes place mostly in Amethysta’s kingdom and palace, we don’t really get to see much of the rest of the realm. However, by the information we’re given in this book, it’s clear that we’ll definitely get to see a lot more of the other races and kingdoms that make up the realm of Vataenya in future books. I really look forward to discovering more of this world as our main character’s journey deepens and takes us beyond the palace walls. There was even a mention of a realm of mermaids and I’m all for that because I love mermaids ^_^
As mentioned before, the story is quite character-driven, which allowed Amethysta’s character to be very well fleshed-out. We get to learn a lot about her dreams and aspirations, as well as her struggles with anxiety and depression, the latter often resulting in her inability to eat properly at times. I thought that these elements helped make her character more real and relatable, which definitely sets her apart from your regular picture perfect YA heroine. Also, although Amethysta is revealed to possess magic, she does struggle to understand and even control it. Amethysta is no Mary Sue and her journey to learn more about her abilities and master them constitute an important aspect of her story. Amethysta might not your average uber-powered YA leading lady out to save the world, but she nevertheless remains a very strong female lead in her own right. After all, sometimes being brave is simply finding the courage to overcome your flaws and stand for yourself.
As to the other characters, while I can’t say much without some spoilers, I will however say that there is a certain blue-skinned guy that I am very much looking forward to seeing more of in the next book.
The main plotlines wrapped up quite nicely and left us with an open enough epilogue to set up a sequel that promises even more magic and adventure. While we do get some answers by the end of the book, the epilogue suggests that some more exciting reveals are looming ahead, both for us and for Amethysta.
I gave Throne of Lies 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I definitely recommend you check it out. To find out more about the book, click here.
Interview with author Sara Secora
Read on to find out more about what went in the making of Throne of Lies and to get some exciting info regarding the future of the series and what to expect in the next installment, Untoward Awakening.
Q: Amethysta is not your average picture perfect princess. She has flaws, she struggles with anxiety, and she does her best to stand for herself in a world where it is not always easy for women to get their voices heard, not even princesses. What were some of your inspirations in creating her character?
A: That description is what I was aiming for when I created her. I wanted to design a heroine that was not necessarily meant to be one or didn’t quite fit the mold, at least not in her own mind. Instead, she is filled with doubts, struggles, and even self-esteem issues. She also faces a life that’s sometimes cruel and unexpected. These challenging moments critically define her story, they’re the turning points that invoke the most important changes within her. Amethysta’s story is ripe with growth, and it’s meant to showcase a young lady blossoming into a woman that might surprise the readers and even herself.
The inspiration for Amethysta’s character is an assortment of my thoughts, experiences, and a creative fantasy twist, all neatly wrapped in a purple-eyed, hopeful package. I will admit that she is, in a way, an extension of myself. For example, her bouts with anxiety and loss of control parallels my experiences with severe anxiety disorders. I found it cathartic to write about her in this manner and I think it made my writing more personal along the way.
Q: In Throne of Lies, we are briefly introduced to the other kingdoms and races that form the world of Vataenya. Can we look forward to seeing more of these in future installments?
A: I had a lot of readers inquire about the rest of the world, and the goal from the start has always been to show the full effect of the cultures and kingdoms of Vataenya. Throne of Lies was a lot of world and character setup, and now that it’s out of the way, Untoward Awakening is ready to dive into the action. After being forced to write an entire novel inside such a confined space, it’s been a real treat to expand her playing field! The second book will unfold a tale bursting with exploration and adventure, that I can assure you.
Q: The inclusion of these different races of supernatural beings (e.g. mermaids, dwarves, elves) are a nice callback to the classic fantasy genre. What are some of your favorite fantasy stories or movies that you’d like to recommend?
A: It’s obvious that I am an avid fantasy fan. That’s the core reason why I chose the genre as my debut! As for a shortlist of a few fantasy favorites, I would highly recommend: Stardust, Lord of the Rings, The Name of the Wind, Neverwhere, Game of Thrones, Mistborn, and Eragon. You can’t go wrong with any of these!
Q: Throne of Lies introduced us to several interesting relationship dynamics between Amethysta and a few other characters, including romantic ones. Can we expect to see more romance in the sequel, Untoward Awakening?
A: Interestingly enough, I didn’t set out to a romance novel whatsoever, yet it seems to have accidently become one! But then, what’s a well-rounded story without a dash or two of love? Short answer on this one is yes, the love story will advance in Untoward Awakening, but it will be less focused. There are far more pressing matters happening and I wanted to be sure to focus on this more and love less. Many beloved characters will return, and some new ones will be brought into the light. However, not all are what they seem this time around.
Q: Amethysta loves the theatre. Do you also share her love for the performing arts? What are some of your favorite productions?
A: Amethysta is a creative girl. She loves reading, painting, and the theatre. I think subconsciously I wanted her to be like me in that way. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a true production like she has, but it has always interested me. I am, however, an actress, so maybe that was my unintentional connection to it all.
Q: Do you have a writing playlist that you like to listen to as you work? Or do you have a specific type of music that you like to listen to for inspiration?
A: I do listen to music when I write. It’s often instrumental music like pianos and violins, as well as nature sounds like rain and streams. These sounds help me sink deep into proper focus and don’t distract me. While writing I also tend to read the dialogue aloud in accents and voices to assist me in bringing the scenes to life. This is the benefit of being a voice actress and writer, I suppose!
Q: Without giving too many spoilers, what can you tell us so far about Book 2, Untoward Awakening?
A: The story picks up briefly where it left off. Amethysta attempts to return to a life of normalcy now that those closest to her have departed. Proactively, she does her best to improve the situation the only way she knows how. But unexpected, and slightly careless matters occur, and Amethysta is forced to make a drastic choice. The world of Vataenya spreads out before her as she attempts to salvage the life she’s always known, and the questions she has always wanted answered…well, they happen to find her.
Aside from being an author, Sara Secora is also a voice actress and a casting director. To find out more about this very talented lady and her various creative ventures, check out her website by clicking here.