The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.
Today I join Jessica Thorne on tour with her latest novel, Mageborn. Described as ‘an absolutely gripping fantasy novel‘, Mageborn was published on 18th February with Bookouture and I am delighted to share with all a guest post from Jessica Thorne. I do hope you enjoy!
[ About the Book ]
Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.
The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.
Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just, but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.
Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…
A dark and addictive fantasy read, perfect for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas.
Amazing Grace by Jessica Thorne
I’ve loved fantasy romance for as long as I can remember. When it came to writing Mageborn, I found myself faced with a heroine who was a little bit… well, unconventional. Sarcastic, irritable, determined and always ready to do the right thing, Grace is a woman who doesn’t know when to give up. Both a blessing and a curse.
On the face of it Grace is one of those traditional characters of fantasy. She’s an orphan with no memory of where she came from, and no idea where she came from. Once she had magic, but somewhere in her lost past that magic was stolen from her. She doesn’t really mind. When she came to the Academy, the home of the elite officers who police the mageborn in the city of Rathlynn, she found a new family, friends like Ellyn, Daniel and Kai. She made a new life for herself and doesn’t think about what she lost. She throws herself into her work, her duty. What’s gone is gone. The past is in the past.
But life is never that simple. Especially not in a fantasy world.
And neither is Grace.
When I started writing about her, this tough as nails guardian of others, a hunter possessed of her own brand of nobility and honour, she soon revealed that she wasn’t a traditional character at all. She was not prepared to fit into that comfortable “orphan coming into their power” box. She wanted to do things differently.
Her friends mean everything to her. They are her found family. Ellyn is her sister and Daniel and Kai her brothers. They operate as a unit, a team. Her knives were a birthday gift from them. With no memory of her actual date of birth, she had to choose a birthday and picked the day she came to the Academy. That’s how much it means to her.
But in many ways Grace shuts herself off from her emotional life. As a romance writer, I was fascinated to see how she would react to a love interest with many of the same issues and problems as she has, but who deals with them in entirely different ways.
Bastien Larelwynn is everything Grace is not. He has no friends, not really. He hides himself away, closes himself off and uses the fear he engenders in others to drive them away. If Grace is the heart of Mageborn, Bastien is the soul. He’s in more trouble than he knows, and though he would deny it, he’s in more trouble than he can deal with alone. But to get the help he so dearly needs, he’ll need to open up a bit and let slip the mask he wears. Grace needs to know his secrets and she’ll stop at nothing to discover what they are.
Sometimes she just waits in silence, until people tell her what she needs to know. She knows that silence makes people uncomfortable. And when they’re uncomfortable, they talk. She also doesn’t have a lot of patience for nobility, or for mysteries. For someone like Bastien, whose whole life revolves around mysteries, and who uses his nobility as a shield, she’s a revelation. And possibly a nightmare.
The world of Rathlynn is dangerous and deadly and everyone has secrets they need to keep hidden. Sometimes they don’t even know what those secrets are. Grace constantly searches for the truth. She was always bound to cause trouble.
Tropes like the orphan with no past, or the prince who has everything and at the same time nothing, are stables of fantasy. It’s fun to play with them a bit, to draw those same characters we all know and love and then change them just enough, or twist them so we can look at them in another light. It’s part of what makes writing fantasy so interesting to me, to play with tried and trusted ideas and see what else can be made of them.
And of course, starting out with a whole new world to discover is always a thrill. The world of Mageborn is one of magic and danger, of adventure and romance. In many ways, it is the book I always wanted to write and I’m so thrilled to be able to share it now.
[ Bio ]
Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.
Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.
Author Social Media Links: