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Nocturna

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Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since F Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever. After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic. But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.


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Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since F Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever. After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic. But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

30 review for Nocturna

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teodora

    2/5 ⭐ Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺 Pretending I am on a gorgeous Caribbean beach, drinking coconut water and listening to some distant bachata music while reading this book and not actually reading it in my room far away from any beach within reach. Well, now I’m glad I didn’t have it with me on any beach (or, truth be said, I didn’t go to any beach whatsoever). The main reason for my affirmation: I DNF-ed this. Yep, that’s right. Maybe it’s a surprise, but not a shock. The ones who have already read that know what I mean. Nocturna is my firmean.⭐Full 2/5 ⭐ Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺 Pretending I am on a gorgeous Caribbean beach, drinking coconut water and listening to some distant bachata music while reading this book and not actually reading it in my room far away from any beach within reach. Well, now I’m glad I didn’t have it with me on any beach (or, truth be said, I didn’t go to any beach whatsoever). The main reason for my affirmation: I DNF-ed this. Yep, that’s right. Maybe it’s a surprise, but not a shock. The ones who have already read that know what I mean. Nocturna is my first DNF of the year. I am truly sorry to say that. At first, I thought it had so much potential, I really wanted it to be good. I was making myself think that it will be good and I am going to like it. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered stuff that couldn’t let me enjoy it. To imagine how exactly I felt, picture me as a cute little girl with long braids and an airy skirt jumping up and down with a basket in my hand, ready to pick some flowers and berries. I am even whistling. After a while, I stop: I think I see the flowers in the meadow! Oh, happiness! But, when I am so close to them, suddenly from nowhere a huge fence erects, standing between me and the beautiful flowers I want to pick up. I want to climb up the fence, but I see it is electrified. And also a storm is coming up so I might very well go home. It is not worth it. This is exactly how I felt after reading not even half of it. Disappointed. I thought the action was very slow. I felt like that amazing page-turner effect wasn’t there. It felt a bit "in the tree" as we like to say in Romanian. Somehow it felt unfinished. And also, I found the chapters agonisingly long. The world construction wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either. Maybe at this part, I felt the feeling of the whole plot trying. Trying to go somewhere, to do something. Fighting to go better. But it felt too much as a struggle and it made the reading a bit uncomfortable (for me! I don’t generalise!). Even the characters seemed to struggle too much to find their own personalities. And this is not quite okay, even though I know this is a YA Fantasy book and the characters tend to have changes of personalities every 10 pages. It is okay to change the personality throughout the book but at least set the right basis for it. It breaks my heart to say this so, but it is true. The best thing about this though? It actually helped me gain a bit of vocabulary in Spanish so for that I will totally give out an extra star. It was a really well-thought thing to blend the Spanish words in (or at least this is coming from the trashy language learner inside of me). It is a very good way to make people aware of one’s culture and also educate the population a bit. Ignorance kills, children! My only problem now is: if Spanish speakers wanted to read this book in Spanish without knowing the words for magic are said, originally, in Spanish, would anyone notice the aspect of Spanish-words-used-in-the-book as I did (me, a non-native Spanish speaker)?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    ✨ The book trailer is out and you can watch it here! ✨ The day may come when I stumble upon a book with a pretty cover and not immediately add it to my TBR but it is not this day. Also, this is set in a Latinx-inspired world and it's about a face-shifting thief and a prince with a magical doorknob that could lead him anywhere he desires. Take. My. Money.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    April Fairyloot Box. Click on the link under picture to see all of the goodies! THE GOODIES Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!! I was hoping to love this book!! It’s so pretty inside and out, the pages had their own special magic BUT I didn’t like it much!! And I hated that one of the main charac April Fairyloot Box. Click on the link under picture to see all of the goodies! THE GOODIES Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!! I was hoping to love this book!! It’s so pretty inside and out, the pages had their own special magic BUT I didn’t like it much!! And I hated that one of the main characters name was shortened to the nickname of Alfie! Felt like I was reading the movie A Christmas Story but with Alfie instead of Ralphie. Don’t ask, I’m weird. I’m sure this book will be for lots of people just not for me 😕 Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  4. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    ugh. this is the third book in a row where i am just feeling so uninvested. is... is this what a reading slump feels like? im not quite sure how i feel about that, or this book, tbh. from an objective standpoint, theres a bit going for this story. the latinx culture is fun and exciting and something i havent read a lot of (even if the plot is one i have - *cough* a darker shade of magic *cough*). the writing is impressive for a debut and the pacing is good with decent world building. from a subjective view, gos ugh. this is the third book in a row where i am just feeling so uninvested. is... is this what a reading slump feels like? im not quite sure how i feel about that, or this book, tbh. from an objective standpoint, theres a bit going for this story. the latinx culture is fun and exciting and something i havent read a lot of (even if the plot is one i have - *cough* a darker shade of magic *cough*). the writing is impressive for a debut and the pacing is good with decent world building. from a subjective view, gosh, i just couldnt fully immerse myself into the story or deeply care about the characters and their actions/motives. again, im pretty sure this a problem with me, not the story itself. also, im not quite sure how i feel about this being a series. i mean, the story is pretty well resolved. i dont see how it can be drawn out unless the following two books deal with different stories set in the same world, because theres nothing really to be continued from this particular book. anyway, even if this isnt quite everything i wanted, i know this is a story that a lot of people will enjoy and have good reason to. ↠ 3.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    I had hoped to love this book. And yet, somewhere deep in my little heart I knew, knew almost for certain, that I wouldn’t. That it was almost too good to be true. Now I’ve read it and lo and behold, I did not, in fact, love this book. Some of you may or may not know this about me, but I am Dominican. I was born and partially raised in The Dominican Republic, a small, Spanish speaking island in the Carribean, where the sun always shines and the beaches are always blue. So, to hear I had hoped to love this book. And yet, somewhere deep in my little heart I knew, knew almost for certain, that I wouldn’t. That it was almost too good to be true. Now I’ve read it and lo and behold, I did not, in fact, love this book. Some of you may or may not know this about me, but I am Dominican. I was born and partially raised in The Dominican Republic, a small, Spanish speaking island in the Carribean, where the sun always shines and the beaches are always blue. So, to hear that an author was going to write a fantasy novel based on her Dominican heritage I was nothing if not completely on board. So, you can only imagine how disappointed I was when this book was only superficially Latinx and could have otherwise been set in any generic European-esque kingdom. The book talked about some Hispanic foods: sweet plantains, which I love, the adobo seasoned chicken, and some other things. It used Spanish words for magic, which I gotta say, doesn’t sound as magical when you actually speak the language. Alfie would say magic words like, “Alargar” and “Parar” and magic would happen, except that these are the Spanish verbs ‘to elongate’ and ‘to stop’ and those don’t sound all that magical when you think about it. But it can’t be helped, I suppose. It’s not the book’s fault that I’m not impressed by Spanish words. Overall culturally, there wasn’t much to distinguish it from every other fantasy out there. The bible says that there is “no new thing under the sun”. So, I don’t so much look for originality in plot lines but rather for the execution of said plots because let’s be real, most books fall under the same plotlines and the same tropes, and character outlines, and still, we read them. That said, there has been an overwhelming amount of people comparing this book to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, to the point that they claim that Nocturna is nothing more than a blatant rip-off. I read ADSOM a few years ago and didn’t love it. It was an ok book for me and I really didn’t like Laila Bard. I had barely remembered that book while reading this one if I’m honest. It wasn’t until I started reading some people’s reviews that I began to think back on the other story and point out some similarities. And trust me, there are many similarities in plot, characterization, magic, and even the ending. But, as I mentioned, there is no new thing under the sun. Had this book executed that plot in a more enjoyable way, I wouldn’t have minded as much. But alas, it did not. The writing in this book is pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it was easy to read. There were some moments that felt a little info-dumpish but that’s the way it is with fantasy sometimes. The characters are alright. I found that their motivations shifted rather quickly though. They also made a lot of questionable choices, but what YA character doesn’t. There is a shift in the plot that I didn’t expect. It started out as being about one thing, mostly Alfie finding his brother, but then that takes a back seat and the plot became about something else. This is also a thing that happens a lot in books and doesn’t really bother me so long as the change in the plot is engaging and it all connects in the end. I’m not sure how well this book pulled that off. Overall, I liked that this was a Latinx fantasy, or that it tried to be. Latin American culture is extremely diverse. The Carribean Islands have a culture unlike Central America, which is different in culture from South America and all the individual countries are so rich with history and culture and traditions and it’s beautiful. We’ve seen a lot of Asian fantasy lately, and African fantasy is on the rise and I’m so happy about it. Now I want to see some Latin American fantasy take the stage. I want a book that fully throws you into the culture it’s depicting, not just brushes the surface as I feel this book did. So yeah, there you have it. I don’t think this book lived up to what it could have been. But maybe I’m just a hater? Oh, well. Also, y’all gotta check out this book trailer. No offense, but it’s actually kind of ridiculous how cringy it is. It’s like a bad video game upload, but with overly dramatic yet anticlimactic narration. To see the trailer click HERE **I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.** Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr || Pinterest

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica McKenna

    Any unabashedly good reviews of this book must be from people who either have never read V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic Trilogy, or who do not care when a book's entire plot is lifted from another source. Several sources, in fact. Because beyond the egregious ripping-off of Schwab's trilogy, even the tiny, different details are often easily traceable back to other sources, from which they have just as blatantly been stolen and cobbled. I've been annoyed at books before for s Any unabashedly good reviews of this book must be from people who either have never read V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic Trilogy, or who do not care when a book's entire plot is lifted from another source. Several sources, in fact. Because beyond the egregious ripping-off of Schwab's trilogy, even the tiny, different details are often easily traceable back to other sources, from which they have just as blatantly been stolen and cobbled. I've been annoyed at books before for stealing basic plot from popular series. Wicked Saints, for one, reminded me too much of Bardugo's Grisha series, as did Red Queen. There were dozens of teen vampire books that flooded bookshelves after Twilight, and after the Harry Potter series there were yet more dozens of magic school books. But those books, while sometimes coming too obviously close to the line, for the most part were "inspired" by the worlds they copped from. The plot as a whole tended to be new, or the characters were different, or the magic system had been very changed, or the whole thematic point of the book had been shifted. Nocturna not only steps right up to that line, it barrels across it in ways that are just unforgivable. I have never read a book that stole so much from its source material. It's not just that the main characters, Alfie, Finn, and Luka, are essentially copy-paste Kell, Lila, and Rhy. It's not just that the magic system is eerily similar, except for a few teensy tweaks. It's not just that the dark magic villain comes to power in exactly the same way, moves through human hosts in exactly the same way, and is defeated in exactly the same way. And it's not just that the thematic points of the book are overwhelmingly the same. It is all of these and much more. And it's absolutely deliberate. I spent over half the book dreaming of having a PDF version where I could search-and-find and count all of the many, many times this novel uses the phrase "shades." "Shades of magic." "Different shades." "Darker shades." Over and over and over, as if Motayne wanted you to know that she plagiarized from another author's series. But yet couldn't, apparently, be bothered to even mention that series in her acknowledgements (I checked, not that I expected her really to admit it). As for the rest of it? The stuff that's not copped from Shades of Magic? Well, you have a prison breakout scene that could be straight out of a Bardugo book. You also have a relationship between two main characters that is almost exactly Jessica Jones and Kilgrave. Other than that, there's not much different to be honest. And it got to the point where those things that were, I did not trust to be unique from Motayne's mind either. If I didn't recognize it immediately from another person's work, I started assuming it must just be because I hadn't read the work it was stolen from yet. It's that bad. And the worst, truly the worst, part of all of this is...Despite lifting things from so many sources, not perfect ones of course but ones that nevertheless got the literary job done... This book was legitimately terrible. The character motivations constantly shifted for no reason: "I want to find my brother who maybe isn't dead, but then again I guess he's dead and I never have to think about him again womp;" "I want my daughter to be dead for what she did to me but then I guess I want her to be alive and love me again but then I guess I want her dead but maybe also alive." It was nearly impossible to keep track of anyone's arc in this thing because no one had a clear one, and the backgrounds of every character became so jumbled and lost that you started just expecting to have nothing be satisfying at the end by about a third of the way through. The plot was also an incoherent mess. The main characters all had what I can only describe as a Harry Potter complex - the need to do everything by themselves, because they were the only ones who could stop the evil!...but, in fact, literally none of them had even the basic qualifications for fighting off the "evil," and there were I assume hundreds of actual military members and powerful magic-users who would have been much better suited to helping. The whole thing took place over what actually seemed to be 2-3 days, and felt that quick, too, as the characters mostly just jumped from plot-contrived scene to plot-contrived scene. Nothing felt earned, nothing felt connected, and by the end I was literally rolling my eyes as I read it because I could not believe that the reader could be expected to actually believe anything that was happening or care. At the beginning of this book, I was fine with it. It was refreshing to see a YA fantasy world from a Latinx author, based on her Dominican heritage. It was quite cool to have the magic system work with Spanish words, instead of the typical Latin. It was clearly similar to Shades of Magic, but wasn't a blatant ripoff. But by the middle, everything I had liked was gone. The world-building becomes shoddy at best, with mentions of sangria and sugarcane really the only things that separate it from any other typical fantasy world. By the end of the book, the references to these actually seemed out of place and jarring, that's how directly like Shades of Magic it had become. The Spanish continues throughout, which is fine, but without a rich culture to back it up, it starts to feel more like a gimmick than anything else. The back of my ARC has a picture of Motayne, smiling. When I turned to look at it, that's when I really knew how much this book angered me. Because all I could think was, You haven't earned the right to smile. This isn't your book. It's other people's books. And I hope you don't earn a cent more for it. Kirkus Reviews has already commented that getting a second book out of this world will be difficult, because of the lack of culture and world-building. But I think I can tell you exactly how Motayne is going to pull out a second book. And a third. There's going to be a magic tournament. And then the dark magic is going to come back from the void. Maybe after, they'll all go to Red London for drinks.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🔮

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    BIG OLD YIKES! It's hard for me to write this review because I really wanted to love this book and I was so excited to have a Fantasy book with an all Latinx cast. Sadly, this book has one big issue that I need to talk about. This book is about a prince and a thief in a magical world. The prince can travel from one place to another by making basically any wall a door. The thief steals something from the prince and they meet. The prince's cousin (who's like a brother to him) gets poison BIG OLD YIKES! It's hard for me to write this review because I really wanted to love this book and I was so excited to have a Fantasy book with an all Latinx cast. Sadly, this book has one big issue that I need to talk about. This book is about a prince and a thief in a magical world. The prince can travel from one place to another by making basically any wall a door. The thief steals something from the prince and they meet. The prince's cousin (who's like a brother to him) gets poisoned and in order to save him, the prince uses the help of black magic that's been locked away for years. The black magic gets unleashed and roams through the city, leaving destruction in its wake. It uses people as vessels, making their veins black and raised, but some are too weak and simply turn to dust. There's a piece of the black magic that the prince and the thief keep and it helps the prince bring the thief through one of his doorways, even though he usually can only go alone. That piece also wears the prince out because it tempts him to use it. Does this sound familiar? If it doesn't, you probably haven't read the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I hate to be that person but as someone who loves V.E. Schwab and the trilogy and is also know for that, it would feel wrong for me to not point these similarities out. It is UNCANNY. I know that there's rarely any truly unique books out there anymore. A lot of the elements in the plot of both NOCTURNA and SHADES OF MAGIC can be found in plenty of other books. But the fact that there's so many matching things in both, does seem weird. And it's not only the plot but also the characters, the way they behave and the dynamics between them. Alfie, the prince, has the ability to see magic which comes VERY close to Alucard's ability. While Alfie's brother, who was supposed to be King, has died prior to this story, his cousin, who, as I said above, is like a brother to Alfie, reads a lot like Rhy. And while Alfie did remind me off Kell often times the thing that really rubbed me the wrong way, is the fact that Finn, the thief, IS Lila Bard. Like let's just take a look at some of these quotes. “Nothing makes me feel small without paying the price. That creepy thing owes me a debt for that, and I always get what I'm owed.” “But if Finn was known for anything, it was jumping headfirst into things that were very bad ideas.” “'I don't have much fear in me, Prince. I'm not going to waste it on him,' she said, her mouth curling into a snarl around that word. She tossed him a smirk that almost covered the turmoil churning beneath it.” “She'd always imagined the weight of someone's hand in her own to feel like an anchor, tugging her into a forced stasis when she only wanted to run, to be free. Yet now, she wanted nothing more than to stay. She felt more freedom in this moment than all her years combined. Freedom, she was coming to understand, could be found in a person instead of a place.” I'm a hardcore Shades of Magic fan but you probably could've sold these to me as something that Lila has said and I would've believe you, that's how much this sounds like her. She is in general scared of staying too long in one place, she is scared of commitment and getting attached to other people. This also shows in her dynamic with Alfie, where both clearly like each other a lot but don't wanna admit it. And the book ends with Finn leaving on a ship. It's just all a tad too close. And again, I hate doing this. I don't want to call this book out like this but there is absolutely no way to unsee the similarities. So here I am, just putting out what I personally observed. In the beginning I still enjoyed this book regardless but when there were more and more similarities, I started disliking this book more and more as well. On top of that I thought the second half was incredibly boring, funnily exactly when it started going into a different direction plot wise. So I'm sure this book will work for some people. I didn't dislike it because it is bad but because I think it is absolutely too close to my favourite trilogy of all time. It feels uncomfortable to read this book with all its similarities but also in comparison, it just cannot hold up at all. ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦ I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cinda

    Welcome to San Cristobal, a Latinx kingdom laced with magic and grappling with homegrown treachery and a colonial past. When the true heir to the throne is assassinated, reluctant Prince Alfehr joins forces with a chameleon of a street thief to save the kingdom from an ancient evil. In the process, they may find a way to save each other. Fantasy fans will embrace the creative worldbuilding and welcome these flawed and multi-layered characters into their hearts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    helena

    FASCINATING! i always wanted to read a latino-inspired ya fantasy. there are lots of fantasies inspired in europe or the us. even arabic-inspired. but i searched and searched for something latino, something like nocturna, and i never found it. thankfully, maya motayne exists. and her book is AMAZING! the world-building is incredible. i’m gonna be honest with you: when i started reading it, i couldn’t stop thinking that nocturna is actually a darker shade of magic, but in south america. but, as the story progressed,/>the FASCINATING! i always wanted to read a latino-inspired ya fantasy. there are lots of fantasies inspired in europe or the us. even arabic-inspired. but i searched and searched for something latino, something like nocturna, and i never found it. thankfully, maya motayne exists. and her book is AMAZING! the world-building is incredible. i’m gonna be honest with you: when i started reading it, i couldn’t stop thinking that nocturna is actually a darker shade of magic, but in south america. but, as the story progressed, the more the world was well-built and it completely showed for what it came for. the characters were well-written and flawed. i loved all of them. period. except the villain, of course, i wanted him to choke. the writing was lyrical, metaphorical and deep. i am a huge fan of metaphorical writing and, not only she gave me what i always wanted, maya delivered it in That Writing!!!! ICONIC. the plot was perfectly sewed. everything happened for a reason. and all this events were tied in the end, even stuff that happened pre-book. just amazing. the main characters had such chemistry. the romance—or the start of it—was soooooo good. i want them to marry and have babies. the light-dark duality was so interestingly built. there is a plot in this book about light and dark, and it works around showing was that we are actually built with both inside of us. i just love it. That Latino™ Stuff. WOW. that’s what i’m talking about. castallan is a country that is clearly a mixture of south american countries. including brazil. i said in an update that it’s very common for foreign stuff to talk about latino countries and completely ignore brazil in that matter. we are mostly not considered latinos because we don’t speak spanish. but maya included us and i couldn’t be more thankful. the characters speak mostly spanish, but castallan had sugarcane fields. the magical words were in spanish, but there were dueños (spanish) and bruxos (portuguese). i think you get my point. reading this book was a delight. an embrace. i highy recommend! ____________________ pre-review. release date: july (brazilian edition) A LATINX-INSPIRED FANTASY????? IS IT CHRISTMAS??????

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    A face-shifting thief, who steals more than just food and coin to survive but also the faces of those she meets, and a prince, with a magical doorknob to lead him directly to wherever he wants in the world, combine in an unprecedented interweaving of fates. The former, Finn Voy, seeks to escape the dark shadow dominating her past but finds herself with a new foe to duel with, when she aligns her plight with the Prince's. Prince Alfehr is not concerned with ruling the kingdom but only A face-shifting thief, who steals more than just food and coin to survive but also the faces of those she meets, and a prince, with a magical doorknob to lead him directly to wherever he wants in the world, combine in an unprecedented interweaving of fates. The former, Finn Voy, seeks to escape the dark shadow dominating her past but finds herself with a new foe to duel with, when she aligns her plight with the Prince's. Prince Alfehr is not concerned with ruling the kingdom but only in seeking the brother who was stolen from him and now considered dead. He disbelieves these rumours and searches for answers in dark and forgotten magic. But instead of finding a brother returned he unwittingly unleashes an ancient magic, which seeks to take the kingdom and his people for its own. This magic system is the most inventive and unique I have experienced for such a long time. The initial portion was a little dense, because of this, but Motayne ensured her readers were provided a proper basis in which to understand this complex system, before the action truly started. I also loved both central characters. They were disparate in personality but both were aligned in the instant adoration I felt for them. Finn is an unapologetic badass whilst Alfie is a precious little cinnamon roll, and seeing these polar opposites interact provided some hilarious incidents that nicely offset the surrounding tension. Their dialogue was sarcastic as they continually sought to test their wits against each other and both proved stubborn and spiteful, at first. These feelings slowly thawed, as the novel progressed, and this was one of the best instances of enemies to lovers I have seen documented. The only slight mar in this otherwise stellar read was the slightly stodgy pace, I have already mentioned. However, the unique magic system, intriguing world, and authentic characters all made this undoubtedly one fantasy book to keep on your radar, for 2019, and ensured Maya Motayne a future auto-buy author for me, from now on. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Maya Motayne, and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for this opportunity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finn is a shapeshifter, a thief and a trickster. She steals faces, loosing herself amongst the crowds to keep one step ahead. Until her luck runs out, and she’s forced to steal treasure or loose her powers forever. When her plans align with that of a forlorn prince, who holds the power of moving between worlds, she sets her sights on a prize worth taking, but is the risk worth the consequences? The world building is both I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finn is a shapeshifter, a thief and a trickster. She steals faces, loosing herself amongst the crowds to keep one step ahead. Until her luck runs out, and she’s forced to steal treasure or loose her powers forever. When her plans align with that of a forlorn prince, who holds the power of moving between worlds, she sets her sights on a prize worth taking, but is the risk worth the consequences? The world building is both complex and reasonably told, with a solid backstory to support a good grounded magical system, although with a few ‘info dumps’ along the way. The descriptions of the Latino inspired culture also drew me right into the story, and I could almost imagine myself walking the colourful, magical streets, and eating the wonderful Hispanic foods depicted. If anything, I would have appreciated more Latin flavours scattered throughout the book to really elevate this to the next level. The inclusion of Spanish words for magical spells was nice, but feels a little underwhelming compared to the ‘real’ Latino culture that could have been added, but I appreciated the effort. It tried to be different. I also found the two central characters, Finn and Alfie, likeable and fun. Finn is the typical YA heroine - masterful thief, full of wit and banter while Alfie is the emotional royal who’s just desperate to find his brother. They’re opposites in a lot of ways, but bounce off each other well and I enjoyed their conversations together throughout the book. There’s charisma and enough spark between the pair that their partnership doesn’t feel forced or tired. I would have liked them to perhaps have been more developed individually, and perhaps be a little more unique than the stereotypes they are, but again, I didn’t hate them. This brings me onto my main point, which is the story itself. Aside from the Latino elements, the plot is a rehash of a lot of other YA novels that have done the rounds in the last couple of years. There’s nothing truly unique or original about it at all, and I also found the pacing quite slow, with the actual action not really starting until 100+ pages in. This meant that at times I really struggled through the plot because I knew what was going to happen before it did. Nothing is particularly memorable either, and I just ended up feeling very underwhelmed at the wasted potential. An average YA fantasy with summery Latin flavours, this is let down by an unoriginal plot and stereotypical characters that I’ve seen way too many times before.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer

    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz LATINX WORLD! Yeah, so I've lived among Latin people for years and love the food, culture and language. It really excited me to read that we'd get a fantasy world inspired by a rarely seen culture. And come one... how can I not be excited for a character that can change their face!? The Premise When I started Nocturna I had totally forgotten what the premise had said about it. The only thing I remembered what that it was Latinx!! Right away I was captured by Prince Alfehr's passiface!?TheWriter...The Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz LATINX WORLD! Yeah, so I've lived among Latin people for years and love the food, culture and language. It really excited me to read that we'd get a fantasy world inspired by a rarely seen culture. And come one... how can I not be excited for a character that can change their face!? The Premise When I started Nocturna I had totally forgotten what the premise had said about it. The only thing I remembered what that it was Latinx!! Right away I was captured by Prince Alfehr's passionate desire to save his brother. This totally captured me!! How would he obtain the magic he needed?! And when we met Finn I wondered how she fit in... How would being able to change her face help the prince find his brother?! I was so excited for Alfie to find this big brother and be his rescuer... Yeah well that was all just a gimmick. Turns out the story is really about this face changing thief and the mess she gets into by being greedy! So a little suspicious I reluctantly settle back to follow her on the job... And its all trouble of her own making. This kind of story makes me really mad. Not because these two are being true to their age but because I don't believe that teenagers suddenly overnight (the book only covers a couple days) do what's right when before they were verging on morally grey (and actually professing to be a serial murderer!) It feels like a story crafted because the author knows what readers like to read about. The plot smacks of things arising because of contrivance rather than from the character's fears and motivations. My Experience As we get to know Finn I really appreciated that the Prince for all his soft ways gave as good as he got from her. I really appreciated that Motayne tried to flip the typical tropes on their head. And I found the magic system super intriguing. And then I got to 25% and I realized that all the setup with the brother was for naught. It had nothing really to do with the story contained in Nocturna. It was incidental back history that was presented as if it had bearing on the plot. This really annoyed me. I signed up for one book and got a totally different one!! And at this point I really started to recognize the story. It's really an odd feeling. I don't make connections between different books easily but I started to feel like I've read this story before. Then the little bit of Latin culture that was flavoring the first 25% also fell away. The world went totally flat and felt like any other generic fantasy world. I wouldn't have minded the similarities so much if Nocturna really gave me a flavor of Latin culture. The one piece of culture that I could see is the story of Sombra. I did appreciate how it related to events and how the villain arose from it. I do wish that the plot against the royal family would have tied into present circumstances better. Because I REALLY appreciated Xiomara. She was my favorite character!! I would have really loved to read her POV too. She made the end not such a sour taste in my mouth because I totally related to her teenage angst and redemption. Cover & Title grade -> B- I really love the red mosaic tile cover design. It's gorgeous, authentic and gives the flavor of what a Latinx world should feel like. I liked a lot! The title though became very confusing for me. It references a state the world would fall into if certain criteria are met... Except that criteria isn't met in Nocturna... So uhhhh why the name?! It's just odd to me. And was rather anti-climatic as a result. Why you may enjoy Nocturna despite its flaws? -Alfie and Finn are REAL TEENS! By the time the real story got started I also realized that Alfie and Finn read like REAL TEENS! They make seriously dumb mistakes and don't think about the consequences at all. As a teen I actually thought about the costs and benefits of my actions so I don't relate well to this kind of selfish stupidity. But real teens very well could understand and make the same choices. -There is no place to stop, its GO GO GO! The action was non-stop though! The pacing was just so speedy. They'd get into trouble but slip right out of it. Never once did the Prince think to go to his teacher who had handled this trouble before. His reasoning though does fit the stupid teen mold so I went with it. -A cliffhanger free ending is a TOTAL YES! Oddly this reads as a standalone! Just like the story that it reminds me of Nocturna ends without a cliffhanger. Their plan has a few hiccups but for the most part is executed flawlessly. I did feel like this hate to love romance felt a little more organic between our Prince and thief. It isn't my favorite OTP but I did feel like the feelings between them developed over time and not suddenly. -An emotion based magic system is a MEGA-WOW! I REALLY loved the magic system. While the face changing felt a bit of a contrivance just to get Finn into trouble the Prince's magic was really neat. I loved how he could see magic through its colors and adapt to anything because of that knowledge. I totally don't regret reading Nocturna just to have experienced it. Sure Nocturna reminds me of another fantasy I've read, and you too may find a lot of parallels, but it is full of action, daring-do and romance. I'm interested to see where the A Forgery of Magic series goes in the next book. But please... Will we finally get back to the brother?! ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ World Building Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions. ______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter... Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    julia ♥

    read the full review on my blog : here! "Magic could not speak, yet interacting with it felt like a conversation, a dance, a story shared with a friend with the ending left up to interpretation." 2019 is just full of beautifully diverse fantasy releases, and Nocturna had been on my TBR since the beginning of the year. Imagine my delight when I received this book in one of my April subscription boxes (and this gorgeous special edition no less!) Of course I had to immediately dive into this book! What is/>What read the full review on my blog : here! "Magic could not speak, yet interacting with it felt like a conversation, a dance, a story shared with a friend with the ending left up to interpretation." 2019 is just full of beautifully diverse fantasy releases, and Nocturna had been on my TBR since the beginning of the year. Imagine my delight when I received this book in one of my April subscription boxes (and this gorgeous special edition no less!) Of course I had to immediately dive into this book! What is Nocturna about? Set in a Latinx-inspired world, Nocturna centers around professional thief, Finn Voy, who uses magic to take on many faces but her own. But, when she is caught by a mobster, and the only way out is a heist of something valuable in the Castellan palace, she is faced with the danger of losing her magic forever. Finn teams up with prince Alfie, who is grieving the loss of his brother, and is desperately trying to find a way to get him back. However, the two of them accidentally unleash a horrific power, and, in order to contain it, Finn and Alfie are forced to work together. Will this unlikely alliance work? “She'd always imagined the weight of someone's hand in her own to feel like an anchor, tugging her into a forced stasis when she only wanted to run, to be free. Yet now, she wanted nothing more than to stay. She felt more freedom in this moment than all her years combined. Freedom, she was coming to understand, could be found in a person instead of a place.” What did I think of Nocturna? Reading Nocturna was such a pleasant experience: I found that the writing and characters immediately pulled me in. The world-building was rich and the Latinx-inspired universe was very refreshing within the YA genre. I enjoyed the little Spanish phrases plastered about in the text, seamlessly switching between languages, as well as the non-white cast. That is right, all of the characters are latinx! The premise for both main characters is what initially drew me in. The concept of a face-stealing thief is very original. Her past abuse and trauma has resulted in her never wanting to look like herself again, which adds such a great layer to the character of Finn. I also like how versatile and dynamic she's portrayed. The way in which her confusion between the affection she seems to feel for Alfie and her usual apathetic side seems to conflict, and how she switches between 'Prince' and Alfie's name supplies yet another interesting tier. In addition, I also really liked Alfie as a character, which for me, isn't very surprising considering we know I have a thing for princes. Alfie's grief for his brother, and the issues he has with magic really made the character feel alive. The witty dynamic between the two is reminiscent of Kell and Lila from A Darker Shade of Magic, but not overly so. (Also, I've seen a lot of ADSOM comparisons in previous reviews, but I feel that comparing books often sells them short, in the sense that essentially they are all their own universes and characters!). Additionally, it was refreshing to see the relationship between the two develop not too quickly. I've read a lot of fantasy debuts this year that featured a rapidly growing relationship (sometime too quickly). And, while that's not so much of a turn-off for me when it comes to books, I prefer the slowburn Motayne has going on between her characters! In the end, the characters and their interactions ended up being what made the book so enjoyable for me. Another interesting dynamic was the one between Finn and Ignacio, her previous father-figure/abuser who uses his magic to manipulate her into staying with him and acting like his 'daughter'. The fact the villain seems to have a close personal connection to the protagonist added that extra bit of dramatics, and made the villain a lot more interesting to read about. I find myself often bored when YA fantasy includes a very black-and-white two-dimensional villain, and while Ignacio seems to still be portrayed as pure evil, the fact that Finn has a connection to him made the stakes higher for readers of the story. The plot in itself was interesting and I see where the writer wants to go. However, it sets up for a climax that unfortunately doesn't succeed when it comes to the height of its impact in this first book. The climactic events are resolved rather quickly, which was kind of a shame because, as a reader, you're anticipating more than you're essentially getting. Although, aside from this fact, the pacing of the book didn't feel either too rushed or too slow, and overall provided a very enjoyable reading experience. Motayne, then, has definitely captured my attention with these characters when it comes to future books in the series. The characters, setting and universe all promise great things for the sequel that is inevitably coming soon! 4.5/5.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Renee Godding

    2.5/5 stars Rounded down for the complete lack of originality. This was very (very )standard tropish YA fantasy and I was a little disappointed. Nothing quite wrong with it but nothing special either... I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get exactly what I was expecting going into this book: a very standard, middle of the road YA-fantasy, that is entertaining enough but ultimately adds nothing new to the genre that we haven’t seen a million times before, if not better. That could pretty much(very 2.5/5 stars Rounded down for the complete lack of originality. This was very (very )standard tropish YA fantasy and I was a little disappointed. Nothing quite wrong with it but nothing special either... I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get exactly what I was expecting going into this book: a very standard, middle of the road YA-fantasy, that is entertaining enough but ultimately adds nothing new to the genre that we haven’t seen a million times before, if not better. That could pretty much be my one sentence review of this book unfortunately. We follow our two magically inclined protagonists, a face-shifting thief and a prince with the ability to create and travel through portals, on their quest to rebind an ancient magic that wreaking havoc on the kingdom. Add in a Latinex setting, a one dimensional villain, and a lot of elements from different YA books and you get Nocturna. I respect that it is very hard to be wholly original in this day and age where media is so widespread and influential, but when I say it borrows “a lot of elements” from other books, I mean a lot! The main inspiration seems to have been A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, as the similarities are just very hard to overlook. Female heroine Finn is basically a clone of Lila Bard, male hero Alfehr has the same doorknob/portal magic as Kel does, and large parts of the plot play out along pretty much the same beats as ADSOM. Other influences seem to include The Grisha verse by Leigh Bardugo (mainly in the magic system, as well as the heist-parts), Harry Potter (the direct lifting of the vanishing cloak), and some other very well known YA series in lesser parts. Again: I don’t expect every book to be world-shatteringly original, but in this case, the book felt like it just had too little of its own to offer to compensate. In the end, Nocturn feels like a perfectly decent read to pass the time, but unfortunately not one I’ll remember for years and years to come. If you just want a new YA-fantasy, especially with a summery setting to entertain you over the summer break, this is a fine choice. If you’re looking for something wholly original that you’ve never read before, I don’t think you’ll find that here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeann (Happy Indulgence)

    This review originally appeared on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews! As someone who loves fantasy and diverse reads, the premise of Nocturna really interested me: a Latinx inspired world, a faceless thief and a prince with dark magic. I was definitely intrigued and really keen to pick this up for The Name of the Book club. The beginning of the book starts with a bang, as we first meet Finn, the faceless thief who can mould her face into anyone else's and whos This review originally appeared on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews! As someone who loves fantasy and diverse reads, the premise of Nocturna really interested me: a Latinx inspired world, a faceless thief and a prince with dark magic. I was definitely intrigued and really keen to pick this up for The Name of the Book club. The beginning of the book starts with a bang, as we first meet Finn, the faceless thief who can mould her face into anyone else's and whose goal is to break into the palace to steal an invisible cloak. She's wiley, snarky and street smart and definitely someone we could root for. There's also the crown Prince Alfehr (aka. Alfie), who is grieving the recent loss of his brother. With a dragon talisman on his body and magic that he's only coming to terms with, I was definitely curious about his story. I liked the Latinx inspired elements in the story, as the Castellan throne rose up after the Englassan rule, but there wasn't too much more world-building past this point aside from the food, fashion and Spanish phrases thrown in here and there. I know it's not the purpose of an #ownvoices author to educate about their culture, but it honestly felt like it was barely there throughout the story and could've been fleshed out a lot more. I can definitely see why there's a lot of comparisons between this book and A Darker Shade of Magic, because Finn felt like a similar character to Lila Bard. However, I think there were enough differences to set the two apart, with the Latinx-inspired elements and the propio magic system. While the banter between the two characters was definitely my favourite part of the story, there were one too many plot conveniences that limited my enjoyment for the rest of the book. Trigger warnings: parental abuse, blood and gore, torture I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Ugh another book that I never reviewed or rated. Nocturna was a book that I got from my Fairyloot box. I was really excited because the synopsis sounded amazing. Heck, I even got a buddy to read this with and yet - I feel like something was missing. In it, you will meet Alfie and Finn. Alfie is the crown prince who goes into detective mode because he doesn't believe his brother is dead. Nope, so he goes out on an adventure to find magic and stuff. Then there's Finn, who is a thief an/> Ugh another book that I never reviewed or rated. Nocturna was a book that I got from my Fairyloot box. I was really excited because the synopsis sounded amazing. Heck, I even got a buddy to read this with and yet - I feel like something was missing. In it, you will meet Alfie and Finn. Alfie is the crown prince who goes into detective mode because he doesn't believe his brother is dead. Nope, so he goes out on an adventure to find magic and stuff. Then there's Finn, who is a thief and kind of a bad ass. She has zero regrets about what she does because she needs to stay alive. It doesn't hurt one bit when these two teamed up. If I'm being honest, it probably made the book a bit better in my eyes. I liked these two character but I wasn't obsessed or in love with them completely. They were just enjoyable to read about and I wanted to see where this book was going to take me. In the end, these two definitely have some stuff that they need to work on. I need more scheming to be done in the next book. Heck, I just need these two period and more schemes. Definitely more schemes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    DO. NOT. MISS. THIS. “This searing, magical Latinx-inspired fantasy pulled me in from the first page and did not let me go. I loved adventuring with brave Alfie and brash Finn, and I held my breath until the end. NOCTURNA is a magnificent debut, powerful and true.” - Julie C. Dao, author of FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS

  19. 4 out of 5

    ♠️ TABI ♠️

    DNF @ p.183 because I'm learning when to accept that a book just isn't good enough. So I was getting a sense of "I've read this kind of book before" along with noting how I wasn't getting the fierce, Latinx-soaked fantasy I was promised. Then I did some review reading and realized that I HAD read this before: A Darker Shade of Magic. And thus the woke realization that this was basically a fanfic version of ADS"I've DNF @ p.183 because I'm learning when to accept that a book just isn't good enough. So I was getting a sense of "I've read this kind of book before" along with noting how I wasn't getting the fierce, Latinx-soaked fantasy I was promised. Then I did some review reading and realized that I HAD read this before: A Darker Shade of Magic. And thus the woke realization that this was basically a fanfic version of ADSOM that wasn't even a GOOD fanfic, well, I decided to just stop boring myself and put this aside. Here are some longer reviews going further in depth about the issues I had with this book: Jessica McKenna's review & Lea's review

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Nocturna is by far, BY FAR, the worst book I have read this year. Granted, it's only March, but even if another book displaces this as my most despised of 2019, it will remain amongst the top three at the very least. Basically, this book is just a Latinx , poorly written copy of the far superior A Darker Shade of Magic. WARNING: Spoilers ahead for both books, so beware! Seriously, Finn is basically Lila Bard, Alfehr is a whiny amalgamation of Kell and Rhy, and Alfehr uses 'magic doors' to Nocturna is by far, BY FAR, the worst book I have read this year. Granted, it's only March, but even if another book displaces this as my most despised of 2019, it will remain amongst the top three at the very least. Basically, this book is just a Latinx , poorly written copy of the far superior A Darker Shade of Magic. WARNING: Spoilers ahead for both books, so beware! Seriously, Finn is basically Lila Bard, Alfehr is a whiny amalgamation of Kell and Rhy, and Alfehr uses 'magic doors' to get through to different parts of the world. Additionally, Alfehr can see magic in a way no one else can (Kell-esque), he would do anything for his cousin (I'm so feeling an inferior Kell/Rhy relationship here), to the point where he bloody well releases the darkest evil magic into the world, which has the colour black and controls people. Seriously? How Motayne has managed to get this published is beyond me, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a legal battle on her horizon for an infringement of V. E. Schwab's copyright. I actually got so annoyed that I flipped through, just to see how it ended. AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW??? They save the day (basically in love) where Finn goes off on her thieving way - JUST LIKE BLOODY LILA AND KELL! OH MY GOSH I AM SO ANGRY! And considerign the amount of caps used in this review, I think it's time for me to end it. If I keep going, it will basically be a furious rant in caps with me just going "Why? Oh tell me Why!?". Recommend: Noone. Not a soul. Read A Darker Shade of Magic instead. And if you don't then you're a damned fool. Age: I don't even care. It's YA. Make your own bloody decision. Warnings: This is seriously beyond me now. If you've read this far, I apologise, but maybe ask someone else these questions. Note: I received this ARC for review purposes only.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sea Reads

    DNF at 35%. Over-the-top similarities to A Darker Shade of Magic with a writing style I could not get into (loads of awkward and poorly placed info-dumping, telling instead of showing, etc.), and a Celaena Sardothien style female MC who swears all the time and that's how you're supposed to know that she's fierce. If I had a dollar for every time Finn's narration included "She'd be damned if..." in the first 35% of the book, it would probably be enough to buy the hardcover edition.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hollis

    Man I'm really getting hit with a lot of these YA fantasy three star series starters right now. Not that three stars are bad, as we forever have to remind ourselves.. "Alfie says your trade is thieving goods, but you seem just as adept at thieving hearts." "Was that as embarrassing to say as it was to hear?" So much of this was so good! It's an #ownvoices fantasy set in a Latinx-inspired world, with a very interesting magic system, a face-changing thief, a prince in mourning and not dealing well with grief/>"Was/>"Alfie Man I'm really getting hit with a lot of these YA fantasy three star series starters right now. Not that three stars are bad, as we forever have to remind ourselves.. "Alfie says your trade is thieving goods, but you seem just as adept at thieving hearts." "Was that as embarrassing to say as it was to hear?" So much of this was so good! It's an #ownvoices fantasy set in a Latinx-inspired world, with a very interesting magic system, a face-changing thief, a prince in mourning and not dealing well with grief, a kingdom of people who have only recently shaken off their oppressors, and a big bad evil unleashed because of good intentions. A recurring theme in NOCTURNA seems to be grey areas and shades of grey. Always juicy. There's also some hella dark subject matter and backstory and some pretty gruesome scenes while evil skips along wreaking havoc and twirling its mustache all diabolical and shit. His mourning was like the fireflies -- there were moments when it disappeared from sight, but it would always spark into existence again, recurring, resilient. But. Magic could not speak, yet interacting with it felt like a conversation, a dance, a story shared with a friend with the ending left up to interpretation. I'm not sure I loved the characters. One POV I found to be particularly pointless, I waffled between liking and yet also finding the protagonists too immature, and found them not very consistent at times. I know they are teens, blah-di-blah, but was a bit jarring. Which made it extra disappointing because this is so well written, so beautifully imagined, and with much potential for future sequels -- though, slight spoiler, this wraps up and doesn't have a cliffhanger which was quite a surprise. A good one, in my mind. But it makes me wonder what is to come; which is I'm sure exactly what the author wants. Well played. So, yes, you got me. I'll definitely read on. I am intrigued. I just can't quite round up. 3.5 stars ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

  23. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    A fun read! A world very well developed, full of magic, darkness, and mystery. It's also unique and well thought-out. Action from start to finish with flawed characters who are an unlikely pair that end up being the perfect match. Full review to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!). DNF at 50% (and hence I will not rate it). In a world ruled by different kinds of magic, Alfie is a Prince, Finn is a Thief and due to a dangerous card game, they end up meeting. Alfie knows privilege and abundance, Finn knows poverty and hunger, but although they're from different worlds, they both know pain, struggle, and loss. Nocturna is a Latinx inspired Fantasy. I was so excited to be able to read it ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!). DNF at 50% (and hence I will not rate it). In a world ruled by different kinds of magic, Alfie is a Prince, Finn is a Thief and due to a dangerous card game, they end up meeting. Alfie knows privilege and abundance, Finn knows poverty and hunger, but although they're from different worlds, they both know pain, struggle, and loss. Nocturna is a Latinx inspired Fantasy. I was so excited to be able to read it, really. Everyone is pointing out the similarities between this and A Darker Shade of Magic. I must be one of the very rare people on the planet who actually did not enjoy ADSOM much, but from what I remember, yes, there are indeed many similarities. However, no surprise because nowadays YA Fantasy is oversaturated with the same themes, the same type of characters, the same kind of plots... over and over again. At first, this looked like Elena of Avalor Meets Avatar the Last Airbender. The beginning was wonderful, but then the "Darkness" comes and well, I just lost interest. Worst to me is this: Again, we have the trope of a villainized parental figure. I understand it is important to promote autonomy to adolescents and show unhealthy patterns of some bad parents, and that parents make amazing villains but why do it over and over and over again? Years ago that trope was amazing, my inner teen self was rejoicing. Now, I'm tired of reading about the "parent" villain and I crave to read about a healthy relationship between Parents and their children. Anyway, I think it's important that the author tried to build a world Latinx inspired and I'm glad she did. I think the story had a lot of potential because (the heroine) Finn has the interesting ability to shift faces and Alfie (the hero) is a sweet cinnamon roll. I enjoyed the slow burn romance, magic system, mythology, and LGBT representation. However, it was not enough to keep my interest.

  25. 4 out of 5

    .

    🌼review can be found on my blog! 🌼

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karima chermiti

    Perfect for fans of A Darker Shade of Magic, Nocturna is a story that takes familiar YA fantasy elements and makes them addictive and fun. Truth to be told, I didn’t have great expectations going into the story but I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed and loved this book. There are definitely some flaws but it was a wild ride from start to finish and I can’t wait to read the sequel. A fox does not wait for an invitation, he waits for an opening Nocturna is set in a Latinx-based world and it revolves Al/> Perfect for fans of A Darker Shade of Magic, Nocturna is a story that takes familiar YA fantasy elements and makes them addictive and fun. Truth to be told, I didn’t have great expectations going into the story but I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed and loved this book. There are definitely some flaws but it was a wild ride from start to finish and I can’t wait to read the sequel. A fox does not wait for an invitation, he waits for an opening Nocturna is set in a Latinx-based world and it revolves Alfie and Finn, A prince who is seeking to bring back his dead brother and a face-changing thief who has to pull a theft no one did before and the dark evil power they unleash accidently when saving a friend in need. I actually think it’s better to go into the book without knowing a lot about it, that way you’ll enjoy it way better and be surprised by some of the turns and twists of the story. Some of the events mentioned in the Goodreads synopsis take place after 30% of the book and for me, It kind of spoiled something big that I wouldn’t see coming if I didn’t know about beforehand. Freedom, she was coming to understand, could be found in a person instead of a place. But I still enjoyed it so much. The story felt familiar in some many ways but I didn’t care, It was action-packed, it was fun to read and it was compulsively-readable. I enjoyed the action scenes and all the ways the plot progressed. The pace was perfect for this kind of story and I think the author balanced the plot development and the characters growth very nicely. Also, I loved the writing style so much, it was perfect for the characters and what they were going through. It just fit the atmosphere and the vibe of the book very much and it was revealing to the inside of the characters. If she longed to be untouchable, it was because someone had taken her in their hands and broken her. If she wanted to fly from identity to identity, then she’d tarnished the one she’d been born with too much to return to it. And speaking of the characters, I liked them very much. They are flawed individuals who do reckless things and make mistakes but they are aware of that and try and make it right every step of the way. I like characters who are self-aware and take responsibility of their actions. Also their arcs are done very well, the way they go from jaded and desperate people who doesn’t believe in their worth to people who believe in themselves and what they’re capable in doing was heartwarming for me and very rewarding. I adored Luka, he was a breath of fresh air in this dark tale. I really think he will play a larger role in the sequel but as for now, he’s too witty and adorable for his own good. Who you are when you’re angry is still you. It doesn’t have to be all of you, but it’s a piece of you all the same. If you deny that, you might as well deny your whole maldito self and be done with it The dynamic between Finn and Alfie is so good too, I like the way the relationship evolved and even though the ending was bittersweet, I still have hope for them. After all, we still have two books in this trilogy and I know for sure, we didn’t see the last of their connection. The only thing I didn’t like is how the story dragged a little bit in the second half of the book and I also felt a little confused when it comes to the final battle. Also, this book is really similar to A Darker Shade of Magic in a way that could annoy some people. To be honest, I was fine with it most of the times but Finn’s journey and how it was resolved at the end felt identical to Lila from that book and it didn’t really impress me that much. I just wanted Finn to have something to make her different and special considering that in my opinion, she is a better character that Lila ever could be So I hope in the sequel, She will have a story that feels hers and only hers. So the glaring similarities aside, I enjoyed this book so much and I will gladly continue on with the series. The book was wrapped up very nicely, no plot holes, no unresolved business so I’m curious about where the story will take us next. *********************************** So I’m participating in N.E.W.T.s, a monthly-long magical readathon who is Harry-potter Themed. Basically, You have to pick a Wizarding Career to follow and then You have to get all the grades that will allow you to have that career. So for me, I’ve chosen to become an Auror which means that I have to get : O in defense against the dark Arts E in charms E in potions A in herbology A in Transfiguration So in order to get my O in Defense against the dark arts, I need to go through three challenges which are : A : A book that’s black under the dust jacket : Nocturna by Maya Motayne : 4 stars E : First book that you just now remembered from your TBR O : Read a book written by an English author or set in England

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Wow I am really impressed. I am so glad that I didn't let this book slip past my radar because I hated the cover. I loved the magic system and all the heists. Full review to come!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    2019 might end up being the year of disappointing books. Nocturna was problematic yet I still found it entertaining, and I will admit that I enjoyed reading it. You might be wondering why such a low rating then? It's because I have a big problem with authors who take the exact story, plot, characters of a popular series that is loved by many. In this case, that series is A Darker Shade of Magic and Nocturna is a rip-off, water-downed version of ADSOM with a Latin element slapped on it. To start 2019 might end up being the year of disappointing books. Nocturna was problematic yet I still found it entertaining, and I will admit that I enjoyed reading it. You might be wondering why such a low rating then? It's because I have a big problem with authors who take the exact story, plot, characters of a popular series that is loved by many. In this case, that series is A Darker Shade of Magic and Nocturna is a rip-off, water-downed version of ADSOM with a Latin element slapped on it. To start, the characters in Nocturna are rough copies of Kell, Lila, and Rhys. Alfie is Kell, even to the extent that they both have a thing for illegal goods. Finn is Lila Bard, and Luka is Rhys. Luka is so similar to Rhys they both even had boyfriends that broke their heart at a young age resulting in Alfie/Kell being insanely protective of them. Crazy, right? Tiago might as well have been named Alucard. The magic system is basically the same, Alfie even has a doorknob that allows him to walk through walls so long as he says a magical word and the dark villains come to power is the same way, doing pretty much the exact same thing to its victims. The two books even share an ending too: Lila Finn leaving on a boat! And does this quote sound pretty familiar? “Where will you go?” he asked, his voice soft and desperate. Finn wanted to bottle the sounds so that she might uncork it and listen to it whenever she needed a reason to smile. Or frown.” Sounds pretty close to a quote from Kaz in Six of Crows, doesn't it? “She'd laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.” For the rest of the book? Poor worldbuilding, slow pacing, all the bad stuff. It blows my mind that an author could bum this much off another authors work. I know that you will never be able to write a book that is completely original with the number of books out in the world today and I do believe that it is okay to pull a few elements for multiple books (so long as you are changing them enough) but Nocturna is unacceptable for the number of similarties it shares with A Darker Shade of Magic. I don't plan on continuing to support this author by reading the next book, but hey, you never know. I wouldn't waste your time with this book, go read the original, A Darker Shade of Magic.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover Nocturna by Maya Motayne is a novel I had been highly anticipating since I first heard of its release, and I am happy to say it lived up to my expectations. I love the idea of a prince and a thief who steals faces so unique, and the main characters are well-developed. I also enjoyed the execution of the magic system and the originality of each person’s abilities. Nocturna is a book that is entertaining and compelling, and I would recommend it to fans of the fan Full Review on The Candid Cover Nocturna by Maya Motayne is a novel I had been highly anticipating since I first heard of its release, and I am happy to say it lived up to my expectations. I love the idea of a prince and a thief who steals faces so unique, and the main characters are well-developed. I also enjoyed the execution of the magic system and the originality of each person’s abilities. Nocturna is a book that is entertaining and compelling, and I would recommend it to fans of the fantasy genre. This book tells the story of a prince and a thief who must join forces in order to save their kingdom from dark magic. I love this opposites/unlikely duo trope, and I was glad to see a fresh and complex take on it. Honestly, I was not expecting this book to be as funny as it is since I don’t typically see much humour in fantasy novels, but Finn’s wit has to be one of my favourite aspects of the story. As well as this, the plot has a nice balance of action and description which made for an enjoyable reading experience. ❀ ENJOYABLE MAIN CHARACTERS I very much enjoyed both the main characters, Finn and Alfie. Finn is a thief who can change faces, which I found so intriguing, and she has a complex and painful backstory. She is sarcastic and strong, and I loved reading about her mission with Alfie as well as her dialogue. Alfie, on the other hand, is the next in line for the throne after the death of his brother, and he is also dealing with trauma. I sympathized with him since he really just wants to be a good leader and bring his brother back. Because these characters are developed, I found them more realistic. ❀ INTERESTING SYSTEM OF MAGIC What I found notable about the novel is the magic system, especially the characters’ abilities. The fact that Finn can steal faces is so original, and it is interesting how magic is unique to each person. The way the magic is explained is clear and easy to follow, and I liked the light magic vs. dark magic concept. I have seen people comparing this to A Darker Shade of Magic, but admittedly I have not read that series yet so I can’t confirm any similarities. Nocturna is a gripping story of unlikely partners and dark magic. I found the concept unique, and the main characters are believable. The magic system is one aspect I particularly enjoyed as well as Finn’s humorous tone. I would definitely recommend this one to fantasy fans.

  30. 4 out of 5

    beth ✨

    2.5 I enjoyed the writing and the author is very talented but the story just wasn’t for me. I didn’t care for the characters or the plot and skimmed most of the book, especially towards the end. I think this will be a favourite for some people but that sadly isn’t me.

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