3.5 / 5 stars
Read in May 2020
Book #1 in the Fortuna Sworn series
If you’re looking for a dark faerie romance with urban fantasy vibes, this is the series for you!
Fortuna is a Nightmare – a creature who can see, smell, and taste the fears of anyone she touches and create hallucinations to torment them. Her younger brother, Damon, has been missing for two years, and despite Fortuna’s desperate searching she hasn’t discovered any clues to his whereabouts. But she hasn’t forgotten the promise she made her parents many years ago – that she will always be there to take care of Damon.
One night, a mysterious and handsome faerie named Collith appears with information on Damon. He says he can take Fortuna to her brother – for a price. Determined to help Damon no matter the cost, Fortuna agrees to the faerie’s terms and is whisked off to the underground Unseelie Court. There, the loving sibling reunion she hoped for turns into a struggle she never imagined possible. What’s more, danger lurks around every corner of this dark and magical kingdom, and Fortuna must fight to earn the court’s respect and find her place among them while grappling with her growing feelings for the very faerie who brought her there.
In this first book of the Fortuna Sworn series, K.J. Sutton creates a mesmerizing yet eerie world filled with harrowing danger and unique magic. Everything is not as it seems in the Unseelie Court, and the reader must uncover new information alongside Fortuna as she works to understand this mystical environment and make difficult decisions that determine whether she and those she loves will make it out alive. With familiar elements of the fae/faerie subgenre in an unfamiliar, enchantingly sinister setting, this book is perfect for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series looking for an adult fantasy read.
For more of my thoughts with light spoilers, keep reading below!
One of the biggest reasons I’m so excited about this series: it’s not a duology… it’s not a trilogy… it’s slated to be a six-book series over the next several years! I can’t wait to follow Fortuna’s journey and I hope you’ll join me!
In Fortuna Sworn, author K.J. Sutton creates an unparalleled faerie world. The ominous underground labyrinth of the Unseelie Court kept me on the edge of my seat; I very much felt like I was stifled beneath the earth with Fortuna, struggling to catch my breath in the winding passageways and longing to escape back to the fresh air and sunlight above. I do think this book requires some prior knowledge of or experience with fae/faerie books, as several of the terms and scenarios aren’t explained in detail; nevertheless, as someone who still considers myself a novice in this subgenre, I managed to piece everything together just fine.
With her fierce personality, determination, and incredible powers, Fortuna shows us that just because a character is strong doesn’t mean she can’t also be vulnerable, doubt herself and her abilities, and struggle to stay true to herself in a world forcing her to change. She must conquer her inner demons and face her past traumas as she creates a new future for herself navigating the dismal maze of the subterranean kingdom and Unseelie court politics. Although at some points her sarcasm and sassy remarks seemed a bit forced to me, overall she is a wonderful and dynamic heroine to follow from 1st person POV. I loved seeing her come into her own, especially as queen, and I can’t wait to watch her growth. I hope she continues to show those faeries just how powerful a Nightmare can be.
Regarding side characters, I still have so many questions about Collith, Laurie, and the other faeries, and I definitely don’t feel I know them very well. However, I suspect this is Sutton’s intention, to keep us wondering until we discover more about them as Fortuna does. I’m still not sold on her romance with Collith, but then neither is Fortuna! My heart shattered for Damon and even the Leviathan, so broken by the cruelty of the faeries. The only character I didn’t quite understand was Oliver; he didn’t seem to fit into this world for me, and I kept expecting him to be revealed as a villain who had been manipulating Fortuna for his own gain over the years. Perhaps this will happen at a later point, but in this book I wasn’t very interested in his scenes – I’m not a big love triangle fan (although as far as love triangles go, this one was certainly unique), and I just wanted to get back to the story in the Unseelie Court.
Lastly, the pacing of this book is great, with constant action and intrigue that piqued my curiosity through the final page. And wow, what a cliffhanger at the end! I will definitely be devouring and reviewing book #2 in the next couple of months.
Thank you to the author for reaching out to me and providing an e-version of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. You can follow K.J. Sutton and check out her work here!