The Lady of Lanaria Blog Tour and Book Review
A kidnapped princess, a promise, and a kingdom cursed with mysterious plagues.
“Mark my words, Evangeline; if you set foot outside this tower, you will surely die.”
Evangeline has spent her entire life hidden in an ancient watchtower, gazing out a window as the world passes her by. She heeds her mother’s warning closely, the truth hidden from her always.
When a young guard stumbles upon the tower, Evangeline’s life is changed forever. As she strikes up a secret friendship with the guard, she learns about the Kingdom of Lanaria and the mysterious plagues that haunt all who live there. But as she delves into the world she barely knows, not everything her mother says adds up. Will they find the truth before it’s too late?
Let me preface this review by saying that there are some books that are hard to review. While perhaps worthwhile, they just require a lot of work to properly express how you feel. Sometimes that’s through delicately wording the content review for younger audiences or figuring out what you really think of the story.
But not so with this book! The minute I reached the last page, I knew what I wanted to say, and now I just hope I can put those thoughts into words.
First, I’ll talk about the characters. Evangeline is so genuine, and as the story is narrated mostly from her perspective, I feel as though I really got to know her throughout the story.
And Gabriel! I’m all for the snarky, jaded main male character with a tragic backstory, but sometimes you just need a wholesome guy who still sees the good in the world, and Gabriel is just that! Although he’s suffered the effects of the curse, he selflessly helps others and doesn’t let his grief blind him to the reality that there is still so much beauty in the world.
While we’re talking about male characters, Horace! Sure, he’s more of a side character, but I enjoyed every scene with him and would gladly read a story solely about him.
And in direct contrast, the villain! Her motives are believable and calculated, and there was not one moment where they felt unrealistic. To go back to Evangeline for a moment, her inner strength in the face of such evil was a beautiful example to the reader.
Now, if you’re still reading, you deserve a prize! But the best about this book is yet to be raved about!
There’s something so incredible about such a counter-culture book! I’ll talk about it more in the content review, but I’ll touch on it here too because I was so impressed. So many modern YA novels glorify witchcraft, and it can be disheartening to see release after release focus on witches as the protagonist. Not only, does The Lady of Lanaria acknowledge the presence of witchcraft in the storyworld, but it is also promptly confirmed to be only a force of darkness. Juxtaposed against “dark magicks” and spells are the truths of the Bible, yet those themes never seem forced or preachy.
Before I move on to the last part I want to touch on, I suppose I’ll mention the few things I wish were different. As much as I was engaged in Evangeline and Gabriel’s story, I do wish we had gotten to know the king and queen better. Perhaps a novella *hint hint* about their courtship? 😉 My other quibble isn’t so much of a critique as a longing to stay in the storyworld! I would love to know more about Old Lanaria and how it became that, and there were a few other names that piqued my interest and made me want to know more about the world.
Finally, there’s something so refreshing about finishing a book with a smile on your face. The minute I finished The Lady of Lanaria, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a fun ride it was. The story felt like a fairy tale from days long ago, complete with the complexity and beauty that makes a story engaging. If I ramble any more about this book, I have a feeling we’ll be here a while, so I’ll move on to the content review.
Language – None!
Sexual – Brief mentions of inappropriate advances, etc. but they are never focused on.
– Some moments of physical abuse.
– Some wounds, etc.
– Witchcraft is present throughout the story with references to spells/incantations/curses, but it is never glorified or viewed in a favorable light.
– Older characters occasionally drink.
Good vs. evil, light vs. dark, family, love, truth, courage, sacrifice, selflessness, joy
I was given a complimentary eARC of The Lady of Lanaria in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Michaela Bush is an independent writer of Christian fiction. She graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2019 with a degree in English and a minor in Psychology. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and when she isn’t writing, freelancing, or building her own editing business, she’s out with her horses or playing violin. Writing has been her calling since the age of six and she hopes to touch lives and inspire readers with clean, thoughtful, and impactful novels. Follow her blog at www.tangledupinwriting.com.
Thanks to Neverland Book Tours for hosting this tour!