Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mish-Mash Day with Review 2: Traces of Sulfur by Madeline Freeman

It's Mish-Mash Day and here is book two! I picked this one up...hmmm...via Book Bub, I think. And it was more entertaining than I'd even hoped it be. 


Blade Keeper Academy, Book 1
by Madeline Freeman
Laurealinde Publishing LLC
YA Urban Fantasy / Academy
228 pages

I’m not who they think I am. If they learn the truth, I’ll pay with my life.

Blakethorne Academy is the premier training ground for warriors. Every person here will one day be a member of the angelic Guard.

As a demon, it’s the last place I should ever step foot. But I couldn’t exactly say no when they handed me an engraved invitation to attend. Access like this doesn’t come around every day.

My people are in peril, and walking among these angels could give me what I need to save them. I just need to keep my true identity a secret.

But that gets harder by the day when the lead Keeper, Nate Kouri, sets my heart galloping every time he draws near. Getting close to him is dangerous, but I’ve never been one to turn down playing with fire.

They think I’m a Blade Keeper—one of five elite warriors destined to defeat whatever evil rises. If they learn I’m a demon, I’ll pay with my life.

My name is Eden Everdell. Saving my people has always been my mission, but ensuring the survival of my brethren might destroy me.

Enter a fast-paced world of angels and demons! Click to buy Traces of Sulfur today.


While I've picked up a handful of academy stories over the last years, I tend to steer away from them thanks to the heavy tendency toward cliches. This one did surprise me.

After her parents' deaths thanks to the angels' lack of interest as to what happens to anyone with demon blood, she's spent her years in the underground, planning on raids to acquire the desperately needed medicine, which heals certain deadly diseases. When a raid leaves her stranded in a building of angels, the last thing she expects if for them to mistake her as one of them and lead her to join others in a test to join the elite warriors. Since this is the perfect chance to finally get information from the inside, the rebellion urges her to continue the charade. And while it's the chance they've been waiting for, she also knows it could very well cost her life.

While this book does involve an academy, there's much more to it. The first chapters allow Eden and her place in the rebellion along with the problem between demons and angels to really sink in. The academy angle is more of a side plot. Even when Eden does enter the academy and is forced to secretly train among the angels, the cliches which do arise don't hit quite as horribly. There is a 'mean girl' and the hot guy who instantly likes her...and I really could have done without either of these, but it is an academy book, and I'm not sure fans of this genre would be happy if these things didn't exist. But thanks to the wider concept in this book and broader world building, it doesn't irritate quite as much as other books I've read in this genre.  This book simply has more than just the academy scene.

There's a nice build-up in this pages, which promises a potentially more complex plot with intrigue, secrets and scenes which go beyond the cold brick, school walls.  Demons and angels are at odds but there's more to it than the usual good vs. evil. This one is grayed and almost seems to flip-flop stereo-types...maybe. And the rebellion along with Eden's mother's death are also promising some more twists to come. There was quite a bit of foreshadowing on the rebellion's leader...which I'm hoping won't turn out too predictable and still has some surprises in wait. Plus, I'm hoping this one does allow the world to stay expanded and doesn't suddenly shrink. So far, so good.  But we'll see. And I will see because this one was good enough to have me happily awaiting book two.

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