Lianora never placed much stock in the gods; she especially never believed the Accalian lore that spoke of a lost ancient magic, a magic woven from the fabric of people’s souls. So when she discovers the teardrop necklace, she thinks it to be nothing special – until the visions begin, glimpses of a legendary empress’s past and the approach of a great evil. One that may be far closer than she realizes.
What Rowan wants more than anything is freedom. More by force than choice, he serves the crumbling gothic metropolis of Accalia as Black Knight, charged with the protection of the city. When a vicious murder occurs in the dead of night, he never dreams the beautiful woman with dark eyes and flowing, black hair could be a prime suspect. A woman who hasn’t aged for over one thousand years, driven to Accalia in pursuit of an avenging god of death bent on rebuilding his usurped kingdom with the souls of the living.
When Accalia falls prey to a devastating attack, the three unwilling allies are forced together. Now they must figure out how to kill a god. But how do you kill the embodiment of Death?
For me it’s unfortunate that I became so busy during my reading of Veiled Innocence, by Krystle Jones, because I had to stop reading the story for some time and I dislike that because then my bad memory starts taking over. Thankfully though, when I came back to it, it was easy to pick up from where I had left and by the end of it I was involved with the story.
I did have a few problems with it – the technique of characters passing out or being knocked out to awaken to new surroundings isn’t one I like unless it’s done very sparingly and really well. Unfortunately it isn’t done sparingly in Veiled Innocence, but other elements of the story help me get past that and not focus on it.
There’s also too much use of ‘and with that’ and ‘as’ for my liking, but apart from those aspects of the story it really does have quite a lot going for it, and it’s well done for a first novel. Also I think it’s hard to find a novel you can read and consider to be perfect, especially if you’re a writer. These sorts of things also come down to personal preference and just because I notice them a lot, it does not mean other readers care about or will notice them at all.
I enjoyed Veiled Innocence for several reasons, one being the characters because they have dimension and their reactions are not only believable, but at times their emotion is accessible when it comes to feeling it yourself. Lian did drive me up the wall quite a bit; she comes across as being a flighty character that doesn’t always act appropriately. In the beginning she gives the impression of being mature to a degree, perhaps it’s because she’s more sombre and so are her surroundings, but towards the end she becomes pretty irritating and seems to regress in maturity. Her change from maudlin to being happy can be so abrupt it unnerves me and makes me like her even less. This also attributes to impressions of flightiness for me and when one of the characters tells her to stop feeling sorry for herself (granted people have died, but there’s a limit with how much you can take when you’re following a character) it makes me very happy.
I know that sounds like I’m probably making a point in the negative for the story, but I believe that when a story can make you feel certain ways about a character, favouring them or not, it means there’s something going right with the characterisation and the ability to get you feeling something. I’m really interested to read more about other characters as well such as Vishka, Rowan, and Erebus, but also I really just want to continue on with the story because what’s going on is so intriguing and I want to know the big picture. The story opens up slowly as Lian learns more, this I love, and the great descriptive terms Jones uses helps to hook your imagination.
That’s another part that I really enjoyed and I think deserves a mention, the use of words. Sometimes descriptions can be over the top and flowery, losing the momentum of the story in all that imagery, not so in this case. I felt that Jones had not only used words in just the right way to avoid being excessive, but to also give a sense of colour and emotion.