**Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
Title: Beneath The Scales
Author: Aurora Peppermint
Synopsis: Loyalty and truth will be redefined as a young orphan undertakes a quest that will change his life.
Martus is doing all he can to help his magically gifted sister, Elsaben, living with the frustration that it’s never enough. They’re living hand to mouth on what he can steal, and under the table jobs aren’t enough for Martus to fund the training Elsaben needs. He’s desperate to find a way to help her, but he’s getting a reputation as a troublemaker, which will only endanger what meager living he’s already scratching for.
His life changes drastically in the course of a single day when a dragon attacks their village, leaves it in flames, and then carries Elsaben away. Knowing there is nothing else for him to do, Martus swears to rescue her and avenge their home, knowing he’ll either return triumphant… or die.
What he finds in the mountains challenges his perceptions and prejudices, leading him discover that he may have a chance at a better life, including a friend of the likes he never expected. This adventure could change his worldview—including the beliefs he’s always accepted as the norm.
Rating: 2 Stars
Review: I went into this, expecting it to be good book – I shouldn’t have judged this one by it’s cover, which admittedly was a good portion of the reason why I requested this novel from Netgalley in the first place.
It had all the makings of a good fantasy novel – the rascally character with the heart of gold, a town where magic is openly taught, and a love interest who is different to other people – but it didn’t quite live up to that. To me, it felt like something written by a child – creative, but with no depth or description. Empty. When I got to the end, I just sat there, like, “Is that it?” It has the potential to be a good queer-fantasy book, if it was just expanded and edited well.
I’ll give the author another try, but hopefully she brings out something better than this.