Book Review: "Lichgates" ("The Grimoire Saga" #1) by S.M. Boyce


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I made a point of leaving all my expectations behind when I start reading a book. Thus, if the book is not much, I won’t be that disappointed, but if the book is brilliant, incredible… just downright addictive, I will be so impressed and happy that I discovered a gem that I won’t stop talking about it. I think this is the right attitude towards books. Really. I read on someone else’s blog some time ago that when they read a book, they start with the idea that it’s going to be the best read ever. So, the only thing the book has to do is live up to that. I don’t think that’s fair. How many chances does a book have to take such a reader by surprise? You know what? I love to be taken by surprise! Any book I open has that chance with me, and, let me tell you, “Lichgates” took it!


After reading the first chapter, my reaction was: “I haven’t had such a good, strong start from a book in a looong time.” Solid writing, vivid descriptions, an atmosphere of magic and mystery… Oh, and a likeable character that gets herself into trouble, but, for once, doesn’t do it in a kind of forced, foolish way, just to get the plot going. I liked that. I liked that a lot. Kara is curious, intelligent, funny, and she is capable of making the worst decisions. Usually, when you read about a character that makes the wrong choices, you have the tendency of rolling your eyes and thinking no one in their right mind would do that. Well, guess what? I would have done exactly like Kara. This makes her believable and relatable. At least for me.


Now let me tell you about the world building. I’m a huge fan of the fantasy genre! Good, ol’ fantasy with solid and highly imaginative world building, unique races, a Chosen one who is neither physically strong, nor magically skilled, but has what it takes to save the world, and, of course, with the good… I mean bad, ol’ villain who poses serious threats to the good guys and even gets to kill some of them. Yeah, that’s the fantasy I like. And “Lichgates” has all of it!


I loved the world of Ourea and I loved the races. Also, the idea of a magic book that holds so much wisdom is very dear to me (as I believe it is to any book addict). But what is Ourea?


“Ourea is a hidden pocket of the earth and has always been locked away, accessible only through the lichgates. Since you found this book, you have already discovered one of these portals. You can never return to the life you knew once you step through a lichgate.”


So, when Kara finds this Grimoire, she becomes the next Vagabond. Actually, the last one of her kind. As a Vagabond, she will be hunted by all the races in Ourea, because her Grimoire holds powerful secrets and can answer any question. She will meet drenowith (muses that can change into any shape they want), isen (the most evil creatures because they harvest souls to remain immortal) and yakona (the race that has mastered magic). She can’t truly trust any of them, although the drenowith and the yakona seem to mean well. When she meets Braeden Drakonin, the heir of the cruelest yakona Blood (king), she has to decide on whose side she is.


“Lichgates” kept me up very late. It was 3 a.m. when I finally said “Stop. You must really get some sleep now”. I could have gone on reading, though, this is how much of a page-turner it was. I recommend it to anyone who loves pure, mind-blowing fantasy. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series!