Clara will have to see through both the fog of war, and the fog of her own heart, to save a nation…
Sold into slavery as a child, and rendered mute by the horrors she suffered, Clara’s life extends no further than the castle kitchens and their garden. Those who know about her just think of her as the dull mute girl who may be a little soft in the head, not knowing that she carries within herself a precious gift: the ability to see the future. This is a gift she keeps secret, though, for fear of persecution.
However, a vision prompts her to prevent a murder, shoving her not only into the intrigues and gilded life of the nobility, but also into a civil war brewing in her country. As events unfold, and she is drawn deeper into the conflict, she meets an old friend, makes a new one, and begins to unearth secrets better left buried.
Driven to learn the truth about the war, and about her friends, Clara embarks on a journey that takes her from her beloved mountains to the very Capital itself, Bertrand, where she is confronted by an evil both ancient and twisted. The only problem is, her own anger and prejudices are the catalysts her enemy needs to complete its plans. If she is not careful, not only will the entire nation be lost, but her own soul as well.
Goodreads Link: Clara (Stories of Lorst #1)
Author: Suzanna J. Linton
My Rating: 3/5 stars
I received Clara’s Return in exchange for an honest review and started reading it without realizing at first that I had book 2 of a series. (I guess the name should have been a clue.) When I got past the prequel into the first chapter, I realized from the large amount of summary that I had jumped into the middle of a series by mistake. So I went back and started on the first book, simply called Clara.
There’s a strong concept at the center of the story. Clara, who was sold into slavery to pay off her parents’ debts, is actually a Seer, which means she sometimes has visions of the future. That makes her valuable to both the Sorcerer King Marduk (the villain) and the Rebel General Emmerich (the hero) and both of them want to use Clara’s visions for an advantage in their war. Clara has to choose which side she can trust.
But where the story fails is in execution. Clara doesn’t actually have many useful visions. Her first one is very clear (she sees a man about to be poisoned, and she stops the assassin in time to save him), but after that, she only gets a few vague glimpses that don’t seem to show anything that others didn’t already know. And, of course, her visions don’t help her by showing her the many times she’ll be in danger or hints about which people she can trust. Instead, she spends most of the time as a pawn, unable to speak, carted from one castle to another and paraded around as a symbol. It’s not until the very end that she does something that actually has an impact on the final outcome.
The writing is also rough, like an author’s first attempt, and could use an editor. The flaw that made it hardest to read is that the narrative tends to jump from one character to another without any break. A chapter break or at least a line break to indicate a new scene would help keep track of the shifts.
I liked Clara and I wanted her to learn how to control her powers or find some other way to fight. Maybe in the second book, she’ll play a bigger role in the plot.