Breath of the New Creature

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
460 Pages
Reviewed on 07/17/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Aisling: Breath of the New Creature by A.E. Jürgens is a fantasy adventure novel that follows the coming of age of its titular character as she fulfills a promise and discovers her true self in the process. Aisling is a mortal human princess whose marriage is brokered to form an alliance amongst the immortal and, by definition of any human, the immoral Aos Sí Fae King, Lir. The marriage is built on distrust from what Aisling thinks she knows of the fair folk - from the horror stories she'd been told of them, their magic, their way of living and their way of killing, and her own ideas on what is right and what is reprehensible. But what she does not know is far more dangerous than what she thinks she does; a danger that is not formed of the seen, but of the Unseelie. “We are all beasts, slaves to desire. Mortals, Aos Sí, and all else driven by that which will sate our appetite. You must overpower that which sought to overpower you. Become the predator and not the prey.”

First of all, the writing by author A.E. Jürgens is absolutely stunning. It is gorgeous, blending the lilting prose of the great classics with modern readability that only a skilled writer can master. I have read far too many attempts where authors overtry to make their work sound more intellectual and achieve exactly nothing but the opposite effect. Aisling is not one of those books. It is narrated to perfection. The story itself is inordinately slow to lift off and in the world of literary critique, we call this the 'Long Beginning'. Aisling has a long beginning. It does not lead to boredom but can trigger reader fatigue, although the payoff for hanging in there is massive. Once the plot kicks off, it well and truly kicks off. The story of the forest-dwelling Unseelie, the dryads, is fascinating. The chemistry between Aisling and Lir is not immediate and the tug-of-war that takes place helps build the tension, all of this complicated by Aisling's prior betrothal to a childhood friend. Still, Lir is delicious, fangs and all, and as a reader, it is incredibly satisfying to watch Aisling mature from being a naïve princess bride to becoming “our Queen”. The book ends on a cliffhanger that is wholly unexpected and completely shocking, and I will be on the run for the sequel the moment it is released, much like our beloved Queen. Very highly recommended.