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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Secrets of the Sanctuary by Octavia J. Riley is a wonderful read in the YA epic fantasy category, a well-plotted and expertly narrated story. It is the second book in the Coven Chronicles. Thea Bauer is a spell weaver who has established herself as a skilled member of the Coven and someone that everyone can count on. She faces any obstacle and challenge head-on, but when she is tasked to find out why magical creatures are flooding the local sanctuary, she meets with the unexpected — a powerful sorceress who will do anything to stop her. Seeking the help of her old acquaintance Summoner Rafe MacBain, she hopes to beat the odds, but things become more complicated as feral demons from the deepest corners of hell join in the fight. While facing deadly enemies, Thea must deal with a painful past or drown in it. Can Thea and Rafe navigate a world filled with dark magic and win in a conflict that involves a demonic prince?
I enjoyed this magical story and I loved the way the author writes about the relationship between Thea and Rafe MacBain. Thea has a crush on Rafe and she suffers in silence. The world-building is impeccable and Octavia J. Riley infuses it with elements that depict chaos in a magical environment. This is not a story about ordinary magicians or witches and wizards, but one that explores the very source of dark magic, brimming with conflict and rules that are peculiar to that world. The imagery is strong and vivid and the author crafts scenes that are haunting, compelling, and focused. Secrets of the Sanctuary is a wonderful read for fans of the supernatural and fantasy; it features characters that are sophisticated and multilayered. While Thea is a strong character, she is deeply flawed and this augments the sympathy that readers develop for her, rooting for her, and hoping she gets over her personal problems. Octavia J. Riley has written a spellbinder in Secrets of the Sanctuary.