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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Oathing Stone by J.Z.N. McCauley is the second book in The Rituals Trilogy. Over the past year Catherine has found solace hidden away with Bowen in a quiet Irish village. The time has finally arrived for the wedding of her dreams. As the happy couple prepares for their big day, they're still missing a key piece for their Celtic ceremony: an oathing stone to connect them to their ancestors. Her brother Danny and best friend Bella arrive to help create a day she'll always remember. It quickly turns into a day she'll never forget when Bella disappears and Bowen's life begins slipping away. To save them, Catherine makes her way into the faerie world where she's pulled into the middle of a civil war between two kings.
This is a stunning sequel to J.Z.N. McCauley's Oak and Mistletoe that brings to life the mischief and malice of faeries. McCauley perfectly captures the chaos and insanity of this magical world, drawing with ease from the classic tales of faeries. After a year of being happily in love, Catherine and Bowen's special day quickly turns into chaos as they're pulled in between scheming faeries. Their peaceful lives create a juxtaposition to the danger the faeries bring. Their short-lived happily ever after is sweet and grounded, showing the strength of their relationship a year later, and is what will guide Catherine through her fight against the faeries. This gives Catherine a further look at the politics and twisted minds of the faeries, who find their fun by torturing humans. The story is told from various perspectives, which allows for a chance to see the ulterior motives of different characters that weave through Catherine and Danny's personal journeys. Catherine and Danny both struggle to save those they love by facing trials, which gives the story the feeling of a hero's journey.
McCauley keeps the faeries rooted while pulling from notable fairy tales that take on a fresh spin to create a modern fairy tale. A lot of fairy tale elements are included throughout, specifically for Bella as she's not only whisked away by a sadistic faerie, but she's also placed under a spell which mixes together Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty as Bella's hair won't stop growing and she's under the threat of sinking into an eternal sleep. The Oathing Stone is a story of love and courage as Catherine and Bowen's romance is balanced out by the drama of a brewing faerie civil war and startling secrets.