The Search for the King's Staff

The Scarlet Phantom

Fiction - Magic/Wizardry
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 11/24/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Search for the King's Staff: The Scarlet Phantom is a work of fiction in the fantasy and magic subgenres, and was penned by author Sophia Davidson. In this second novel in the series, which follows A Song of Hope, we find ourselves back with Cierra and her quest to find all the pieces of the map that will lead her to the legendary King’s Staff. Rasheme, the King in the North, will stop at nothing to prevent her from succeeding, and to make matters worse, a mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Phantom keeps turning up along the way. What results is a mysterious and enjoyable magical adventure suitable for the general reading audience.

Author Sophia Davidson proves that you can have it all in fantasy fiction, including sophisticated and emotive characters, clever plotlines, epic magic, and a whole load of fun in the mix. I thoroughly enjoyed this read from cover to cover, particularly in relating to Cierra and her continuing hardships as the stakes get raised higher with every new problem she encounters. The plot provides plenty of twists, and I loved the worldbuilding and new concepts that the setting allows Davidson to seamlessly introduce. And as for the infamous Scarlet Phantom, what a fantastic and enjoyable character with so many mysteries to uncover. The dialogue was also standout, especially between Cierra and the Phantom. Overall, I would highly recommend The Search for the King's Staff: The Scarlet Phantom to fantasy readers seeking a satisfying adventure tale that ticks all the right boxes.

Vincent Dublado

The Scarlet Phantom is the second installment in Sophia Davidson’s The Search for the King’s Staff Series. When Cierra is introduced in A Song of Hope, she is the one chosen to bear a key that will help her find the King’s Staff. Unfortunately for Cierra, the darkness continues to loom on the horizon, threatening her quest. It competes with her by getting its hands on the first piece of the map that provides a major clue to finding the next one, and the darkness will not hesitate to kill her. She needs to master her key, for its power can easily obliterate the army of Rasheme, the King in the North before they can step onto Nimbra’s shore. Rasheme wants to destroy all hope of Cierra finding the King’s Staff, and at the same time, a Beldamite vigilante watches Cierra’s every move.

The Scarlet Phantom is balanced enough to make you want to invest your time by joining Cierra in her life and death adventures. Sophia Davidson manages to capture that elusive chemistry between a lighthearted character and a serious theme. What you get is an appealing fantasy storyline that is so adept in the genre it represents. Davidson has given her series a poise that a YA fantasy should have. Cierra’s predicaments feel real because there is plenty of breathing room in scenes where she struggles with decisions like who to trust. You know you are reading a well-assembled cast of characters when you also get the opportunity to judge who among them is trustworthy. Cierra’s unique personality adds a touch of humor, making the storyline cool enough to convince you it is an adventure tale worth reading.

Liz Konkel

The Search for the King's Staff: The Scarlet Phantom by Sophia Davidson is the second book in the series. Cierra embarks on the search for the next map piece but a dangerous enemy sets out to reclaim it first. She's on a tight schedule to reach the next destination and must turn to the only allies she has when she travels through the dangerous empire. Her journey with Leo at her side brings them into contact with a mysterious vigilante, into the middle of a revolution led by mine workers, and a chance at putting her past behind her.

Cierra's journey is back with another action-packed adventure in her search for the king's staff. The story weaves through the various perspectives of Cierra and her allies with each one furthering the journey. Her friends consist of her cousin James, Princess Anara, her new Acana friend Sashee, and her ally Leo. Every character plays a significant role in expanding the world with even the animals adding fine details such as the fox Cojo and the chubby blue blob of a parrot, Koska. This high fantasy ride has everything you want in an epic adventure such as a quest, magic, dragons, a dangerous villain, a hero's journey, and the ultimate fight against darkness. Sophia Davidson successfully captures details of the setting that bring out layers of the story with the quest, the vigilante, and the revolution. These details manifest through significant moments that happen during Leo and Cierra's journey with them witnessing an auction of enslaved men and women, a revolution of workers, and other moments. These moments are threaded throughout to show her the darkness within the empire and to sway her away from the task of finding the staff. Her journey coincides with the Scarlet Phantom's presence to help the people, which soon reveals a deeper connection to Cierra and creates a fun balance to her quest.

Davidson has developed a fantasy world that is character-driven and a poignant commentary is woven throughout as Cierra witnesses slaves and workers fighting back. Leo and Cierra strike a balance with each other with a commonality of how each holds onto their pasts to the point where it's a presence that haunts them. The Search for the King's Staff: The Scarlet Phantom is a thrilling follow-up to A Song of Hope with another notch in Cierra's hero journey that continues to build an epic quest and a rich setting that brings this high fantasy to life.

Rabia Tanveer

The Scarlet Phantom is the second book in The Search for the King’s Staff series by Sophia Davidson. The search for the King’s Staff is now even more difficult than before. With danger always one step behind her, Cierra has no idea what she needs to do to stay safe and complete the task at hand. The path is perilous, and she does not know who she can trust. Rasheme, King of the North, seeks every opportunity to disrupt Cierra’s plans and make it tough for her to find the King’s Staff. He wants to get the piece of the map she has and get to the Staff before Cierra does. However, Cierra cannot be deterred from her path, even if it means she has to put her life on the line. With help coming from the unlikeliest of places and people, can Cierra stay alive and still get to the King’s Staff, or will she succumb to the attacks of her enemy?

Author Sophia Davidson keeps the pace and the thrill of the previous novel alive with the sequel. The series becomes even more interesting with the addition of the Scarlet Phantom. The mystery behind the Scarlet Phantom keeps the story alive along with the quest to find the Staff. Cierra is the perfect protagonist; she is understanding of her circumstances and she changes her plans accordingly. Her growth is phenomenal yet very human at the same time. I enjoyed reading about her responses and her quick-wittedness. The narrative is an entity on its own, and it allows readers to fully invest in the story. The pace is fast, the development arc of Cierra is believable, and the overall feel of the story is phenomenal!