Book Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. ScottThe Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
Series: The Four Arts #1
Published by Roc on April 28, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 313
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Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.

This is a hard book for me to review. On one hand, I enjoyed the romance, and some of the mystery surrounding our main character, but on the other hand, about 60% of this book felt tedious and I found myself skimming much of it.

The Shattered Court follows the life of Lady Sophia (known to us as Sophie) as she nears her 21st birthday, and all the possibilities that come with that milestone. She will learn whether or not she will manifest powers as a witch, and a royal one at that, since she is in line for the throne, though distantly. A great ceremony takes place on the witch’s birthday, that binds her magic to the Goddess whom they serve…but when an outside force attacks the palace, Sophie must flee with the help of Cameron Mackenzie, a palace guard (who happened to be sleeping with Princess). They miss the ceremony, Sophie comes into her powers, and through some crazy magic shenanigans, the two sleep together, ruining Sophie’s chances of being dedicated to the Goddess. But when they return to the palace, Sophie learns her power is greater than anyone realizes, and there are people who want to kill her for it.

I think my biggest problem with this book is there is a great deal of focus on the every day things that Sophie and Cameron do, whether it is attending the Princess, or eating meals with Cameron’s family. I got bored with these bits. While Sophie and Cameron are away from the palace in the first half, that’s fairly exciting because they are running around trying to be safe and wondering if everyone at the palace is safe and whatnot. But once they return, the urgency goes out the window. The romance definitely picks up though, which helped.

Sophie and Cameron’s relationship is odd, and it was hard to know how the author really wanted us to feel about it. For the first 3/4 of the book, it felt sort of like “oh we had one stupid moment of passion, and now we’re paying the consequences for it…but we still really want to sleep together ALL THE TIME even though we never talk to or see each other” and that was all ok because Sophie and Cameron are both good, noble people who were likable, but then suddenly it was a bit of insta love. I guess I felt kind of disconnected from them because for a while in the middle, neither had strong feelings about their relationship (if I had been in their shoes, I would have been FREAKING OUT). I think I’ll enjoy their development in the next one better because they’ve moved into a more interesting relationship now than they had for most of the book.

Here there be magic! I’m a little fuzzy on the magic system– specifically who can do what/why…I get the generalities, but I’m hoping to see more explanation on this later on.

I will definitely be picking up the next one, mostly because it sounds like Illvya (Sophie and Cameron are from Anglion, a country that teaches how wicked Illvya is) is a more interesting place than Anglion. Also there were a lot of annoying characters at the palace that I’ll be glad not to see as much. All in all the world building was good, though I do agree with other reviewers that said The Shattered Court felt like one big prologue. Which gives me great hopes for what’s to come.


Content Warning: Recommended for 18+

  • Language (Not too frequent, but the f-word was used)
  • Sex (graphic)
3 Stars

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