A story about a face-changing thief and risk-taking prince | ARC Review: Nocturna by Maya Motayne


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To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Should You read Nocturna by Maya Motayne ?

The magic poured life into the images, showing his people swathed in bright colors, prospering and using magic freely.

This is the first Latinx fantasy I’ve ever read and to put it mildly, I was blown away by Nocturna. This is a story about a prince and a thief who become allies to save a kingdom that brought both of them nothing but misery. This is the story of a kingdom too; a kingdom that-with the help of its people- rescued itself from the clutches of colonialism and rose stronger than ever. 

Set in a place called San Cristobal, the story starts with Prince Alfehr as he returns to his homeland reluctantly. We follow the Prince or Alfie as he meets his family and is lamenting the death of his older brother. Then, we come to view the face-changing thief known as Finn Voy, who has escaped a hell of her own and is trying to survive on the streets of San Cristobal.

When Finn and Alfie first meet at a clandestine meeting it’s for completely different purposes. They never would’ve thought they would work together in the upcoming days to fight a dangerous magic that could drown the world in darkness. 

The story is not entirely character driven and I liked that. Since that meeting where Finn and Alfie meet, there’s no stopping of action as Finn is kidnapped by a deadly “gang” who want something in exchange for Finn’s freedom. To collect that item, Finn has to go to the palace where she meets Alfie for the second time and this is also the place where a dangerous magic is released from its confines.

I loved Maya Motayne’s writing and the way she brought magic alive in the pages of Nocturna. The author also wrote in a “To the Reader” letter that she meant this book for a young girl who thought magic didn’t belong to people who looked like her. I’ll say she wrote this book for every young girl or boy because I identified with the history of colonialism, and I identified with the story when I saw that the people still followed some customs of their colonizers.

Apart from that, I loved the worldbuilding, and the description of the magical system was sublime. There is affection between Alfie and Finn and for many of us who don’t like romance being central to the story, will want to shout and scream at their slow-burn romance. 

Overall, I recommend this book if  you love fantasy and looking for diversity. Although the ending didn’t feel like a cliffhanger to me, I saw that Maya Motayne a trilogy planned for Nocturna. I will definitely be interested to read more of Alfie and Finn’s adventures.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Author: Connect with Author Maya Motayne here.

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Publication Date: 2nd May , 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 300 Pages
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Will you read Nocturna ? Have you heard of this book before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Author: Book Rambler

Hi! I'm Shalini. I am an avid reader, daydreamer, future scientist. In order to ramble about books with you, I created this blog. You can find me here and on any of my social media channels.

12 thoughts on “A story about a face-changing thief and risk-taking prince | ARC Review: Nocturna by Maya Motayne”

  1. I’ve seen this book around but your review really makes me want to read it! It sounds so good, I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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