Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic #1) by Maya Motayne


Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

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.


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Page count: 480

Rating: ⭐⭐ (2/5)

Pretending I am on a gorgeous Caribbean beach, drinking coconut water and listening to some distant bachata music while reading this book and not actually reading it in my room far away from any beach within reach.


Well, now I’m glad I didn’t have it with me on any beach (or, truth be said, I didn’t go to any beach whatsoever).

The main reason for my affirmation: I DNF-ed this.

Yep, that’s right. Maybe it’s a surprise, but not a shock. The ones who have already read that know what I mean.

Nocturna is my first DNF of the year. I am truly sorry to say that.

At first, I thought it had so much potential, I really wanted it to be good. I was making myself think that it will be good and I am going to like it. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered stuff that couldn’t let me enjoy it.

To imagine how exactly I felt, picture me as a cute little girl with long braids and an airy skirt jumping up and down with a basket in my hand, ready to pick some flowers and berries. I am even whistling. After a while, I stop: I think I see the flowers in the meadow! Oh, happiness! But, when I am so close to them, suddenly from nowhere a huge fence erects, standing between me and the beautiful flowers I want to pick up. I want to climb up the fence, but I see it is electrified. And also a storm is coming up so I might very well go home. It is not worth it.

This is exactly how I felt after reading not even half of it. Disappointed.

I thought the action was very slow.

Like really slow.

There was something odd about this action though because even though there were many things happening, nothing actually happened. And by nothing I mean nothing worthy of my unconditional attention.

I felt like that amazing page-turner effect wasn’t there. It felt a bit „in the tree” as we like to say in Romanian. Somehow it felt unfinished.

And also, I found the chapters agonisingly long.

I am not a fan of long chapters not even in the books that I do enjoy, but this felt too much for me. Too much for too little.

The world construction wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either.

Maybe at this part, I felt the feeling of the whole plot trying. Trying to go somewhere, to do something. Fighting to go better. But it felt too much as a struggle and it made the reading a bit uncomfortable (for me! I don’t generalise!).

Even the characters seemed to struggle too much to find their own personalities. And this is not quite okay, even though I know this is a YA Fantasy book and the characters tend to have changes of personalities every 10 pages. It is okay to change the personality throughout the book but at least set the right basis for it.

It breaks my heart to say this so, but it is true.

The best thing about this though?

It actually helped me gain a bit of vocabulary in Spanish so for that I will totally give out an extra star.

It was a really well-thought thing to blend the Spanish words in (or at least this is coming from the trashy language learner inside of me). It is a very good way to make people aware of one’s culture and also educate the population a bit. Ignorance kills, children!

My only problem now is: if Spanish speakers wanted to read this book in Spanish without knowing the words for magic are said, originally, in Spanish, would anyone notice the aspect of Spanish-words-used-in-the-book as I did (me, a non-native Spanish speaker)?

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