Pros: Beautiful world-building; wonderful characters
Cons: Some of the events toward the end felt a little hurried
Rating: 4 out of 5
I love S.H. Cooper’s horror work, so I was intrigued to try her young adult fantasy (and she was kind enough to give me a copy). The Knight’s Daughter (Lady Knight Trilogy Book 1) is about 14-year-old Mary McThomas and her family–father, mother, and twin older brothers. Mary doesn’t want to sew and cook like a lady–she wants to be a knight like her father. She doesn’t dare tell anyone that, however. One day she’s secretly watching her father and his men at practice when she spots an enemy coming from the forest. She races to warn the men, only to see her father go down when he shields her from harm. A small fae named Torren finds Mary and explains that she wants her own revenge on the man who commanded the invading forces. She says that Mary’s father has been poisoned, and that she can help Mary find a cure. She also says that the enemy commander, one Meverick Conan, is now hunting for Mary, and that it would be safer for everyone if she left town. An acquaintance of Mary’s, as well as her brothers, insist on going with her. She’s never left her town before–but she’s about to take one heck of a journey.
This is a delightful young adult adventure. Mary makes unusual friends, puzzles her way through various dangers, saves people through the goodness that’s in her heart, and in turn is helped by friends, family, and strangers alike. The explanation for why Meverick wants Mary alive feels a little rushed over; I would have liked something a little more solid. Perhaps there will be more detail in the next two books to anchor it–I certainly enjoyed this one enough, and felt invested enough in the characters and world, to want more.
The characters are delightful. Meverick is a little on the simplistic side, but not too much. Twin brothers Drake and Joseph have a nice amount of personality. A few of the side characters could have used a little more depth (there’s a fae queen whose on-the-page personality is pretty much just ‘fae queen’), but others are wonderful. I quite liked another fae ruler who appears.
I might have shed a few tears while reading this book! It’s a nice little treat for when you need a bit of magic in your life. Like, say, during a pandemic.