The Ember Stone: Book 1 of the Ember Files (Revised Edition)

Shari Marshall

Publisher: Writing Sparkle Books Pages: 506 Price: (ebook) $6.99 ISBN: 9781778253126 Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

The protagonist of The Ember Stone, the first installment in Shari Marshall’s promised series, learns to accept her magical legacy when evil forces threaten her community.

Kori Ember is a Spellbinder, or magic wielder. But after her brother’s death when she was only 10 years old, she has made a point of acting like a “normie” (non-magical person). As the story begins, she’s an adult with a history, having cycled through a failed marriage and an unrewarding career. Now she’s traipsing across the globe on lottery winnings while trying to ignore the magical abilities¬—levitating objects, among other feats—that keep popping up.

When she receives a note from her native Canada while traveling, Ember learns that her sister and parents have been kidnapped. Returning home, she discovers the crime is part of a much larger battle, a conflict between the Embers—all Spellbinders representing the forces of good—and the Society of the Blood Wind, who are “drawn to dark magic and display abnormal and often violent behavior.” Soon, Ember is embroiled in the battle between good and evil, employing her investigative skills as a former police officer and her ever-developing magical powers to survive.

Marshall’s imaginative scope is vast as she builds a world where Spellbinders exist side-by-side with normies, shapeshifters, evil mages and other fantastical characters. The author even throws in a dash of romantic tension as Ember deals with former flames and unlikely love interests. Additionally, Marshall’s law enforcement background brings a gritty, true crime quality to the book’s many action scenes.

While the author’s penchant for over-explaining, including in lengthy passages of dialogue, sometimes strips the narrative of any sense of nuance, Ember is a vividly realized character, and her interactions with a supporting cast of magical creatures help keep the story cohesive through the slow stretches.

Despite this misstep, The Ember Stone is a promising debut and should provide a fun romp for fans of the genre.

Author's Current Residence
Alberta, Canada
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