Today it’s my stop on the Marrow Charm blog tour for The Write Reads and BBNYA.  This book was a finalist in the BBNYA 2020 competition (see below for more details on what BBNYA is and how to get involved this year) and it finished in 6th place which is well deserved!  The cover alone drew me into wanting to read this book, just look at it! 😍  A big thank you to BBNYA and The Write Reads for the chance to read this and be a part of the blog tour. 🙂  The book is an amazing fantasy read and the first in a series.  I hope you like my review and do check out the other stops on the tour as well as the other blog tours running for the other finalists! 🙂

Title: Marrow Charm (The Gate Cycle #1)
Author: Kristin Jacques
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Fantasy
Book format: Digital
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Description:  Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.
Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.
The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.
And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.

*Free copy provided for review…

Review:  Oh wow, I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed this story! Azzy lives with her brother and their guardian in the Below, a world below ground where humans dwell, safely distant from the magic that’s above. The world of Above is tainted with magic that is so powerful it destroys and turns humans into strange and horrid creatures. Azzy has to venture into the world of Above briefly in order to collect necessary supplies for her apothecary guardian, but there are terrible dangers and creatures lurking in the world, and soon the magic of Above seeps into her brother, causing him to become tainted and cast out.

This is such a brilliant fantasy story and one which I just couldn’t stop reading! Azzy’s brother, tainted with magic, is soon cast out from the human city Below to be in the world Above which is filled with dark and strange magic. Azzy is determined to go after her brother, to rescue him, and soon enters the cold, harsh and dangerous world of Above, and while she’s sneaked into the world Above before, this time she must cover a long distance in the harsh world to find her brother. I love how this story sucked me in, the world of Above and Below being so eerie and different to other fantasy books I’ve read. Going after her brother isn’t so easy and it isn’t long before Azzy finds herself alone and confused by the magical world around her. There are so many brilliant and dark creatures in the story, I just love how creative and different this world is. The contrast with the world of Below is interesting and Azzy’s adventure soon becomes even more interesting when she encounters a lone wolf, one she’s seen before.

Although I loved the creativity and world building I have to admit that I wasn’t sure I was going enjoy the book when first I started reading it. The first pages lead you straight into the fantasy world that Azzy lives in but there was so much happening that I wasn’t sure I could get my head around it all. But this didn’t last long and I soon felt myself sucked into this story completely, unable to put it down. This really feels like an epic fantasy adventure and I love how Azzy comes across different characters and creatures on her journey and what happens with them. A lot happens in the story but it was never confusing and in fact several times my heart jumped during certain moments and when certain events happened.

The book is separated into three parts with each chapter having its own title. The whole story is written in the third person perspective and follows Azzy, for the most part, before later following other characters. The detail in the story is something I loved, in the end it felt almost like a fantasy movie, the story felt so vivid in my mind! The fantasy world of Above and Below and all the magic that inhabits the world is very interesting and I love the adventure that Azzy and the other characters go on, although the story is clearly not finished yet in this first book of the series. As well as the fantasy world there are hints of a past world, one like our own, and this made the book even more interesting for me. There wasn’t too much about this past world in book one though, so I’m hoping there will be much more about the past and what happened to it book two.

The story builds to an exciting conclusion, with so much happening to all the different charcters, that it leaves you desperate to read the next book in the series to find out what happens to everyone. Although the ending leaves you with more questions about what will happen rather than finishing the adveture, it did feel like a satisfying one, and one which makes you eager to read the next book in the series, which is already available to read and buy at the time of writing this. 😀  The book does have some eerie and creepy descriptions of creatures as well as mentions of blood, bones and some violence.  While some of these descriptions might be a bit too creepy for some, it didn’t feel too gory although there were a couple of moments where I felt shocked, including one near the start of the story that left me both shocked and feeling a bit sick/creeped out at what was happening, though in a good way, it made the story even more eerie!

I have loved every moment of this book. It’s such a creative story and a wonderful fantasy adventure that’s only just begun. I loved the creepy and dark world of both Below and Above and all of the characters, especially Azzy and Kai. I just loved what happened with him, his character and story and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I’ve loved reading this so much that I’m going to buy the next book as well as the paperback of this one as soon as I can! I have just loved this so much and would recommend it as an interesting and different read for any fantasy fan.

BBNYA Finalist 2020 logo

Buy the Book

Marrow Charm book cover

Click here to buy from Amazon US    Click here to buy from Amazon UK

About the Author

Author Kristin Jacques pic

Kristin Jacques is an author from small town New England. She grew up in the sticks, surrounded by river wildlife, and various swamp inhabitants. Somehow she managed to keep all her toes despite a run in with a snapper or two.

She lives with her husband and sons in another small New England town. She is mighty attached to them.

When not writing, she is likely reading, watching a terrific B-Horror flick, or further spoiling the family cats. Sometimes she has blue hair.

Click here to visit the author’s website    Click here to visit the author on Twitter

About BBNYA

BBNYA 2020 logo

BBNYA (Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award) is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.

If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website (https://www.bbnya.com/) or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 AUTHOR SIGN UP FORM HERE. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)!

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.


What do you think of this book?  Do you like the cover?  Have you read any of the books that were finalists in BBNYA 2020?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂