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ReBirth (Zodiac #1)

Book cover of Rebirth. Main character Liya and Jase facing each other. Liya gives Jase an apple. Golden border and title.

ReBirth, Zodiac book 1

by Azshure Raine, Shadow Spark Publishing

Find out more here: Shadow Spark Publishing

A fun, fast-paced read with lots of dark twists and sweet romance.

This was a fun read! The chapters were a nice bite-size that read effortlessly and kept having you go "ah, alright just one more chapter!"



Set in world were magic belongs to people marked by a Zodiac sign and time and the fate of the world belongs to Titans, the young crown-prince Jase is going against his tyrannic father to save princess Lyia from a cruel fate.

The lore of the world was fascinating and I loved the constant spin on Time, Fate and Eternity as both sentinel beings, powers, and myths. The mix of gaslight-fantasy and 'regular' fantasy was nice, and - for me - a breath of fresh air by having gunpowder alongside magic and swords.

The villains were despicable and I loved them for it, and makes the story hover in the grey zone of YA and NA, or perhaps just a dark YA (take that with a grain of salt because I'm really not good at judging these things).

The romance between Jase and Lyia is more or less immediate and very sweet with the 'young love infatuation and insecurity' vibe. It's the main driver of the story and it makes the dark twists even darker because they're very pure and wholesome together and you really don't want anything happening to them (which, you know, obviously does). The "Knight in shining armor/sheltered girl" trope is quite strong, but Lyia does develop a lot to challenge it, and Azshure wonderfully captures the sweet innocence of a naive young adult and mixes it with strong desires and will. I'm curious how much and what she will grow to be in the coming books!

Again, the villains are quite evil and especially Jase's father makes your skin crawl. It surprised me a bit on the first instance as the tone of the book is not necessarily that dark. There's lot of humor, light-hearted banter, and adventure vibes too (and then soooo much trauma. Poor Jase).

But the evilness just makes you root for their demise, which is honestly a fun part of reading and consuming fiction. The Titan of Time was by far the most interesting villain and the main antagonist, and I'm not entirely convinced she's in the wrong yet, ha (I also like rooting for the bad guys). But I have a feeling she's not entirely out of the picture yet...

The cast was quite big and though it added nice layers to the side-characters by having their PoV, sometimes I had wanted to stay with the main couple Jase and Lyia and flesh out their relationship more. That said, both MC's and side-kicks were complex and well-written, and it added a bigger dimension to the world by being able to join their side quests.

The ending is TENSE and there are some utterly heartbreaking moments where it's almost impossible to put the book down. "I've watched you die 12 times. Don't make me do it again." like come on 🥺

But it is a romance, and it does have a happy ever for-now that was very satisfying and sweet.

I will be picking up book 2 in a near future, because despite the tie at the end, something is not entirely right yet and I think Azshure has even more trauma, crazy villains, and sweet moments to shock me with.

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