book reviews

3 Excellent Other-world Books

Here are more great fantasy/supernatural-type fiction novels you won’t want to miss:

  1. Dark Desires — a teenage fae makes the most of her human high school experience
  2. The Prince’s Protege — In his own baptism by fire, young King Marten becomes an enviable ruler
  3. Heir of Doom — a healthy mix of paranormal beings, from preternaturals to werewolves, who can see auras, heal wounds, read minds, and move faster than light.

A note about my reviews: I only post reviews about books I liked so don’t be surprised to see lots of 4/5 and 5/5. If I don’t like the book, I won’t spend time writing about it.

Dark Desires

by Ronel Janse van Vuuren


In Ronel Janse van Vuuren’s Dark Desires (2019), Tasha, a teenage fae stuck in the human world known as ‘high school’, struggles with her circumstances. She tries to be nice but constantly must bite back curses she’d like to fling at annoying classmates:

“Part of her had been building up magic to curse the girl with baldness, while another part had fought against it.”

It doesn’t help when she finds herself attracted to Seth, a human boy in the proverbial boy band who seems nice but barely notices her. When a strong spell wraps itself around everyone at her school–humans and faery alike (though Tasha manages to avoid it), Tasha becomes the only one who can stop it even if she ends up exposed–or dead.

This is a fun, fast-moving story with lots of supernatural to intrigue readers and a surprise to wrap it all up. Kudos to Ronel for an excellent story!

The Prince’s Protege

by Deborah Jay


In Deborah Jay’s third in the Five Kingdoms series, The Prince’s Protege (2019), the kingdom has barely recovered from a failed coup two years ago. Much has been fixed but attitudes and a sense of security are not among them. When the young King Martin’s trusted advisor, his Uncle Hal, must take time away from royal duties to tend to a new son, Martin is left alone to make decisions. He feels ready, assured, and of course, that is when much goes wrong. His spiritual advisor is poisoned. Then his Uncle Hal is killed and his new son kidnapped. Marten himself is almost killed–twice–and he begins to feel the pressure of so many challenges on his one set of shoulders. When he struggles to set up his own intelligence network, he finds there are devious undercurrents that threaten to bring down his monarchy and destroy his kingdom. With the help of a beautiful spy, Betha, a woman Marten wants to love–except for her closet-full of difficult issues such as her dabbling in the outlawed magic–he begins to unearth the roots of the problems and how to solve them.

Marten is an interesting character, one I found myself wanting more time with no matter how intriguing the other parts of the plot. We are privy to his internal whines and complaints–about responsibilities, demands on his time, lack of confidantes, and so much more–but he performs his duties admirably, as though born to the position. At the heart of this story is his growth as both a man and a ruler. Jay does an enviable job of paying vigilant attention to all details in this fantasy world, allowing us to feel comfortable drawing our own conclusions in what is a complicated political mystery. As with the previous books in the series, the characters are deftly drawn, the world building exceptional, and the plot intricate. This is a satisfying conclusion to the Five Kingdoms story.

Heir of Doom 

by Jina Bazzar


In Jina Bazzar’s Heir of Doom (2019), Book 2 in The Roxanne Fosch Files series, Roxanne is embraced as part of the Clan (rather than be the loner she was forced to be in Book 1) but must participate in rigorous physical and psychical training with a trainer not known for empathy or patience. It comes to an abrupt end when she is tasked with finding a missing girl, Mwara. This becomes personal to Roxanne when Mwara visits her and shares her fear that she will be kidnapped and lost in the lurid world of experimentation and deceit that Roxanne was forced into for ten years before her miraculous escape (from Book 1). Not surprisingly, everyone involved in this task has different goals. The question becomes whether they will all agree on the end.

Jina again does an outstanding job building the Roxanne character, her demanding world, and the agony she must face regardless of her choices. Most of those she meets in this world are unreliable at best, amoral and dangerous at their norm. They are richly drawn with powerful backstories and riveting plotlines. They are a healthy mix of all sorts of paranormal beings from preternaturals to werewolves who can see auras, heal wounds, read minds, and move faster than light. How Roxanne escapes and prevails is what drives a complex, every-changing plot.

Don’t blink while you’re reading this. You’ll miss something important.

More fantasy books

Tales From the Irish Garden: Light-hearted Whimsical Fun

How do you World-Build?

59 Tips for Fantasy Writers

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

53 thoughts on “3 Excellent Other-world Books

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  5. These look so good, Jacquie. I didn’t know that Jina’s new book was out, and I’m wondering how I missed it (though March and April were crazy months for me). Thanks for the reviews. I have a lot of reading to do!

    Liked by 2 people

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