'When a stranger tells her she's a mage, Ailith is intrigued but she's also afraid. Magic is heresy, and heresy means death under the Temple Law. Even literacy is suspect in a girl of her background, and her sister's impending wedding only serves as a reminder that she should be focusing on her future. Then a local priest asks her to rescue his son, and she starts to wonder if her talents could be a blessing, after all.

The Lord Baron of Watersmeet, Leofwin isn't accustomed to welcoming uninvited visitors. A commoner turning up at his gates should be no more than a minor footnote to his day, but something about Ailith catches his attention. Alchemy can be lonely work and an apprentice might be just what he needs.

As their lessons grow into shared experiments, Leofwin wonders if he might even trust her with his greatest challenge. But Ailith can't forget why she came to the castle.'

I didn't know what to expect from this book at all before reading the blurb. As a sucker for fiction, particularly anything regarding fantasy and magic, I felt it was going to be worth a shot. The fact it is the first in a series always entices me - if I enjoy it, I have more novels to continue the delight!

The amount of characters mentioned in the first chapter, as well as the number of Gods, worried me instantly. I am not one for remembering a whole array of characters and it sometimes overshadows the story. HOWEVER, as I persisted, the focal characters become apparent and I found myself captured by Ailith's personality (pronounced Ay-lith - I had to google it on page 5!)

There are a couple of twists and turns but overall the story covers more of the relationships between people, which I personally find makes a story much more memorable. You could call it a 'coming-of-age' sort of plot, particularly regarding Ailith and her battle between finding a husband and living a family life that is expected and following her ideal career of becoming an alchemist. I love the portrayal of her as an independent, strong-minded woman despite her age.

Should you read it?

I'd definitely recommend 'Watersmeet' for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel.
Get it here on Amazon. The digital edition is well worth the money!

It's a great read to start this year off with, follow me on Goodreads to keep updated on my reading progress and so I can see what you're all reading at the moment too.