The Shattered Court – M.J. Scott

About the Book

First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.

Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.

336 pages (paperback)
Published on April 28, 2015
Published by Roc
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.


The Shattered Court is a book I completely took a chance on. I saw the cover art, liked it, and decided to give it a shot. This isn’t my typical book. It’s fantasy romance, emphasis on the romance.

However, despite that, I enjoyed it.

Sophie is in line for the throne – distantly. She’s thirty-second in line. She’s one of the privileged, and shortly after the book starts, we learn that not only is Sophie powerful (in a world where power seems to be weakening), but she’s shockingly powerful. There is some political upheaval (which is never really fully explained), and Sophie meets Cameron.

It’s a pretty obvious setup, and much of the novel will be predictable to many readers, but that really didn’t take away from my enjoyment much. Scott crafted an interesting world, full of potential and ready for exploration, from the magic system which gains shape and form as the book progresses, to the religion and culture(s) that are introduced, and the characters – none of whom end up being who you expect they are.

Sophie took some time to grow on me. She is the cookie-cutter character, the good girl who wants more but doesn’t know how to get it. She is absolutely (almost annoyingly) innocent as her position as a lady-in-waiting has kept her pretty sheltered from life. It takes some time, and some catastrophe, for her to become something a little more interesting, to break out of the mold a bit. However, Scott’s use of her as a protagonist was pretty genius. In many ways she’s an outsider looking in on a system that makes about as much sense to her as it makes to the readers at this point. She has a rather powerful perspective, and she’s easy to relate to.

Perhaps my biggest complaint with this novel was the fact that it felt much like prologue, a setup to something more, rather than an actual book. Scott introduces readers to the magic system, to a clash of countries, and a political upheaval that never gets fully explained. It’s obvious that Scott plans on elaborating on all of these things, but I missed the well-rounded feel and good exploration for some of these important world building aspects that I really enjoy in my books.

Yes, this book has some issues, but Scott does a lot really well here, too. There are nice plot twists that I didn’t expect. The romance is heartfelt and genuine. There are small touches throughout the book that add a lot of depth and serve to keep readers interested, like how magic turns hair red, and many of the religious myths and mysteries give some history to the world, the culture, and the magic that plays such an important role. Sophie, being outside the system in many ways, for reasons you’ll learn about as you read the book, tends to put a lot of these things in perspective for readers. Plus, Scott’s writing is superb, flowing and evocative, full of emotion and sensation.

The romance follows a pretty typical path, and while the attraction is pretty much based in magic when the book starts, it’s interesting to see how the characters open up to each other, and slowly a real, believable relationship forms. Cameron is a rather stand-offish character at the start of the novel, but he opens up a bit, and becomes the cornerstone Sophie can lean on as she has to navigate treacherous political waters that can easily overwhelm her.

The ending, honestly, surprised me, and was probably my favorite part of the book. While the rest of The Shattered Court follows a pretty typical path (despite the fact that many things weren’t really explained in depth or detail), the ending was quite surprising, and opens up a lot of room for Scott to explore more of her world, the politics, and the magic which could (and will) gain more depth.

However, that ending is also a bit of a cliffhanger, and while I enjoyed it, cliffhangers are generally frowned upon by many readers.

So, The Shattered Court. It’s not really what I expected (which wasn’t much because I read this book purely because of the cover art). It was fun but I enjoy my books to be a bit more fleshed out, and important points to be explained in more detail. Despite that, and the fact that this is a fantasy romance (not my typical book), I really look forward to seeing what happens next. Scott is a great writer, the world is lush and vivid, and the characters grow on you until you don’t want to part with them. This isn’t a deep and intense saga, but something you’ll probably want to pick up on a rainy weekend when you need a vacation from, well, everything. It ended up being exactly what I needed, right when I needed it.


3/5 stars


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