Book Review: A Secret in Onyx (Onyx Trilogy #1)

Title: A Secret in Onyx

Author: Jessica Florence

Pub. Date: May 17, 2020

Pages: 318

Pub: Independently Published

Genre: SFF Romance

Rating: ⭐️.5 (DNF @ 25%)

Everything I knew died when the end of the world came. People dropped dead, and electricity vanished. Those who remained alive were never the same again.

While on the run with my boyfriend Tor across the desolate continent, the worst humanity had left attacked. Torn from the one I love, I boldly raced for help at the last human safe zone.

Only it’s not humans I found, but the Fae.

Now I have one month to rescue my boyfriend and release a savior princess from an onyx tomb or lose them both forever. A seemingly impossible task when Rune, a cursed, pain in the ass Fae warrior is assigned to train me. He’s hellbent on freeing his beloved princess and I’m desperate to save Tor. But no matter how hard we snarl during training; we can’t stay away from each other.

I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was the apocalypse.

I was wrong.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. Unfortunately, I ended up DNFing this.

This isn’t going to be a long review, because honestly, I don’t have much to say. This book has been on my radar for a while now. Between the cover and the synopsis, I was immediately hooked. An SSF take on Fae? Count me in. Melding together dystopian SF with High Fantasy concepts? Yes please.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t meet any expectations I had. And I don’t think my expectations were too high.  Usually I’m all for a “Chosen One” trope, but this just felt too contrived. Like, there was no other option other than the MC being a chosen one. It felt like it came out of left field, and I couldn’t suspend my disbelief to buy into it.

Speaking of the MC, I didn’t like her. I found her to be annoying, and despite the “hard work” she puts into everything, things just come super easy to her. If you have a character who has been barely surviving – like, dehydrated, starving and living in fear for months – training and fighting within a few days of reaching a safe haven – no. If there is basically no recovery time, and they’re holding their own against seasoned fighters – no. If they’re picking it up like they’ve been doing it for years – no.

I don’t buy it. This is a huge turn off for me.

Then there’s the world building. I don’t even understand what really happened to cause the world to end, and shift. I don’t. I don’t even know if it was actually explained in the book. A pretty key staple into almost any SF dystopian book, is the description of how the world fell into ruin. There is always an explanation. I felt lost and confused and not at all excited that two of my favorite genres had been melded together. It all just felt lacking and I couldn’t get interested.

There’s also the whole love tangle – yes I mean tangle.

MC loves her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend is engaged to a Fae Princess.

Fae Princess is loved by a broody Fae Warrior.

Fae Warrior clearly has some feelings for MC.

MC destined to free Fae Princess.

Boyfriend’s feelings are unclear.

Like, that’s a lot.

And I know I’m biased and uniformed because I chose not to finish the book. But I just had issues I couldn’t ignore. Maybe I’ll try reading the physical book in the future (since I own a copy), maybe I just wasn’t a fan of the audiobook format. For now, I’m opting to DNF and move onto something that actually grabs my interest.

If you’ve read this book, let me know if it’s worth reading. It really does sound like something I would like, so maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the other books in the series makes it worth pushign through this first one.

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