“The time for Kiero’s reign in prosperity is over.”
Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.
An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth.
In this gripping prequel to Black Dawn, their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made. War ravages through Kiero and is torn apart by acclaimed Kings. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision- to fight or to bow to the darkness within him.
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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite Renegade: Black Dawn 0.5 by Mallory McCartney is a gripping YA fantasy with a strong narrator and very interesting characters. We enter Kiero, an empire that has experienced prosperity in past years, but that prosperity is about to be broken as a powerful and ruthless pirate king, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, sails to Kiero in the company of his heir. It is against such a backdrop that the story of two young heroes evolves, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae, a tale of courage and patriotism. The two youngsters join other gifted ones at the Academy — at the wishes of their parents. Adair Stratton is the outcast who’d rather be elsewhere than at the Academy. But when war and death arrive in the city, people witness gross betrayals, hidden magic, and lies. It’s time for the lukewarm Adair to make a choice that will change everything. The game of power, magic, political intrigue, war, family, and friendship are just a few of the themes that are explored in this narrative and they are explored in a way that enriches the plot and nourishes aspects of the conflict. Mallory McCartney creates a great plot structure and a beautiful character arc. The conflict is explored at different levels. The internal conflict dominates the inner world of Adair, and it is about the fact that he has to choose between what his parents want for him and what he desires for himself. Emory is a strong female character and readers will enjoy the influence she has on Adair. Renegade is beautifully written, with a well-designed setting, memorable characters, and an unpredictable plot. A good read indeed.