Today I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour for Moroda by L.L. MacRae. This is the first book in the World of Linaria, and has been rereleased in this second edition with additional POVs, bonus chapters and expanded scenes.
Please do check out the rest of the tour, and there is also a chance to win a copy for yourself at the end of the post.
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
In Linaria, dragons are revered as gods.
Airships command the skies.
And across the land, war is brewing.
Devastated by their father’s death, Moroda and her sister struggle to make ends meet. Things go from bad to worse when a rogue dragon destroys their city.
Fleeing on a sky pirate’s airship to escape the chaos, the sisters find themselves penned in by untrustworthy companions, a bloodthirsty warlord, and dragons on the rampage.
For Moroda, who would do anything to protect her sister, nowhere is safe. Not even the sky.
The balance of power in Linaria is tipping. Can one woman make a difference?
If you love dragons, airships, and sky pirates, you’ll love discovering THE WORLD OF LINARIA.
There are Dragons…
That has to be the start of any of my reviews for MacRae’s works at this point, and her books always make my dragon-loving heart happy because she writes them so well and has them so thoroughly integrated into the world. As always there is an immediate bonus point for having a fantastic map (see the bottom of the review to see it), and it does an excellent job of indicating the scope of the world of Linaria and the fact that this is very much epic fantasy.
As with The Iron Crownthe worldbuilding is one of my favourite aspects of Moroda (although this time I have to say it was trumped by the characters and the dynamics of the group, but more on that later), both in terms of scale and variety, but also in how MacRae deploys one of my favourite methods of worldbuilding wherein we learn more as the characters journey through the world, while still being left with the sense that we have just scratched the surface. The details were fantastic (and my mouth was watering at some of the food that was described) and painted vivid images of each setting so that the world was just as alive as the characters experiencing it. As mentioned above the Dragons are very much integrated into this world, and I loved that they are considered to be the source of all life and magic and revered as such (give me more dragon worship please), while there are the Ittalans and Varkains who have shapeshifting abilities (another thing I want more of), while the Arillians have magical capabilities over the weather.
‘Indeed, I am a scholar,’ he replied, pointing to the jewels under his left eye. ‘Purple is the colour of the teacher. There are many colours to mark the specialities of the Samolen,’ he explained.
In fact, I do want to mention the magic in this book. Again, it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface, but there is a similar variety in the magic as there is with the world and its cultures and races, and while there is a common source in the Dragons – how it was used and how it manifested varied. From those that live in the city of mages, Berel, taking a scholarly and peaceful application, to shapeshifting and control of the weather.
The characters though stole the show, especially the dynamic. I am always up for a ragtag group of characters coming together in a story, but I loved the extra dimension in Moroda where these characters were not just unlikely companions, but actively did not get along. There was trust issues, multiple motivations (that often were not even shared with the other characters, adding to the chaos), friction and bickering and insults, with an array of moral compasses. It made for a messy, complicated group that was an absolute delight to follow, and just added extra flavour to each encounter and step of the journey, because it was not just an external threat they were dealing with, but having to struggle against those differences, to find common ground and to come to understand one another and it made for delightfully compelling reading.
‘These are your… friends? You’ve always had quite eclectic tastes, haven’t you? Not only do you have those from Corhaven, but Ittallan, an Arillian, and a Varkain, too? Who would have thought one small airship would bring Linaria’s peoples together!’
MacRae writes incredibly character-driven fantasy, and that really shines in this book and her ability to write compelling, complex individuals as well as group-dynamics makes them really come alive. It is these characters that bring the story and the world alive – and I just want more of all of them. I will admit that Amarah was my favourite (I have a weakness for pirates), and in a way she felt like a grounding presence in the rest of the group because her motivation – money – was uncomplicated and there throughout, and that and her sassiness and inability to hold her tongue just stood out for me, and I loved how she interacted with the others. And the visit to Berel left me wanting to know much more about her! Palom was another favourite, a much softer and more protective character, you just wanted to spend time with him – and it is telling on MacRae’s skill that the quieter characters were not lost within this group.
The writing was great, and this book reads a lot shorter than it is because you find yourself flying through the pages as MacRae brings together the worldbuilding, the characters and the plot with plenty of action, and some wonderfully heart-rending moments. Moroda has already shown us so much of this wonderful world, and yet there is the feeling of so much more to come and explore.
Moroda was an entertaining and compelling read, and already has me looking to pick up the rest of the series because I want to spend more time in this world and certainly with these characters. A fantastic read for anyone who loves dragons (I mean who doesn’t?), character-driven stories and ragtag groups of messy humanness, in a richly realised world.
Lauren is a fantasy author of character-driven stories and epic adventure. Her books usually contain dragons, eclectic characters, and are typically fun and hopeful.
She lives in a tiny village in the UK, has a degree in Psychology, and was a professional copywriter before going full-time as an author—swapping corporate copy for magic and dragons!
She has previously published under the name L.L. McNeil.
Prize: An eBook Copy of Moroda!
Starts: June 27, 2022 at 12:00am EST
Ends: July 3, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter here:
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.