Makiia Lucier has such a way with blending mystery and fantasy elements. Seriously, these are some of my favorite murder mystery fantasies! There’s a fantastic balance of magic, intrigue, and characters. Check out this interview where we chat about some of Lucier’s books!
Makiia Lucier’s Books
“Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.”
“As the granddaughter of a famed navigator, seventeen-year-old Reyna has always lived life on her own terms, despite those who say a girl could never be an explorer for the royal house of St. John del Mar. She is determined to prove them wrong, and as she returns home after a year-long expedition, she knows her dream is within reach. No longer an apprentice, instead: Reyna, Master Explorer.
But when menacing raiders attack her ship, those dreams are pushed aside. Reyna’s escape is both desperate and dangerous, and when next she sees her ship, a mystery rises from the deep. The sailors–her captain, her countrymen–have vanished. To find them, Reyna must use every resource at her disposal . . . including placing her trust in a handsome prince from a rival kingdom.
Together they uncover a disturbing truth. The attack was no isolated incident. Troubling signs point to a shadowy kingdom in the north, and for once, the rulers of the Sea of Magdalen agree: something must be done. But can Reyna be brave enough to find a way?”
“The past never forgets . . .
Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.
Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.”
Did you already know the plot events for SONG while drafting/writing ISLE?
Not at all. All I knew was that I wanted the main character to be Reyna (who is nine years old in Isle of Blood and Stone and seventeen in Song of the Abyss). And I wanted her adventures to take place far away from the island kingdom of del Mar, which is the setting for Isle.
Do you have a favorite YA fantasy map?
I love all the maps by cartographer Francesca Baerald (you can see her work on Instagram). One of my favorites can be found inside Crystal Ren Smith’s young adult novel, Bloodleaf.
How long did you have the idea for ISLE before you began writing?
I really can’t say! Isle of Blood and Stone is a collection of things that happen to fascinate me. The Indiana Jones movies, which I’ve loved since I was a child. Leprosy, which I first learned about by watching Charlton Heston in the movie Ben-Hur. That was also in elementary school. But the book also includes more recent interests like medieval mapmaking and medieval travel.
Do you think Reyna and Lena would be friends?
What was the biggest challenge for drafting YEAR OF THE REAPER?
Everything was challenging! Finishing the first draft, finishing the fifth. Writing a mystery has its own particular difficulties. You don’t want readers to figure things out too early, but you do want to sneak in enough clues so that when all is revealed, it feels organic. It’s a tough balancing act.
Do you have a favorite assassin?
I am very fond of Fitzchivalry Farseer from Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice series.
Who is your favorite side character in YEAR OF THE REAPER?
I would have to say Lena. She’s kind of a nerd who loves history. I, too, am a nerd who loves history.
Where to Buy
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About the Author
Makiia Lucier grew up on the Pacific island of Guam and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Her books have appeared on many notable lists, including the Kids’ Indie Next, the American Booksellers Association’s ‘Best Books for Children,’ and the American Library Association’s ‘Best Fiction for Young Adults.’ A Death-Struck Year, her debut novel, is set in Portland, Oregon during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The world of St. John del Mar, in which Isle of Blood and Stone and Song of the Abyss take place, was inspired by a childhood love of the Indiana Jones movies, as well as a lifelong fascination with old, old maps.
She lives with her family in North Carolina.