Book Reviews

Review: Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Nocturna is a fast paced fantasy that will thrill you. What, by far, enchanted me, was the world building. In this glittering and magic infused world is a post-colonial society and you can see the traces like shadows lingering.


To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I can’t pick an element of Nocturna that I loved most – there were just too many to choose from! Whether it be characters that make you tear up, themes that make you lie awake at night, or a world that you want to see on the screen, I loved it all. If you’re looking for a rich stunning fantasy that will ask complex questions about agency and (re)definition, then pre-order Nocturna today.

World building & Writing

I kid you not, I was geeking over how wonderful this world building was to everyone I met today. Whether it be the society’s history of overthrowing their oppressors (it’s a fabulous story), or the fact that there are still remnants of the colonialism in their society today – I love it all.

That paired with Motayne’s writing, the whole book just becomes magic in your hands. There were so many passages that I wanted to quote aloud, that I could see becoming prints. Books like Nocturna inspire you. Not only that, but the themes in this book are enchanting and thought provoking. They question agency – the difference between being asked and between being controlled – as well as the inner monster inside of us – are we monsters for our actions or how people treat us.


I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say, ‘These characters will pull at your heartstrings”, but it’s true again for Nocturna. Take, for example, Alfie. There’s such a quiet vulnerability about him – his raw grief, his hopeful optimism, but also his noble morals. We are rooting for Alfie because even though he has to make difficult decisions, there’s something so pure about his motivations, his love, and his desire to help.

Whereas there’s Finn who you can’t but help as well! She hides behind masks, too afraid of her own face, and beneath her hard exterior, lies an intense fear of what she’s capable of. When we hide behind a mask, we become afraid of our reflection, but is it all fear? Is it not also guilt, rage, shame?


And the questions, at the end of the day, are so thought provoking, as well as gripping. When have the capacity to do both blindingly brilliant good, and terrible bad, we are the ones who choose which path we tread – and if there’s a spark of hope for us to change. Who are we, what we we capable of, and can we turn back?

Find Nocturna on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What is the last fantasy book with amazing world building that you read?

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