The Song of the Marked (Shadow and Crowns #1) by S.M. Gaither
An ancient evil is stirring. The old gods are growing restless. Can she stop the coming storm?
A Devastating Sickness
For decades, the Kethran Empire has been plagued by a strange illness that leaches the very life and soul from its victims.
The Girl Who Survived
Casia is one of the Fade-Marked—one of the few people who caught this sickness and lived. Why she lived is a mystery even to her and the outcast crew of mercenaries she calls her family. It also makes her an intriguing target for the young, enigmatic king-emperor, who claims he wants to work alongside her to find a cure.
Unfortunately, working alongside him also means working with the handsome but infuriating captain of one of the most prestigious branches of the Kethran Army.
A Soldier With No Past
This infuriating Captain Elander also has secrets: A past that Cas can’t seem to uncover, a powerful but strange brand of magic, and a deep distrust of the very monarch that he’s sworn to serve. She feels oddly drawn to him in spite of these things…
But can she really trust him?
The Fate of an Empire
As the bodies pile up and strange monsters begin to wreak havoc throughout the realms, Cas and Elander will have to work together to protect their world whether they trust one another or not. Because one thing is clear: Something ancient and evil is stirring in the shadows of Kethra.
And the empire will not survive its full unleashing.
But how can they save a world where nothing and no one is what they seem to be— including Cas herself?
Wow, very good fantasy novel! This book is pretty long and I was interested from page 1 and stayed interested the entire time. This is my first experience with S.M. Gaither and I will 100% be looking into more novels by this author. The Song of the Marked is part of a duology, which I really like because most fantasy series are 3+ book.
This book follows the chosen one / secret identity style trope, but I am honestly not bad about it. It was done very well, and Cas, the main heroine is badass and selfless and everything you want in a protagonist. As with all fantasy novels, there is a bit of a love interest between her and Captain Elander, which I am all for.
The first book ends on a cliffhanger and a plot twist and I am dying to see how the next book handles everything. If you can’t tell, I couldn’t recommend this book enough. Fans of Sci-fi and fantasy, this is the new series for you. This book is available on Kindle Unlimited.