Free-spirited Annika Brisby has just turned down a proposal that promises a lifetime of security but no adventure. Seeking some distance between herself and her ex-boyfriend, Annika travels to the Balkan Mountains. A day hike gone to havoc sends her through a broken portal to another world. She is discovered by wood nymphs who seem convinced that Annika's presence is more than just chance, and they vow to get her back home with the help of a slightly debauched elf named Talvi. Unnerved at his advances, Annika makes the best of her situation by learning all she can about this dream-like new world. But the more she gets to know the genuine Talvi, the more she wonders if there's a path leading them toward each other. Together they sail over a monster-filled sea, navigate through a forest of flesh eating trees, and encounter a family of trolls, but the greatest obstacle will be Annika's ability to trust her new friends and confront her deepest fears.
Book: Balkan Magic by Emigh Cannaday
Release Date: November 25, 2008
Series: Balkan Magic, #1
Obtained: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: (4 Zombies)
For the first half or so of Balkan Magic, I wasn't entirely sure that I would even finish the book because of how slow it was, but once I reached somewhere near the halfway point, I couldn't put the book down! It got so good, so fast, I could hardly believe that I was reading the same book that had been so slow and quite frankly boring at the beginning, but the characters were all the same, so I figured that I must have been.
I think that my biggest problem with the beginning of Balkan Magic was that I couldn't have cared less about Annika, and since she's the main character, it's kind of important to like her. Once she started coming into her own as a character and I started to like her more, the book got a lot more interesting and good.
The side characters, mainly Finn, were what kept me reading at first, and they continued to be hilarious and interesting throughout the book. Even though I did end up liking Annika, Finn was definitely my favorite character.
If you're interested in fantasy and can handle a book with a slow start (The Iron King by Julie Kagawa comes to mind), then I would definitely recommend that you check out Balkan Magic, but it might be a good idea to borrow it from a library before purchasing a copy, because I don't think that this is a book for everyone, even though I certainly ended up loving it.