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Sting Magic

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She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart. In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings. Literally. It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it. But this year, things are different. Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and w She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart. In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings. Literally. It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it. But this year, things are different. Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and when the Empire strips them of their weapons, leaving them defenseless against the deadly magic that surrounds their settlement, she feels powerless to help. Unfortunately, her frustration comes out in the worst way possible - as aberrant magic. When Aella's magic manifests, it doesn't come as a bird. It comes as an angry swarm of bees. And that aberration will threaten her life and everything she loves. Can Aella keep her family safe by learning to control a magic born of frustration and fear before it masters her instead?


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She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart. In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings. Literally. It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it. But this year, things are different. Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and w She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart. In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings. Literally. It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it. But this year, things are different. Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and when the Empire strips them of their weapons, leaving them defenseless against the deadly magic that surrounds their settlement, she feels powerless to help. Unfortunately, her frustration comes out in the worst way possible - as aberrant magic. When Aella's magic manifests, it doesn't come as a bird. It comes as an angry swarm of bees. And that aberration will threaten her life and everything she loves. Can Aella keep her family safe by learning to control a magic born of frustration and fear before it masters her instead?

30 review for Sting Magic

  1. 5 out of 5

    *❆ Kαɾҽɳ ❆*

    Wow wow wow! This is by far one of my favourite series starters by Sarah K. L. Wilson! This was such a unique story with a new kind of plot within an empire that deals with magic and animals! In this empire, there are people who “hatch” when they come to a certain age. Hatching means who manifest an egg and when the egg hatches a creature comes out, normally it is a bird of some kind. For some it is an honour to hatch, for most it is dreadful as it is where they have to leave their life behind a Wow wow wow! This is by far one of my favourite series starters by Sarah K. L. Wilson! This was such a unique story with a new kind of plot within an empire that deals with magic and animals! In this empire, there are people who “hatch” when they come to a certain age. Hatching means who manifest an egg and when the egg hatches a creature comes out, normally it is a bird of some kind. For some it is an honour to hatch, for most it is dreadful as it is where they have to leave their life behind and become the property of Le Majest (emperor). For Aella, she loves her big family, and she is happy defending them together from the Forbidding (a type of hydra), but when their weapons are seized from the Le Majest and Aella unexpected hatches, not bird but a swarm of bees, her life is turned upside down! She must fight her way out of the mess that she has made but with no one to trust, how can she survive this new world of living? Really enjoyed this tale, I loved every page and thoroughly enjoyed how much thought was put into this plot. I enjoy Sarah’s writing because of the uniqueness and the world building that she expertly crafts. I thought the characters were well presented, I like learning about their past and insecurities throughout the book. The magic is magnificent and I thought I was explained well. Cannot wait to read more about this story in the following books. Received a copy from the author herself, for an honest review and this does not affect my review or rating of the book. Thank you!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    This book is free on Amazon today (02/15/2021). 🙂

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.S. Marsden

    Aella is content with her harsh life on the Far Stones, until she summons magic, and is claimed as property of the empire. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Aella and her family have carved out a life for themselves in one of the harshest countries, where there is danger around every corner and the land itself is trying to kill them. They lead a happy life, which is relatively-free. They are so far away from the Empire's capital that they are left alone. Except for taxes, and Aella is content with her harsh life on the Far Stones, until she summons magic, and is claimed as property of the empire. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Aella and her family have carved out a life for themselves in one of the harshest countries, where there is danger around every corner and the land itself is trying to kill them. They lead a happy life, which is relatively-free. They are so far away from the Empire's capital that they are left alone. Except for taxes, and Hatching ceremonies. After witnessing the violent atrocities that the Prince and his soldiers perform, it is Aella's turn to take part in the ceremony, where she hatches, and is taken as property by the Imperial party. I loved the world that the author has created, an empire that is known for its use of birds in everything - in sigils, fashion, ranks and names. The most feared and respected are the magic users who hatch a spirit bird. These are always bound into service to the Emperor and his family. For as long as anyone can remember, every magic user has manifested birds, until Aella comes along. I liked how the history and rules of the empire were woven into the story. Having grown up on the edges of the empire, Aella has much to learn, and we learn alongside her, as she travels back to the capital. To begin with, I thought that Juste Monpetit (the Emperor's son and heir) was just a generic bad guy; a spoiled little prince who took pleasure in bullying others, but he became very scary and interesting as the book continued. I also liked how the empire went from Aella's view of being the generic evil oppression that must be fought against, to being a lot more nuanced. Especially with her new frenemy Zayana, Aella learns that not everyone hates the empire, and many believe their lies of peace and unity. I thought the Forbidding was a bit vague at times. Aella mentions in the beginning that it can take over trees and living creatures, like a disease, which needs a host. Then when it appeared a few times later in the book, I got the mental image of lava rolling over the land, having its own physical body. Then again, there's a big scene at the end where it came across as almost an alternate reality, twisting things in its path. I wasn't quite sure which, if any was true. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Bennett

    This author is one of my favorite indie authors. I have read a few of her series (haven’t finished them all yet and slowly working through) but when I saw that she was writing one about bird magic, I was super intrigued! One thing I didn’t realize before jumping into this book was how dark it was going to be. Oh my! Le Majest/ Juste Montpetit is just insane but yet somehow I am drawn to him and wonder what he has planned next. Aella’s magic is not like any other. Instead of a bird, she gets bees. This author is one of my favorite indie authors. I have read a few of her series (haven’t finished them all yet and slowly working through) but when I saw that she was writing one about bird magic, I was super intrigued! One thing I didn’t realize before jumping into this book was how dark it was going to be. Oh my! Le Majest/ Juste Montpetit is just insane but yet somehow I am drawn to him and wonder what he has planned next. Aella’s magic is not like any other. Instead of a bird, she gets bees. At least it starts with a b, am I right? 😂 (corny joke, I know.) I’m very intrigued by her ability and I like that from the beginning you get to see her magic manifest and the struggles that come along with it. It’s never easy being different on top of learning something new. Although her magic is unique, that isn’t everything she is. She is loyal to her family and will do anything to protect them, which includes not making the the best choices. There is good in her where the world seems to be falling apart from the forbidding and the empire. She is also filled with hope and determination. There are other characters that I have also enjoyed so far like Ivo and Osprey. Both of them have something up their sleeve but not much is explained besides a prophecy and that they would like to see a change. Osprey does have a bit more to the story in regards to Aella. He obviously needs her but his hands are tied due to a bond. I can kind of see where things will go between them but there will definitely be plot twists to keep them apart. Aella also isn’t too sure about him and so who knows! I’m sure I’ll be surprised, ha. The plot is a bit slow at first and it does take a bit to get into but once the world-building starts flowing it’s hard to put down. The magic system is intriguing and I have only read one other book about birds but they are quite different! There are quite a few plot twists and I didn’t see them coming. The last one was intense and I’m not even sure what’s going to happen in book two. Hopefully Aella can handle what’s to come. Overall, I really liked the start to this new series and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mere

    3.5 stars Thanks to the author, I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. I enjoyed this book, and thought it was a good start to a fantasy series. I don't have too much to say about it, as I think that the book itself was good. I didn't really SUPER LOVE any parts, but nor did I think any parts were bad either! I fell in the middle of the road on this one. I think it just wasn't a book that I fell in love with. Certainly one I enjoyed. 3.5 stars Thanks to the author, I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. I enjoyed this book, and thought it was a good start to a fantasy series. I don't have too much to say about it, as I think that the book itself was good. I didn't really SUPER LOVE any parts, but nor did I think any parts were bad either! I fell in the middle of the road on this one. I think it just wasn't a book that I fell in love with. Certainly one I enjoyed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Eyre

    OMG this is a fantastic new epic fantasy adventure that will leave you stunned and a little breathless. It’s well written and the world building is incredible and is a truly magical read! I love the twists and turns and this had me hooked from the very start and I have to say I cannot wait for the next instalment!

  7. 5 out of 5

    K Elise

    As usual Wilson does a stellar job, I mean, when has she not? This book was REALLY captivating though. It deals with things that are actually very familiar in our own real world, civil unrest/war, inequality, the theft of people's rights in the name of peace, and having the "relentless" will to make a change. Aella is a really intense character, full of flaws, and rage, and she has to try to overcome her own inclinations to rush into something without thinking, while maintain her fire and drive. As usual Wilson does a stellar job, I mean, when has she not? This book was REALLY captivating though. It deals with things that are actually very familiar in our own real world, civil unrest/war, inequality, the theft of people's rights in the name of peace, and having the "relentless" will to make a change. Aella is a really intense character, full of flaws, and rage, and she has to try to overcome her own inclinations to rush into something without thinking, while maintain her fire and drive. It's a balancing act she's rather uneasy about trying to accomplish, (for good reason). I LOVE the world building. This place is complex, and fascinating, and what she's done feels so complex while also being pretty complete. You feel the history of this world as the story unfolds, and it's authentic. The imagery with the birds and how they're used for different things, how they interact with people, and what they mean to different people groups is just... I don't know, how to put it. I'm awestruck by the amount of thought that went into the deeper layers of this story, things which other authors might gloss over feel very rich and vivid in this story. And then the message of words having power is just... SUPER applicable. This is very much a pertinent book to our time, not only in our current social/political climate, but it really draws your attention back to how you use your own words. So much of our world is text based now, with social media and all, and we forget that our words (whether spoken, or typed) have power to create and destroy. I love the message. I loved this book. I'm really looking forward to the next part in the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Today, September 22nd 2020, is release day! Grab it while it's on sale for 99¢~    I started this book looking forward to the promise the blurb gives us of bird and bee magic and the main character, Aella’s, desire to protect her family, but it’s so much more than that. Aella and her family live on the fringes of the Winged Empire, carving out a life against the Forbidding which invades their land with tendrils of dark, consuming magic. It is no easy life, but she has a large family of siblings a Today, September 22nd 2020, is release day! Grab it while it's on sale for 99¢~    I started this book looking forward to the promise the blurb gives us of bird and bee magic and the main character, Aella’s, desire to protect her family, but it’s so much more than that. Aella and her family live on the fringes of the Winged Empire, carving out a life against the Forbidding which invades their land with tendrils of dark, consuming magic. It is no easy life, but she has a large family of siblings and nieces and nephews, to say nothing of her father, the head and guiding sword of their family, House Shrike. When the crown prince Le Majest of the Winged Empire comes to her town on his tour of the country, he rips away her sense of safety and her freedom when she Hatches: magic buzzes out of her in the form of a swarm of bees in a world where magic should only manifest as birds. So begins her forced journey away from her family with a cruel crown prince, a scheming yet protective Guardian, another young Hatchling like herself, and the crown prince’s guards and the Empire’s soldiers.    Aella feels all alone, taken from her family, yet the Guardian Osprey is trying to reach out to her and have her trust him as he tries to get her to join him in a grand scheme he is working on. But Aella doesn’t trust easily – especially someone who played a role in taking away the safety her family and town used to know. She’s stubborn, determined, and relentless in her goal to take her freedom back and protect her family from both the Forbidding and the far-away Winged Empire. In her stubbornness, though, she makes mistakes. A lot of them. Seeing how she’ll pull through, what her mistakes will cost her, and what she will have to do in order to survive is part of the draw of her story. Not to mention the cloud of mystery that surrounds the Guardian Osprey and his keen interest in her and her magical bees.    For the world-building: it seemed to start a little slow, and I wasn’t sure how exactly the Winged Empire was organized. However, as Aella talks more with her new travel companions, we learn more about the Winged Empire and how it operates – as well as the darkness lurking in its shadows. I hope there might be a map of this world in the final copy of the book, as seeing not only the spread of the Winged Empire, the named cities, and the various nearby countries would better help readers visualize the geographic layout of this vast, powerful empire.    There are a number of interesting characters other than Aella, and it is rewarding to see the layers of each unfold as Aella interacts with them more. There is Zayana, the other new Hatchling, who is also a great source of information to Aella about the workings of the Winged Empire. Juste Montpetit (Le Majest) is clearly up to something nefarious, and not so shallow as what he demands of Aella’s family and town to give up. Wing Ivo comes across as a mentor-uncle, and I am intrigued to learn more about his history – how he came to have the position he does, especially considering his lone wolf comportment. A word must also, of course, be spared for Guardian Osprey: he is bound by invisible chains in what he is able to do, yet that does not stop him from doing all he can to recruit Aella to his vaguely-revealed cause. For those of you hoping for a story where the heroine doesn’t need a romantic interest, though, it doesn’t look like that will happen. Aella is fiercely independent and determined – her house motto is “Be relentless” after all – so I really enjoyed her doing things her own way, even though more often than not it did not go anywhere near the direction she was aiming for. And initially, in her interactions with Osprey, this independence is quite clear. However, by the end of this first book, (view spoiler)[her words and tone towards Osprey betray that she is seeking out a connection with him, and it seemed clear to me to have a romantic bent. I’m not averse to romance in my reading – far from it – but sometimes, it’s nice to have a heroine not romantically inclined towards the mysterious, strong/powerful, yet also magically-bound man. So we’ll see how this develops, if it grows on me or not. (hide spoiler)]    Some things which I was less pleased with: near the end comes the revelation that (very big twist/surprise spoiler warning – seriously, don’t read it if you want to be surprised like I was – and I enjoyed getting the surprise; I do recommend getting it as a surprise) (view spoiler)[not only does the crown prince have evil plans in mind (this was clear from how he acted, and it was very clear he was up to some no-good business on many occasions, not just the obvious ones like when he gave cruel orders), he Hatches – it’s not clear when this happens, but it seems implied that it happens shortly before the climactic scene when Aella faces him. Given how/when Aella Hatched, how that was described as something that needed to be encouraged by someone who had already Hatched, and only needed to be tested for once, I’m not seeing how the crown prince could have hatched. I’m curious to see how this might be explained later. (hide spoiler)] Then there were littler things, like how no one in the crown prince’s entourage, not even those most interested in Aella, ever even paused to consider asking her how she and her town fought the Forbidding. After all, she grew up fighting it, yet they treat her like she is helpless and useless against something that the party members at large have little to no experience with anyways. Aella herself, while her own person, also had me flashing parallels to Allie Hunter from Ms. Wilson’s previous series, Tangled Fae - both young women are capable hunters of the evils stalking their towns, both are getting manipulated by a mysterious man with big secretive plans who (view spoiler)[turn into love interests (hide spoiler)] , both are out of their depth and insist on being so fiercely independent that they often make things worse before they make anything better, and even much of their strength and determination comes from anger about wrongs done to them and their family (Allie “feeds the flames” of her anger to keep herself going, while Aella doesn’t admit it too much but she is quite angry and frustrated as well, emotions which are manifested in her bees in what they are and how they act).    So, while I wish the world-building started a bit earlier and was more clear, it does build up quite nicely, so by the end of this first book I feel more comfortable in this new universe. There is more to all the main characters than meets the eye at first, as well as the Winged Empire, the Forbidding, and the magic of this world. It makes for an adventurous read, and one where the dangers only grow with every new revelation. Yet while I enjoyed it, it was diverting, I wouldn’t quite say I really liked or loved it. It has promise, and an interesting world with some good themes spread in it (see favorite quotes below), and I am intrigued enough to read the next book. I received a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected the contents of my review or rating. Favorite quotes: [“]‘Peace and unity.’ they say, but there is no peace for anyone who won’t bow.” – Chapter 16, page 126/232 (view spoiler)[[“]So, by tonight I want you to tell me what you want to live for. What the great purpose of your suffering and your hard work and dreaming is going to be. Okay? You’re going to suffer. You already have, and you will suffer more. That’s life. It’s as inevitable as it is tragic. The key is to accept that and then find meaning despite it. Or maybe because of it. Give me an answer about what kind of purpose could make all of that worth something.” – Chapter 19, page 148/232 [“]The truth is the only power there is. It’s the only true way to ever be free.” – Chapter 21, page 162/232 People who didn’t understand what wealth was couldn’t be trusted to have any sense at all. – Chapter 25, page 185/232 To find someone – anyone – who might offer that kind of devotion after being ripped away from my family was so tempting. It offered to fill a lonely hole in my heart. But that wasn’t fair to him. It would be using him for myself. All he’d get from it would be pain. – Chapter 30, page 208/232 We were owned by no one but the ones we loved and I would do anything necessary to keep them safe and keep them alive. – Chapter 32, page 222/232 (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kitcatscratch

    I am STILL on a Sarah K.L. Wilson reading kick. After reading Fly with the Arrow (which AFTER reading the book I think goes down as one of the most awesome titles of a book ever) and then the Fae Hunter series, I had to read more. It's interesting watching her writing grow over time. I think she's always been an excellent story teller but if you read her more recent works, the stories start much more smoothly and continue without stumbling to the end. I confess that I have not read a lot of fant I am STILL on a Sarah K.L. Wilson reading kick. After reading Fly with the Arrow (which AFTER reading the book I think goes down as one of the most awesome titles of a book ever) and then the Fae Hunter series, I had to read more. It's interesting watching her writing grow over time. I think she's always been an excellent story teller but if you read her more recent works, the stories start much more smoothly and continue without stumbling to the end. I confess that I have not read a lot of fantasy in my life. I think I read more sci-fi than fantasy so I am not someone who can say how original a storyline or world building is. I can only say that for me, the author has a true knack for really fleshing out these worlds where the magic is inhospitable at best and downright murderous at the worst. I have also really enjoyed how she portrays the main female characters in her stories. The one thing they all seem to have in common is, quite simply, a good heart. They love and are loyal. The conflict often comes in that others get hurt in their single minded quest to save one person at the expense of others. Or in the case of Allie in "Fae Hunter," she tries to save everyone and ends up barely able to save anyone. Also, that they are not always the most practical or smartest person in the room. It's rare that I've read a book where the heroine is someone you both like and root for but also get so angry and irritated with. But, for me at least, I can't hate them for it! Another thing that I REALLY love about her characters, not just the female ones, is that the races are all varied. You have pale, freckled women with red hair; women with ebony skin and bushy hair; men who are bald and dark skinned or pale and blond. I love that it's simply what it is and there's this beauty that is found in each person, even for those whose exterior may not match. Back to this series "Empire of War and Wings." Fascinating world building where a dangerous magic, the Forbidding, crawls across the land, twisting the very fabric of reality. Where the inhabitants of the Forbidding free lands are at war with each other in a brutal battle to conquer or to be free. Then there are those persons who occasionally manifest magic and are immediately absorbed into the empire but only if that magic is what is approved. Any unapproved manifestations are considered abominations and the person made to alter their magic or die. All of the characters are fascinating but I am going to say that hands down, the villain of the piece, Juste Monpetit, is probably one of the creepiest villains I've ever read. As his madness grows throughout the series, not only are his actions reprehensible but they become more and more erratic. Also, the fact that this brutal conqueror can command such intense loyalty from his people in spite of his insane actions feels too much like modern day politics. Oh, and let's not forget his creepy obsessive behavior towards our heroine. I won't spoil it but there are a few scenes in particular later in the series that really manages to make your skin crawl without, strangely enough, being actually depicted. It's more what he says and the way he says it than what he does that will make you squirm in discomfort. Which all goes to show you the power of words! Overall, a 4 star series that dragged around book 4 but then I would say the last book was actually a 5 star read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Seraphia

    Sting Magic is the first book Sarah K.L. Wilson's new series and I was swept away into a unique new world where there is literally danger at every turn and the main character finds herself in a huge fight for her life and those that she cares about. Sting Magic is truly a thrill ride from beginning to end. Aella is the main character in this book and she has a lot of spunk to say the least. She desires to protect her family, but when the crown prince royal makes a sudden appearance in their villa Sting Magic is the first book Sarah K.L. Wilson's new series and I was swept away into a unique new world where there is literally danger at every turn and the main character finds herself in a huge fight for her life and those that she cares about. Sting Magic is truly a thrill ride from beginning to end. Aella is the main character in this book and she has a lot of spunk to say the least. She desires to protect her family, but when the crown prince royal makes a sudden appearance in their village...all of their lives are are put at risk. He takes from them in the name of peace, threatens the lives of her family and children, and then leaves them defenseless against the Forbidding that lurks and slinks through the land devouring it and reclaiming it for its own. Aella dreamed at times of Hatching, but upon seeing the cruelty of the Prince...she'd rather die. But she does Hatch...and it's not a bird. Now she is the property of this cruel man and if she rebels her family's lives are a stake. This book is so hard to put down and I enjoyed most of it. I love the world building and the flashbacks are really teasing as they give you hints at other moments in time, but not enough to truly understand all that is going on. I'm really hoping that there will be more in the next book. I hate to say it but Aella really tries my patience...and from the book I'm not the only one. Haha! She wants revenge for her family and what they have suffered. I understand that, but I can't help but feel that she's selfish in her actions. She's been TOLD the consequences but yet she persists. She knows that all it takes is ONE bird with a message, but yet she has the arrogance in her heart to think that she can somehow beat a bird back to her village. I'm disappointed that she doesn't use her head much at all in this book. I kept waiting for the warnings and hints to get through to her but it's like it goes in one ear and out the other. I'm not saying that I would yield in her position, but I'd bide my time and wait instead of just attacking and thinking "Oh well maybe they'll think he was killed by accident." I truly did enjoy this book, but I found Aella to be a character who made it hard not to want to yowl at her hard headedness. I felt that her actions were more selfish than about protecting her family. I think you'll understand when you read this book, and I really do encourage you to read it because it's a truly fascinating story. I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm hopeful that Aella would get some sense in the next book now that...she's had a taste of what she's in store for if she doesn't. If you enjoy thrilling fantasy novels then this book is a must read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lana

    In the Winged Empire birds were revered, and those who hatched got their own spirit bird and could wield ancient magical powers, however those who never hatched were powerless in this tyrannical empire. Aella and her family lived in the Far Stones, on the very edge of the empire, where their lives were dominated by the forbidding which they had to battle with day and night in order to survive and Aella was one of the best to battle the forbidding. Only one young girl had hatched from their islan In the Winged Empire birds were revered, and those who hatched got their own spirit bird and could wield ancient magical powers, however those who never hatched were powerless in this tyrannical empire. Aella and her family lived in the Far Stones, on the very edge of the empire, where their lives were dominated by the forbidding which they had to battle with day and night in order to survive and Aella was one of the best to battle the forbidding. Only one young girl had hatched from their island ever, until the day that they were visited by the Crown Prince himself and all his wings and claws. They had come to witness the hatching which was due on the following day, and Aella hatched, however she did not hatch a bird. What she hatched was considered to be blasphemous by some, but seen as a form of rebellion by others. Could she be the one mentioned in the prophecy of old? She definitely had hatched something which carried her exact traits and temperament. They both refused to be caged and were defiant and Osprey thought she could be a symbol for a new age different to the world dominated by birds. I found this book exceptional right from the start, the main characters of Aella and Osprey and Ivo to be rebellious and courageous to a fault. They are all rooting for freedom and to save those they love but Osprey is blood bound to the cruel Prince, thus though desperate for freedom his bind makes him save Le Majest, every time. Will the time ever be right to do what is necessary? I cannot wait to read book 2 in this very exciting and gripping tale as I am a real sucker for a revolution and boy has the Empire a hell of a revolution brewing on its horizon!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    Sting Magic was a pleasant surprise for this reader right here. Aella lives in the Outer Reach of the Winged Empire, a world where those who harness the magic of mystical birds are revered and the common people are trampled under foot by the emperor and his heir: Le Majest. When Le Majest and his forces come and rob Aella and her family of their weapons needed to fight back The Forbidding darkness that consumes her land, Aella finds herself and her family on the brink of revolution. But when her Sting Magic was a pleasant surprise for this reader right here. Aella lives in the Outer Reach of the Winged Empire, a world where those who harness the magic of mystical birds are revered and the common people are trampled under foot by the emperor and his heir: Le Majest. When Le Majest and his forces come and rob Aella and her family of their weapons needed to fight back The Forbidding darkness that consumes her land, Aella finds herself and her family on the brink of revolution. But when her Hatching goes awry and a strange new magic is revealed, Aella finds herself as the property of Le Majest. Determined to protect her family and pay back Le Majest his cruelty, Aella soon finds allies in the proverbial hornet's nest, and discovers that revolution is much closer to Le Majest than she ever knew. I enjoyed this book a lot. I really loved the magic system here. The idea of people being able to harness mystical birds was really cool, and I loved how Aella's magic worked as well. In that regard, the world-building is pretty well thought out and imagined. I liked Aella's character a lot: her love for her family and the rage at injustice that drives her is something that makes her stand out. She is very resilient despite the things taken from her and those who oppose her. Sting Magic is an action-packed adventure with unique magic, a forbidden attraction and a fierce heroine that is a testament to resilient in the face of hardship and injustice, and that such relentlessness is an act of rebellion all its own. Thank you to the author for the ARC!

  13. 5 out of 5

    C.K. Beggan

    Note: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review (via a limited-time giveaway on the author's mailing list). Sting Magic, the first book in the new Empire of War and Wings series, has typos and flaws, and it's also a true page-turner. There are three reasons for that: world-building, a unique magic system, and the fact that it is never boring. Sting Magic is a shorter novel that moves at a brisk pace. The cozy but disgruntled domestic scenes at the beginni Note: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review (via a limited-time giveaway on the author's mailing list). Sting Magic, the first book in the new Empire of War and Wings series, has typos and flaws, and it's also a true page-turner. There are three reasons for that: world-building, a unique magic system, and the fact that it is never boring. Sting Magic is a shorter novel that moves at a brisk pace. The cozy but disgruntled domestic scenes at the beginning are the closest it ever gets to slow, plus the “let me barge in and spend a long time asserting my authority even though I clearly have other houses to get to” encounter with the cruel prince that immediately follows it. The latter scene could have been more concise and still left the reader wanting to punch Juste Montpetit if given the chance. He's pure villain, but it works. Aella is more reactive than anything, and replies angrily to her captors when I would've expected a brooding, calculating silence, given her goals. She's a contradiction that way, flying off the handle despite repeatedly being told she could endanger her family, the absolute last thing she wants. She doesn't read like a person with a hot temper, either, so I was relieved when she finally did something proactive toward her goal. The magic system and world-building of Sting Magic are, of course, superb. I wished the writing was a bit more polished, but the interesting world Wilson created has me hooked. I'll have a longer review of Sting Magic on my website tomorrow.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Topsues

    This is another compelling start to a new series by Sarah.K.L.Wilson. “Sting Magic” pushed me forward with anxiety, dread and hope as I felt each and every emotion radiating from the pages from this new unbelievable world and it’s characters. Aella the main m/c has to endure the worst of times, so extraordinary as to seem impossible. Her security, family and dignity changed overnight bringing her to her knees with cataclysm grief as she was forced into a new life, with only the confusion of bees This is another compelling start to a new series by Sarah.K.L.Wilson. “Sting Magic” pushed me forward with anxiety, dread and hope as I felt each and every emotion radiating from the pages from this new unbelievable world and it’s characters. Aella the main m/c has to endure the worst of times, so extraordinary as to seem impossible. Her security, family and dignity changed overnight bringing her to her knees with cataclysm grief as she was forced into a new life, with only the confusion of bees and an ally who wants her to trust him, but how can an illusive ally betray her and ally himself with her worst enemy ever going to gain her trust? This powerful storyline is about a young girls battles on a magical, dangerous, deadly Island which she has lived on all her life, having to combat with it daily to survive each and every new day. Now she is forced into servitude for The Crown Prince of the winged empire and his forces who believes bee’s are an aberration to the natural order of evolution & insisting she faces changing their existence or her life. Can she find her own ally, friend or way home ? The ending was extraordinarily great in size, extent and degree with tears of regret and all feelings of hope for Aella gone. I can’t wait for book.2. to see what’s going to happen next, until then I will have to continue biting my nails as I’m left on the massive amount of tenterhooks and anxiety this imaginary, fantastical 5* plus new start to this series invoked in me

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy (The Avid Reader)

    When I read the summary for Sting Magic I didn’t know quite what to expect but one thing I did know was that I had to read it. The summary mentions that she has the wrong kind of magic. Wrong kind of magic I was like well what is the wrong kind of magic? But then I was like what is the right kind of magic? I didn’t know but I had to find out. Sting Magic is a great introduction to a brand new world of magic with a big twist on the magic. Sting Magic is a thrilling read that had me in suspense fro When I read the summary for Sting Magic I didn’t know quite what to expect but one thing I did know was that I had to read it. The summary mentions that she has the wrong kind of magic. Wrong kind of magic I was like well what is the wrong kind of magic? But then I was like what is the right kind of magic? I didn’t know but I had to find out. Sting Magic is a great introduction to a brand new world of magic with a big twist on the magic. Sting Magic is a thrilling read that had me in suspense from beginning to end. The world-building is astonishing. When I read the part where Aella hatched and her magic was revealed I did a little mental dance. I loved it. I was hooked then as I was eagerly awaiting to see what happened next. I loved all the characters or at least most of them as there were some that I did not care for at all. But I did like Aella as she was so honest and she had a heart of gold even if she was a little on the naive side. Aella just wanted to save her family and her home so bad that she just never stopped to look at the big picture. I am waiting anxiously to see what happens in Hive Magic book two in the Empire of War and Wings series has in store for Aella and the rest of the crew. If you are looking for new series with a new twist on magic then I would like to suggest that you give Sting Magic a try. One-click your copy of Sting Magic today to begin this epic adventure!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Wilson

    I read a lot of books I like, and a lot of books I love. But it’s rare that a book becomes an insta favorite within the first few pages. I've been intrigued by this book since the author revealed the cover and when she offered the book to her newsletter subscribers I quickly grabbed it up. I'm so happy I did. Wilson immediately transports the reader in the world and mind of Aella and her family’s fight against the strange Forbidding magic. Just one scene in and I was hooked. The juxtaposition be I read a lot of books I like, and a lot of books I love. But it’s rare that a book becomes an insta favorite within the first few pages. I've been intrigued by this book since the author revealed the cover and when she offered the book to her newsletter subscribers I quickly grabbed it up. I'm so happy I did. Wilson immediately transports the reader in the world and mind of Aella and her family’s fight against the strange Forbidding magic. Just one scene in and I was hooked. The juxtaposition between the wild danger of Aella’s homeland and the refined danger of the Empire is exquisite. Both can be dangerous, and both are cruel. And their clash against each other is devastating. What takes this book from great and launches it into the stratosphere of the best books I’ve ever read is the characters, in particular the main character Aella. She has such a strong voice it takes my breath away. I felt like I was right in the story with her. I felt her love for her family, every frustration and every bit of fury. It made me want to drop into the story and fight alongside her. Every little detail in this book leaves me wanting to know more. I want to overturn every rock and uncover everything about this world that Sarah K. L. Wilson has created. I’m totally fangirling over this book and I can’t wait to read the next one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Aella lives in the Forbidding area on the edge of the Winged Empire. She is the second youngest of ten children and deeply loves her large, close-knit family. The Forbidding is filled with dark magic and its occupants fight daily to keep their homes safe. The occupants stay because there they are far away from and mostly free of the cruel ruling monarch of the Winged Empire, Le Majest. The Crown Prince and his group of elite soldiers called Claws show up the day before the Hatching, the day that Aella lives in the Forbidding area on the edge of the Winged Empire. She is the second youngest of ten children and deeply loves her large, close-knit family. The Forbidding is filled with dark magic and its occupants fight daily to keep their homes safe. The occupants stay because there they are far away from and mostly free of the cruel ruling monarch of the Winged Empire, Le Majest. The Crown Prince and his group of elite soldiers called Claws show up the day before the Hatching, the day that young adults with the ability, have their magic awakened and are taken to serve the Empire. I won't reveal more so as not to spoil the story. I'll just say that Aella quickly learns to fear and hate the Prince. Her magic hatches from the depths of her frustration and is called an abomination. Yet she is still taken away to serve Le Majest. This story was a bit darker than what I normally read, but what happens to the main character Aella and her family, the unlikely allies she meets and the overall arc of the story were so compelling that I literally couldn't put it down. I carried my Kindle around all day to finish it and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I loved this first book in a new series. Aella and her family live in a far-flung part of the empire, where there is a constant battle with dark magic in the form of twisted growth. The growth consumes everything and everyone in its path. To farm, it is a constant battle to keep the area cleared of this danger. On occasion visitors from the empire come to see if any of the young people show magic when tested by the magic users. They are supposed to manifest a bird of some sort. Aella didn't want I loved this first book in a new series. Aella and her family live in a far-flung part of the empire, where there is a constant battle with dark magic in the form of twisted growth. The growth consumes everything and everyone in its path. To farm, it is a constant battle to keep the area cleared of this danger. On occasion visitors from the empire come to see if any of the young people show magic when tested by the magic users. They are supposed to manifest a bird of some sort. Aella didn't want to manifest anything, as it would take her away from her family. Unfortunately, magic manifested, but not in the usual way. She produced a swarm of angry bees. She was taken anyway and told she had better make the bees go away and produce a bird instead. Aella didn't know how to do this, and she came to the decision that she didn't want to change them. Her family was used as a threat to keep her in line, but it only made her more angry. She gained allies in the strangest places. Hopefully she could stay alive long enough to do what they hoped she could.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Genelle Themann

    A hard but happy life was all that Aella knew, and she liked it that way. Suddenly her life was thrown aside when the Imperial army of the Winged Empire showed up at her family home. Under the command of the son of the Emperor, the army was ruthless, evil and destructive. They were merely the harbinger of the evil yet to come. At the "Hatching" ceremony the next day, Aella was chosen by the hatching but what emerged from the hatching was not the baby bird that was expected. And things went downh A hard but happy life was all that Aella knew, and she liked it that way. Suddenly her life was thrown aside when the Imperial army of the Winged Empire showed up at her family home. Under the command of the son of the Emperor, the army was ruthless, evil and destructive. They were merely the harbinger of the evil yet to come. At the "Hatching" ceremony the next day, Aella was chosen by the hatching but what emerged from the hatching was not the baby bird that was expected. And things went downhill from there. This was such a great story with twists and turns that would make a normal person air sick. The descriptions of the country side were so descriptive that I thought it sounded like a great place to visit. That is, until the Forbidding made its appearance. Talk about totally creepy!! I received an ARC of the book but I am posting this review because this is an amazing story. I can't wait until Book 2 makes its appearance. Hurry PLEASE!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary T

    Spell binding It had been seven years since the Hatching last occured when someone in Aella's area of Far Stones had been manifested. An Imperial Wing would attend this years ceremonies and new manifestors could only hatch under their guidance. Le Majest and his Claws break into Aella's home, take all their weapons that they use to kill the Forbidden, the scourge of their land and threaten the lives of the whole family. The next day at the ceremony Aella is the last tested and the only one to manif Spell binding It had been seven years since the Hatching last occured when someone in Aella's area of Far Stones had been manifested. An Imperial Wing would attend this years ceremonies and new manifestors could only hatch under their guidance. Le Majest and his Claws break into Aella's home, take all their weapons that they use to kill the Forbidden, the scourge of their land and threaten the lives of the whole family. The next day at the ceremony Aella is the last tested and the only one to manifest but not a bird ...a bee! Aella's life takes a dramatic turn at this point as she as to leave home and all her actions can and will effect the life and well being of her family. This is a very good story from the start and I hope the next part will be as exciting. I received complimentary early copy of this book from the author and am looking forward to the next book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ann O'Nymos

    Another fabulous series by Sarah K. L. Wilson. If you like her Dragon Rider series you will love this one. And if you haven't read them you will still love this one if you like: - Reluctant heroine fighting for the good course - Magic that manifests in spirit animals (who doesn't love an animal sidekick? And who would have thought bees can be so cute??) - Strange dark magic holding a twisted grip on the world - Fighting an evil empire for freedom of the people - A mysterious handsome young man - Another fabulous series by Sarah K. L. Wilson. If you like her Dragon Rider series you will love this one. And if you haven't read them you will still love this one if you like: - Reluctant heroine fighting for the good course - Magic that manifests in spirit animals (who doesn't love an animal sidekick? And who would have thought bees can be so cute??) - Strange dark magic holding a twisted grip on the world - Fighting an evil empire for freedom of the people - A mysterious handsome young man - Some loveable allies found on the way - Characters that feel real and are likeable, well, and some despicable - A new magic world built perfectly with its own symbols, prophecies and landscape Can't wait to follow Aella and her bees in the next book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reena

    Highly engrossing read!!! A highly engrossing and addictive read, with a unique fantasy world and magic system. The world building is amazing and builds slowly with every page. The characters -both main and secondary- are extremely well developed and the storyline full of unexpected plot twists. There's a romance subplot, as well as the mystery of the Forbidding, the strange magical entity that threatens to take over the world. And let's not forget the Crown Prince, who thinks that the world is h Highly engrossing read!!! A highly engrossing and addictive read, with a unique fantasy world and magic system. The world building is amazing and builds slowly with every page. The characters -both main and secondary- are extremely well developed and the storyline full of unexpected plot twists. There's a romance subplot, as well as the mystery of the Forbidding, the strange magical entity that threatens to take over the world. And let's not forget the Crown Prince, who thinks that the world is his private playground, and the rebels hiding within his ranks, awaiting for an ancient and yet obscure prophecy to come true. Intrigued yet? Grab "Sting Magic" and discover a whole new fantasy world full of magic, action and adventure!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    The Mysterious Reader

    I have adored prior series by Sarah K.L. Wilson but somehow missed this latest one, Empire of War & Wings . Once I heard of it I latched onto both Sting Magic (Book 1) and Hive Magic (Book 2). I fully expected to pace myself but I found I simply could not. Wildly imaginative, superbly written and filled with perfectly built characters I got totally invested in. How could I possibly not get addicted? No surprise that I ended up binge reading through both books. Totally yummy even though I ended u I have adored prior series by Sarah K.L. Wilson but somehow missed this latest one, Empire of War & Wings . Once I heard of it I latched onto both Sting Magic (Book 1) and Hive Magic (Book 2). I fully expected to pace myself but I found I simply could not. Wildly imaginative, superbly written and filled with perfectly built characters I got totally invested in. How could I possibly not get addicted? No surprise that I ended up binge reading through both books. Totally yummy even though I ended up with maybe an hour of sleep last night. I miss the sleep but it was worth it for the reading “high”. Highly recommended? Absurdly so - but beware of the addictive aspect and leave yourself with plenty of time to read these wonderful new stories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Sagen

    I received an early copy of this book from the author and here are my thoughts after reading... A fabulous start to what promises to be an awesome new series from Sarah K.L.Wilson! A new and unique magic system where people *hatch* their manifestations of birds while the MC, against tradition manifests bees! Who saw that coming?! A corrupt empire who take whatever and whoever they feel like and characters who want to fight back and regain their independence. A new world described in enough detail I received an early copy of this book from the author and here are my thoughts after reading... A fabulous start to what promises to be an awesome new series from Sarah K.L.Wilson! A new and unique magic system where people *hatch* their manifestations of birds while the MC, against tradition manifests bees! Who saw that coming?! A corrupt empire who take whatever and whoever they feel like and characters who want to fight back and regain their independence. A new world described in enough detail that you can feel like you're there beside the characters. Love it! Cant wait to see where this story goes in the next book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philicia Parkin

    Aella is my hero! "Be relentless" is my new catchphrase! Her never give up, never say die, fight for what is right and what she loves is easy to get behind. The beginning of this story is so frustrating because you have to endure Aella suffering one injustice after another before she finally and epically accepts her bees! And let me just say her bees are AWESOME! So freaking multitalented! This story is also not a true cliffhanger in the sense that it has an open ending (meaning you know there is Aella is my hero! "Be relentless" is my new catchphrase! Her never give up, never say die, fight for what is right and what she loves is easy to get behind. The beginning of this story is so frustrating because you have to endure Aella suffering one injustice after another before she finally and epically accepts her bees! And let me just say her bees are AWESOME! So freaking multitalented! This story is also not a true cliffhanger in the sense that it has an open ending (meaning you know there is more to the story but at the same time this part has a conclusion {I hope that made sense}) With that said I am dying to know what happens next! I can't wait for the next book Hive Magic

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clairisa

    What a great book full of unique magic and great a fantasy world full of mystery. I especially loved the magic system of the hatching and their manifestation into the different kinds of birds that match their manifestor or hatchling. But Aella has a different kind of magic that's actually bees that doesn't fit into this world. She's taken from her family by the crown prince and desperately tries to find ways to go back to them. Then there's the Wing/Guardian Osprey who wants her to join him on a What a great book full of unique magic and great a fantasy world full of mystery. I especially loved the magic system of the hatching and their manifestation into the different kinds of birds that match their manifestor or hatchling. But Aella has a different kind of magic that's actually bees that doesn't fit into this world. She's taken from her family by the crown prince and desperately tries to find ways to go back to them. Then there's the Wing/Guardian Osprey who wants her to join him on a mysterious mission. There are a lot of great characters and I look forward to reading the next book to see what happens to them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nance

    First of all, I would like to thank the author for the early review copy. Here is my honest review: I loved this book! Sting Magic is a great start to this new series by Sarah K.L. Wilson. In this amazing new world magic usually manifests from its bearers as a bird but in one person, Aella, it comes as an angry swarm of bees. Aella is now property of the Winged Empire and will have to learn to control her magic to protect herself and those she loves. This story drew me in right from the start and First of all, I would like to thank the author for the early review copy. Here is my honest review: I loved this book! Sting Magic is a great start to this new series by Sarah K.L. Wilson. In this amazing new world magic usually manifests from its bearers as a bird but in one person, Aella, it comes as an angry swarm of bees. Aella is now property of the Winged Empire and will have to learn to control her magic to protect herself and those she loves. This story drew me in right from the start and kept my attention right to the end. I look forward to reading the next in this great new series!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Hampton

    Exciting, exhilarating, captivating and on the move book with great storytelling! A book that has to be read and enjoyed. A Ruler that conquers all and believes some people have magic and can hatch a bird. But one girl, Aella, hatched bees and the conqueror wanted her to be able to control them. The birds are an extension of the person that hatched it. Then there was the Forbidding ground cover that killed anyone in its path. Watch out the conqueror is coming to wipe out your village. Can 't wai Exciting, exhilarating, captivating and on the move book with great storytelling! A book that has to be read and enjoyed. A Ruler that conquers all and believes some people have magic and can hatch a bird. But one girl, Aella, hatched bees and the conqueror wanted her to be able to control them. The birds are an extension of the person that hatched it. Then there was the Forbidding ground cover that killed anyone in its path. Watch out the conqueror is coming to wipe out your village. Can 't wait for the next book! Good reading for all ages.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richard Goodrum

    I find Aella to be a strong, interesting but naïve character in a rather vile world. The life lessons forced on her are even more harsh than the world first appears. Lots of action and plenty of tension. I feel that this story ends poorly. I can only say that I expect things will pick up through the series based on my experience reading other stories by this author. Action-packed. Great world building. Haunting. Scary. Tragic. Twisted. Unpredictable. Wonderful characters. I received a copy of this I find Aella to be a strong, interesting but naïve character in a rather vile world. The life lessons forced on her are even more harsh than the world first appears. Lots of action and plenty of tension. I feel that this story ends poorly. I can only say that I expect things will pick up through the series based on my experience reading other stories by this author. Action-packed. Great world building. Haunting. Scary. Tragic. Twisted. Unpredictable. Wonderful characters. I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author. This is my honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wanda Jewell

    I LOVED this book! When I first read the blurb I wasn't sure if it was my cup of tea, I mean, after all, BEES? But after I started reading the book, I COULD NOT put it down. If you liked Sarah Wilson's previous books, you will like this one. It is a new world. She has done an excellent job on the world building and the characters are fantastic! They are relatable and realistic with their reactions. There are twists and turns in the plot of the story. All in all, I think that anyone who likes fan I LOVED this book! When I first read the blurb I wasn't sure if it was my cup of tea, I mean, after all, BEES? But after I started reading the book, I COULD NOT put it down. If you liked Sarah Wilson's previous books, you will like this one. It is a new world. She has done an excellent job on the world building and the characters are fantastic! They are relatable and realistic with their reactions. There are twists and turns in the plot of the story. All in all, I think that anyone who likes fantasy stories will love this one and I highly recommend it.

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