Book Review: Highland Chronicles (Almendra’s Quest #1)

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

Highland Chronicles

Almendra’s Quest #1

Written by Farida Mestek

Genre: Adventure, mystery, and fantasy.

Book Review

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Summary: Almendra Ravenlock, a seventeen-year-old ruler of the Upper Kingdom, has never set foot outside the grounds of the royal castle, believing that beyond its gates lies a deadly curse left behind by the same group of rebels that attacked her kingdom and sent her mother to her early doom fifteen years ago. Isolated from the rest of the realm, with only her cranky granny and her loyal wolf for company, she waits for Prince Frederick of the Lowland Kingdom to come and set her free. There is a prophecy that strongly suggests that he is the one to win her heart and save her kingdom.

However, when an unexpected messenger arrives and tells her that the prince is at the death’s door after an attempt on his life and that she is the only one who can save him, Almendra grabs at the chance to fulfill the prophecy on her own terms. As she travels through the realm with her wolf and her new friend, Almendra unearths a horrifying secret buried deep under the rebels’ lair, discovers that her life and her kingdom are in as much danger from them as ever, and that the prince she is determined to save might not be the one meant to save her or her kingdom after all.

Review: I definitely have a lot to say about this book, beginning from the structure of characters in it. The story centers around Almendra, a High Lady of the Upper Kingdom, locked up inside the castle due to a false belief in a curse. I found Almendra’s character to be unique and different from many cliché princesses I had come across, featuring royalty. She was innocent but smart, brave yet obedient. She lacked arrogance but possessed a sense of pride of suiting a High Lady. Her innate bravery made her interesting, and it could be seen throughout the story. She didn’t let her title meddle with her responsibilities and was always ready to put herself upfront in times of danger. Her way of analyzing life and love was unique too. The following statement proved it so, “…I’m not looking for a marriage of convenience, Joanna! I’m sure it may be enough to help Prince Frederick to hold onto his throne, but it won’t fulfill the fateline, and it certainly won’t save my kingdom!”

The other characters in the book played their roles perfectly in completing her fate. Her grandmother, Lady Mildred, was of the wittiest women that played a huge role in the upbringing of Almendra, and by default, she knew her granddaughter the best.

“I’ll keep in mind everything that you’ve taught me.” “I doubt that very much, Almendra, but I do appreciate the sentiment.” This exchange of dialogue between the two sums up their relationship perfectly well.

Woo, her wolf, and her new friend, Joanna are other characters that deserve appreciation as they accompanied her in her journey as her companions and helped her shape herself and adjust in the outside world.

The plot itself seemed fairly simple on the outside, but as I read the story, I found out it was not so. The twists and turns made it much better, and I was excited to see how Almendra’s lacking experience with the outside world could protect her from the dangers. The book was filled with many surprises and heart touching scenes that illustrated her bond with her loved ones. The writing was highly detailed and did justice to every scene in the book. I was thoroughly immersed in the book because of the elegant style of the author’s writing. I could imagine every plot to perfection, thanks to her powerful narration in the story.

The book was the lengthiest I have ever read. It described each and every action of Almendra throughout the book. However, the book could make do without more than a few scenes and dialogue exchanges: like the repeated narration of revelations and descriptions of every magic used. I also hoped for the journey to begin a lot sooner in the book than it did, which could have been possible without excessive addition of rather unnecessary scenes. The ending was a little abrupt, compared to the whole journey, and Almendra seemed to play a little role than necessary.

After I have completely read and reviewed the book, I give the book four stars out of five.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book, and if you want to read a not so cliché royal historical fiction, with a High Lady owning her destiny, then this is it.

Will I read the next book in the series of Almendra’s Quest? Definitely. There are a lot of amazing riddles in the book that I want to see undone in the next book of the series. I, especially, want to read about Almendra’s development as a High lady of the Upper Kingdom, and how she will be able rule her kingdom, with enemies waiting for their chance to arrive again.

Comment and let me know what you thought of the review, and if you have read the book, share it with me in the comment section.

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