Book Review: The Mountains of Sorrow (Elemental Dragons #1)

Howdy Bookworms!

I hope you had a great weekend and plenty of relaxation. Mined was filled with plotting my next short story and grad school assignments, so I won’t bore you with the details.

In between those things, I finished another read. This time I read The Mountains of Sorrow (Elemental Dragons #1) by Iseult Murphy

I just finished catching up on my immediate TBR, and this is the first of three new shorter reads I’ll be doing before delving into the black abyss that is my Kindle and physical bookshelves. I’ve got a LOT of catching up to do!

Over the past few years, I’ve come to truly enjoy Iseult Murphy’s work, so I couldn’t resist jumping into this one. Also, it’s fantasy, which I don’t read enough of these days.

So, how’d I like this one? Keep on reading for the review!



Today Rowan is on a one-way mission to kill the queen.

Rowan is driven by revenge.

She has convinced the other rebels that she wants to assassinate the ruthless queen to end her cruel acts against her subjects, but for Rowan, this suicide mission is personal.
As one of the last remaining wood witches, will her earth magic be strong enough to stop the queen’s star magic?

Argento wants to end the killing.

Desperate to save the country he loves, the former palace guard will do anything to stop the queen, even if he has to work with the enemy.

When the rebels want to use the queen’s star magic against her, Argento has to ask – how far is too far?

United by their common enemy, Rowan and Argento, believer and skeptic, learn that the queen is not the only danger to the kingdom, and if their plan succeeds, they could still fail the country they seek to protect.



***Brief disclosure***

I am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post at no cost to you. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase. 


The Review

I had a lot of fun on this fantasy adventure. There were some really great elements to the story, but some other elements that I wanted a bit more from.

In a nutshell, this novella is about a wood witch named Rowan. Her task is to kill the evil queen Zelda, who rules the land with her corrupting star magic. But when Rowan is intercepted by an unlikely ally, she embarks on a journey that forces her to question everything she knows.

This was a fun, grim fantasy tale. I really liked the bleakness of it. It felt realistic in a fantasy kind of way.

The magic system was great and very unique. I loved all of the descriptions of how she summoned her magic and the sensations that went along with it. Every aspect of this element of the story was wonderful.

I also have to say that I loved Oak and Acorn. So cute!

As a character, I haven’t quite developed a feel for Rowan just yet. I’ve mentioned in other reviews (not for any of Iseult’s works) that a character storyline built on vengeance or revenge is extremely tricky. The emphasis of vengeance can easily block the reader from getting true depth from the character. We did get to understand Rowan’s past and why she is the way she is presently, but I didn’t get a good enough feel for who she is without that driving force.

Now, the good part is that we should get to see her true personality come through in the next book based on what happened, and I look forward to seeing that.

If I had to nitpick at anything else, I’d say that I wanted to see a bit more worldbuilding. We did get some good details about the present location, but I wanted to see things on a grand scale as well. What is the world like outside of this location? Are there warring countries? Is this some kind of last stand for humanity? What other kinds of magic is out there? I’m sure we’ll get to see more of these elements in the next installments, and I look forward to exploring this interesting fantasy world more!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!

Have a great day!


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  1. Good review! I read Mountains of Sorrow. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did because fantasy isn’t my go-to genre. But something really clicked with me; I loved it. The weird creatures, the secret passageways (the secrets!), little Acorn . . . everything!

    • Thanks! Yeah, Ive kinda veered away from fantasy a bit over the years, so I feel you on that.
      I agree. This work really stood out. I was rooting for the elemental Rowan summoned, and I loved all the dragon lore. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

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