The World of Linaria is a 6 book high-fantasy series by indie author L.L. McNeil. The first 3 installments are Moroda (2017), Palom (2018) and Amarah (2019), with Isa due to be released in 2020.
“Linaria is a world where dragons are revered as gods, where airships rule the skies, and where war is stirring.
For Moroda, a former Goldstone, her life of luxury ends following her father’s sudden death. When her city is destroyed by a dragon, she and her sister ally with a sky pirate and narrowly escape the carnage – only to find a vigilante from an exhiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before Moroda, too, is forced to submit.
With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren at MCM London Comic Con at both the May and October 2019 shows and purchased her novels direct from her table. You can either catch her at one of the various comic cons she attends throughout the year or through her website. She is such a sweetheart and is very active in the bookish community over on her Instagram. I definitely recommend checking her out!
I loved reading Moroda! It had been a while since I’d read a high-fantasy series and it completely reminded me why I love this genre so much. Linaria is vast and I wanted to be completely immerced in it. Exploring the world alongside Moroda and her sister Eryn was wonderful and seeing them react to new challenges and the ever-developing chaos around them was such a treat. Before picking this series up I’d been on the search for a good pirate fantasy novel but nothing held my interest. One time I spent the best part of an hour scanning the shelves of Forbidden Planet’s London store but I still couldn’t find anything I liked. Turns out a sky pirate story was what I needed! Amarah is the ‘gives no fucks’ badass I’d been dying to read about! All the airship battles in Moroda made me so nervous! I was constantly on the edge of my seat hoping everything would turn out ok and Khanna (Amarah’s airship) would be safe!
The pacing of the story is great with quite a fast flow, just like a real action packed adventure would be. This book is very character driven, which is great and works so well as it really helps to flesh out the world and give it depth and personality. I love the idea of dragons being seen as Gods (because I absolutely LOVE dragons). The role they had to play in the plot was expertly written (don’t worry, I won’t spoil what it is) and the way they interact with magic is pretty cool!
My only minor issue with Moroda was sometimes it is hard to remember who is speaking during large group dialoge. While reading I would think a certain character was speaking then a bit further along I realised it was actually a different character. I feel like there could have been a little bit more variation in how everone spoke, especially since they’re all from different parts of the world and would have different nuances in how they speak, even while speaking the common tounge.
I do feel the world building lacked in places and on completion of the book I still had many questions on the politics and overall structure of the world and it’s people. I hope this is fleshed out a bit more in the books to follow (of which I’m sure are judging me from their perch on my shelves as I write this review). There is more infomation on the wider World of Linaria in the Expanded Companion Guide (which I’ve already reviewed). I do wish more of the world was told by the characters experiencing other location and situations or reflecting on their lives instead of lengthy dialoge about the past.
My favourite characters were Amarah, Kohl and Sapora, which is kinda funny since they’re definitely the characters that clash the most. I think what I like about them is they have a strong sense of self and don’t take anyone’s shit! I can’t wait to see how their futures unfold in the rest of the World of Linaria series! (4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Moroda is 424 pages in length and is currently available in paperback, eBook and audiobook format!