The Iron Butterfly Trilogy by Chanda Hahn

Imprisoned, starved and left with no memories, Thalia awakens to find herself at the mercy of an evil cult known as the Septori. Their leader has chosen Thalia as the test subject for a torture device of untold power, designed to change and twist her into something that is neither human nor Denai.

Escaping, Thalia finds an unwilling warrior to protect her and an unlikely Denai to befriend her. After finding a home at the Citadel as a servant, Thalia’s worst nightmare comes to life and she begins to show signs of power. Scared and unable to control her gifts, she tries to hide her past to fit in among the Denai. But the Septori want their latest test subject back and will stop at nothing to retrieve her, dead or alive.

True, 100% fantasy set in a completely different world is very hard to get right, but Chanda Hahn manages to do this brilliantly. In order to have a book like this, you need it to especially interesting, because otherwise us readers will have nothing to relate to. I’m glad to say that this series will not disappoint.

By the way, I’d like to clarify that despite what the blurb says, there is no R rated content.

Something you have got to admire is Thalia’s strength of character. She’s been tortured and starved with no idea who she is, but somehow she remains a strong willed and powerful character without seeming unrealistic. The whole escaped prisoner angle is brought out pretty well, and, morbidly, the occasional relapse into trauma adds a detailed touch. I love how even though she’s endured so much in order to induce submission, she’s still not afraid to snark anyone who insults her or her friends.

Twists and turns throughout the story a add a sense of constant mystery and intrigue. There are also several major plot twists, which though unexpected, are not at all unrealistic. In fact, you learn to expect them all along, and a lot of the time I found myself screaming “I knew there was something wrong with…” Sorry, no spoilers.

The thing about this series is that there’s always something to keep you busy. Whether or not something is relevant to the plot, it always makes you think something, be it “Awww” or “Smooth, Thalia, smooth” or “Okay, that was soooo adorable”. Even if nothing is really happening plot wise, something is always adding to characters or helping sub plots along.

One other important thing to keep note of is that although there is nothing majorly wrong with these, the last book, The Silver Siren, had a complete information overload. I don’t wanna say anything for fear of spoiling, but I feel that the author piled way too much of the plot into the latter half of the book simply because there was no more space left and she wanted to cram it into a trilogy. Some of these revelations could have been spread out over the second book, The Steele Wolf, and that was the only shortcoming.


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