Rating:

Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Elphame, daughter of the goddess Epona’s Beloved, has always been treated differently by the citizens of Partholon. Born a combination of human, goddess, and centaur, Elphame’s uniquely beautiful figure is met with awe and shock by all she meets. Having never been comfortable with being an object of worship among her mother Etain’s people, Elphame is led by her prophetic dreams to set out on her own and rebuild the castle of her ancestors. Damaged in the war against the Fomorians centuries earlier, the MacCallan Castle requires all the assistance it can get to be restored to its former glory.

With the assistance of her centaur brother Cuchulainn and a small group of followers, Elphame makes the MacCallan Castle her new home. Instead of looking at her through worshipful eyes, the new tenants of MacCallan Castle become the friends that Elphame has always longed for. It is in the surrounding forest that Elphame will meet her destined lifemate, a man damned by the sins of his ancestors, the Fomorians. Like Elphame, Lochlan is of two worlds. Will he fulfill the prophecy that calls for the blood of a dying goddess and end the madness that plagues his people? Or will Lochlan forsake those like him for true love?

First published in 2004 by Luna, P.C. Cast’s coming-of-age story Elphame’s Choice has been beautifully repackaged and marketed toward teens under the Harlequin Teen publishing house. Fans of the House of Night series will undoubtedly be drawn to Elphame’s Choice, which promises “a different world…where the blood-suckers are truly dangerous”.

Elphame’s Choice takes place in the same world as Divine by Mistake (originally published as Goddess by Mistake) and Divine by Choice. Though each book could be enjoyed as a stand alone story, I highly recommend reading the Partholon books in the following order as suggested by goodreads.com: Divine by Mistake, Elphame’s Choice, Brighid’s Quest, Divine by Choice, and Divine by Blood.

Like Cast’s previous works, there are dark themes and adult sexual situations presented throughout the novel that may not be suitable for less mature teen readers. Adults shouldn’t shy away from this book, as I believe it was originally intended for that audience. Cast’s writing style is definitely appealing to younger readers; I especially found her use of foreshadowing in this novel to be too “telling.” When the events foreshadowed finally occurred, there was no element of surprise. For teen readers especially, Elphame’s Choice will be the perfect bridge to Cast’s adult-oriented novels.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harlequin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.