Cerece Rennie Murphy's The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi was published by LionSky Publishing in October 2018.

Information about Cerece Rennie Murphy:

Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry.

She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas – all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed,” Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “The X-Files.”

In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event -a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she beganwriting what would become thebest-selling Order of the Seerstrilogy.  Order of the Seers was selected as one of The Best Kindle Books of 2014 by Digital Book Today.

Cerece lives in herhometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.

Click here to visit her official website.

Information The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi:

To fight for her future, she must first discover the magic of her past

Once great and powerful sorcerers, the Amasiti were hunted to the brink of extinction by the Hir and his followers. For four hundred years, their legacy faded from memory waiting for the hope of Aferi to be renewed...

In the Land of Yet

At the edge of the Forbidden Forest

A young woman lives alone.

Forced to fend for herself after the brutal murder of her family, Ameenah Yemini has made a life for herself as a master tanner and farmer, only venturing into the world to earn her living then return to the safety and seclusion of her home.

Until a chance encounter brings her work to the attention of the powerful Hir.

And her careful life begins to unravel.

Drawn to the hidden magic that lingers in everything she touches, the new Hir insists on having her for himself, using the people around her to force Ameenah into his grasp.

When she realizes that her greatest enemy may hold the key to a secret she thought lost to her forever, Ameenah is determined to reclaim her stolen past. But, at what cost? As an ancient power waits to be unleashed, Ameenah's choices will make the difference between awakening a new magic or delivering it into the hands of evil.

REVIEW: THE WOLF QUEEN: THE HOPE OF AFERI BY CERECE RENNIE MURPHY

Cerece Rennie Murphy's The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi is a welcome and fresh addition to the epic fantasy genre. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and was impressed by the story, because it's a skillfully written tale of magic, hope, survival, independence, identity and freedom that has the power to mesmerise a wide range of readers.

I found this novel to be a rich and rewarding reading experience, because the author has created an immersive story that is filled with details and has plenty of subtext. I was especially taken by the author's way of writing about the world, because she succeeded in creating a rich and vibrant fantasy world that feels alive. She also wrote fluently about the protagonist, Ameenah, whose life is put into turmoil when she is drawn towards an ancient and hidden magic.

Here are a few words about the story:

This novel begins with Aferi, the last sorcerer of Elan, telling about the Amasiti, their way of life and the fall of the city of Elan. This strong prologue paves the way for what is to follow and introduces readers to the fantasy world. After the prologue, the events skip ahead four hundred years and the story centers around a young woman called Ameenah Yemini. Ameenah lives on the edge of the Forbidden Forest and tends to her farm. She also works as a master tanner whose work is adored and respected by tradesmen. One day, a wolf draws her attention to the Forbidden Forest and she enters it. What she encounters there leaves her wondering many things. Soon, she is visited by the evil ruler Hir who becomes interested in her and seems to want her fully for himself...

In fear of revealing major spoilers, I won't write more about what happens in the story, but I can mention that the unfolding story is fascinating and the ending leaves the reader wanting more.

The characterisation works well in this novel, because the author writes fluently about Ameenah and her life. Ameenah is a young woman who finds herself drawn to the hidden magic that lingers around her. She finds out that there are powers in the world that have not vanished, but have been kept hidden. She also has to face the Hir who has his own agendas concerning her.

The author writes intriguingly about the aspects of the story that are connected to Ameenah and the Hir, because Ameenah is not willing to have anything to do with the Hir, because she knows him to be evil, but has to endure certain things despite her feelings. Ameenah's inner struggle is handled well, because she knows that the things she must do may be dangerous.

When I began to read this novel, I noticed that the author writes captivatingly about things related to heritage, past and history. Her interest in history and heritage can clearly be seen in the story, because it's filled with minor details that add depth to the world. It was interesting for me to read about how she wrote about a woman's place in the word, because it reflects how our world has been and still is in some countries.

The worldbuilding is captivating and immersive. The world is based on the culture, language and traditions of the ancient northeast Africa (the African influences can be found throughout the story). The author writes excellently about the Amasiti, their powers and their connection to the God Amalaki. She also does an excellent job at gradually delivering information about the world and maintaining a sense of mystery regarding certain things.

The magic in this novel is fascinating, because the author explores female divinity and elemental magic, and writes about how magic manifests itself in Ameenah's life. The Amasiti have great powers that are connected to nature and all living things. They're healers and can help many people, but their powers can also be used to do evil things. The author's approach to magic feels delightfully mysterious, because she doesn't reveal everything at once.

I give this novel five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it's an original and entertaining fantasy novel. I'll soon read the sequel (The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi), because I want to find out how the story continues.

Cerece Rennie Murphy's The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi is one of the most captivating fantasy novels I've read this year. It's not your normal kind of epic fantasy fiction, but something deeper and more meaningful. Although this novel has easily recognisable epic fantasy elements, it feels fresh and utterly compelling. I sincerely hope that readers will find this novel, because it's something different.

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