Title Shadowscent The Darkest Bloom
Author P.M. Freestone
Description from Amazon
Across the Aramtesh Empire, scent is everything. Prayers only reach heaven on sacred incense, and perfumes are prized status symbols. 17-year-old Rakel has an uncanny ability with fragrances, but her skills aren’t enough to buy her dying father more time.
Ash bears the tattoos of an imperial bodyguard. When his prince, Nisai, insists on a diplomatic mission to an outer province, Ash is duty-bound to join the caravan. It’s a nightmare protecting Nisai on the road. But it’s even harder for Ash to conceal a secret that could see him exiled or executed.
Rakel and Ash have nothing in common until smoke draws them to a field of the Empire’s rarest flower. Nisai’s been poisoned, flames devour the priceless blooms, and the pair have “suspect” clinging to them like a bad stench. Their futures depend on them working together to decipher clues, defy dangers and defeat their own demons in a race to source an antidote . . . before the imperial army hunts them down.
This was a cover art motivated purchase. It was shiny and pretty and I needed it for my shelf. The description was also quite interesting. I haven’t read anything that revolves around scent so I was curious about how that would be conveyed.
World Building and Descriptions
As a change of pace, everything in this book was described primarily by its smell. Normally, I find that scenes are described by using visual adjectives and occasionally words to describe sounds. But, The Darkest Bloom uses the reader’s sense of smell to illustrate everything.
I personally do not have a strong sense of smell so this was a very strange concept for me. However, even not knowing what a lot of the descriptions actually smell like, I feel like the scenes were illustrated quite well. My nose might not work, but I felt like I could see the scenes from the way the scents were described.
I love the cover of this book. And the spine. So much rose gold foiling everywhere and it’s so pretty. It was a real shame that I cracked the spine a bit when I read it. You can see every bump on the shiny spine now. But, it’s still so pretty. I also love the metallic royal blue accents on the front. Overall, a very pretty paperback.
As always, I need to compliment the alternating POV writing style in this book. It’s my favorite style. I think it give a story richness since the reader can experience the same scenes from multiple angles.
I liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I definitely didn’t dislike it. It’s a good start to a series. It laid a lot of groundwork for more stories to come but the book itself wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t crazy about the semi-cliffhanger ending but since I know there is a sequel, I can let that go. I would continue with this series.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – so many similarities between these books. Setting, characters, overall themes. Gravemaidens hasn’t been released yet, but definitely check it out if you liked The Darkest Bloom.
- We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – If you liked The Darkest Bloom‘s alternating POV style, the setting, and the concept of lost magic, definitely give We Hunt the Flame a try. It is also the start of a series (if you’re not into stand alone novels).
- The Antidote by Shelley Sackier – while I have not read this book yet, I purchased it for many of the same reasons I wanted to read The Darkest Bloom. Magic, royalty, and a crazy pretty cover. I want to think they will be complimentary to each other. Once I read it, I will confirm (but, my gut feeling is if you like one, you will like the other).