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4 Star IHIBRP Book Review: “First Words: Final Lesson” by Shakyra Dunn

A Grand Sense Of Purpose Drives This Fantasy Read!

Expectations and responsibilities are a heavy burden for 10-year-old Leilana Erovina when her elder brother, Ennis, is unable to fulfill his duties as heir to the throne after being stricken by a sudden illness. Leilana’s freedom is restricted even more when she is crowned Princess and—in her brother’s place— becomes leader of Minsura. When she takes it upon herself to follow in her brother’s footsteps and learn forbidden magic, her curiosity leads her to find her homeland destroyed. Leilana is sent off to a sort of boarding school for magical learning to develop her skills under greater constant supervision as Ennis roams the land on a quest for totems that will help him restore the altered destinies of both himself and his sibling.

At first, Dunn’s story seems vague and fragmented in spots, and it’s not clear who the main villain is—or even if there is one—as well as why there is such a grave danger to the characters and their kingdoms. Aside from a few structural issues with the author’s writing, such as fragmented sentences, unfinished statements, and even a hanging paragraph, Dunn’s telling is well-paced. As we follow Ennis’ journey to become a warlord, the complexity if the tale improves vastly.

Dunn elicits strong feelings of support and empathy for her characters, and it is the grand sense of purpose—of fighting for a cause—that becomes the driving force behind this fantasy tale. She easily draws the reader into the plight of her characters as they fight to restore the fallen kingdoms and prevent further damages from occurring. The length of Dunn’s novel is perfect for a pleasant weekend read, and I would recommend this story to fantasy and young adult readers alike. Those who enjoy this story will be pleased to know that the author has left the tale open to a sequel.

Find “First Words: Final Lesson” by Shakyra Dunn on Amazon and Kindle at


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