Title: The Aureate Spectacles (was published under Midnight Engagement before)
Author: Eliott McKay
Publication date: January 4th, 2017 (original publication date: January 28th, 2013)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
POV: 3rd person
Number of pages: 372
Where you can find this book: Amazon
Would you sacrifice your people for the man you love?
Michaela was a seemingly normal high school senior, hiding behind a pair of hideous spectacles which masked her true identity. When she’s abducted by an intriguing werewolf, she learns that her father was a powerful vampire, and she has been chosen to protect his city from her predatory kin. As the situation grows dire, the fate of the city rests in her hands, and she must choose between peace for her people or the man she’s growing to love.
Michaela has lived with her Aunt Hazel for as long as she could remember. Her parents were killed in a hiking accident when she was around 3 years old and Hazel had raised her since. Hazel was a very cold, very uncaring person who ignored Michaela unless she absolutely had to pay attention to her. It was a very lonely existence made even more so by the fact that Michaela has to wear hideous, rhinestone encrusted, yellow lenses spectacles. When she finally asked Aunt Hazel why she had to wear the glasses (at the age of 7 1/2), Hazel replied
It’s because you have a rare disease,” said Aunt Hazel, emphasizing the last worked with a double measure of disdain, “which causes your eyes to need extra protection from the light.” And Aunt Hazel made as if to turn back to her article then paused with a second thought. “And if you stop wearing them, you might go blind.
Michaela, at the age of 7 1/2, could tell that Aunt Hazel’s explanation was full of it. At a later date, she broke her glasses during a game of field hockey and the school nurse told her that the eyewear was no more protective than a drop of honey. Which just reinforced what Michaela thought.
The glasses were a bane of her existence. The older she got, the more gaudy, the more hideous the glasses got. She was bullied relentlessly and had no friends. By the time Michaela was almost 18, she had somewhat resigned herself to her life until she found a pocket watch with a miniature portrait of a beautiful dark-haired woman in it.
The portrait made her feel loved and filled by looking at it. During this time, she started having dreams of a mossy pond in a courtyard of stone and a voice that called her name, Kayla. She would also hear a song that she couldn’t quite catch and would hum the song. But once she realized what she was doing, the song would disappear.
Then there came the night that Aunt Hazel woke up Michaela from a nightmare. One where she was talking French (something that she learned she was fluent in when she was in 8th grade) and calling for Conrad. During Aunt Hazel’s interrogation, I guess you could call it that, the pocket watch was discovered and Aunt Hazel went nuts.
Long story short, Aunt Hazel freaked out on Michaela. She fitted her with what Michaela considered a dog muzzle with straps coming out of it. That apparatus was to hold the glasses in place while Michaela slept. Aunt Hazel also upped up security around the house to an almost insane pitch. She even went as far as to board up Michaela’s windows, make it so the door locked from the outside only and was outfitted with a triple lock. Michaela had no idea why but she believed that it had something to do with why she had to wear those ugly glasses all the time.
She ends up making a break for freedom after Hazel takes to locking her in her room. Getting rid of the spectacles, she is a hit at school. After school, as she is walking down the street, she runs into a mysterious young man whom she feels that she knows and who definitely knows more than he is letting on.
Returning home, she finally has the confrontation with Hazel that was a long time coming. She learns that her mother had sent her to Hazel, believing that she would be safer with Hazel and the man who delivered Michaela to Hazel told her that she would be safer if her eyes were hidden and faked Michaela’s death. Michaela is able to pry out her mother’s name, Marguerite, and her father’s name, Julian. Hazel also told her that her last name was fake. Instead of Morley, it was Mohrlock. Hazel also implies that Julian is still alive.
The next day, at lunchtime, Michaela was whisked away (via the mysterious man who repelled down from a helicopter, grabbed her, kissed her and took her back up to the helicopter). After being out of commission for a few (four) days, Michaela wakes up to find herself on a boat in the middle of the Black Sea. What he tells her, stuns her.
She is the heir to a land called Mons Maledictio Ruwa (rough translation: Cursed Mountain of Thunder) and her name is Michaela Alandria de Mohrlock Comptesse. She is the daughter to Julian Philip Benoit de Mohrlock and Marguerite Emmaline Fitzwallis…both deceased.
It is after she arrives at the castle that her adventures begin. After attempting to escape the castle by climbing down the side (and getting stuck), she is put right away into intrigue. Every year, in the 8th month, she goes to a summit with the people who live on the other side of the mountain. They are called the Sylva and they have a shaky treaty with Michaela’s people.
Michaela was a hoot to read and I loved her character. She was loyal, loves deeply and is willing to do anything to protect her people from the Sylva. I loved her misadventures.
Conrad was such a mystery and I really liked how the author drew out Conrad’s secrets. He was also perfect for Michaela.
The romance between Michaela and Conrad was cute to read. Painful in some parts (if you read the book, you will understand exactly what I am referring to) but very cute.
The secondary characters are what made this book. They were very well written and just didn’t fizzle off into the background once their storylines were ended. The author kept them in the story. When the bad things happened in the book, and yes some pretty upsetting things happened, these same secondary characters were right there with Michaela and Conrad.
The end of the book was bittersweet. I wish that there was an epilogue that followed up with the characters. But, with some of the storylines not wrapped up, including the V and W storylines, I do wonder if there will a second book. Because I have questions about certain characters that I would like to see answered.
How many stars will I give The Aureate Spectacles: 4
Why: I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were likable, if not relatable (and I am not talking about the H, V or W storylines….talking about the romance and day-to-day activities that are detailed). I will say that I wanted to smack Aunt Hazel because she was a jerk. Besides my dislike of Hazel, this was a very enjoyable read.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age Range: Teen
Why: No sex (some kissing), mild violence and no language.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**