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Her Latent Charm: The Ambience Series by Dana C. Brentson



Date of publication: June 1st, 2023

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Trigger Warning: Slavery, Torture

The Ambience Series:

Her Latent Charm—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N | AbeBooks | Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis:

The nation of Trylia believes that the gift, a force that can alter the world through the intent of the person who wields it, is a myth. The stuff of children’s tales, brought to life only in the imagination.

For Lila, separated from a life she was too young to remember, it’s a confusing power that has set her apart from the family she found. And she is only just beginning to understand it when her home and family are destroyed, and she is captured.

To escape, she unleashes the gift in a destructive wave that also forces a man she doesn’t trust to keep them alive. Bryn won’t survive unless Lila does, and they must flee the wrath of the captors still pursuing her. If they can’t find a way to work together, Lila won’t live long enough to learn more about the gift.

As Lila finds her strength, the gift inside her grows. Unless she can control it, she may be a greater danger than the one at her heels.

First Line:

My fingers brushed canvas sails and rough hempen rope-just out of my frantic reach-as a hurtled toward the deck of my ship.

Her Latent Charm by Dana C. Brentson

Rescued from slavery by her adopted father at a young age, Lila barely remembers her birth family. Her family is the crew and captain of the ship she lives on. When Lila develops a gift that sets her apart from the others and could potentially get her killed, her found family accepts her as is and keeps her safe. But, in a devastating attack by slavers sent to capture her, Lila learns she isn’t the only one with the gift. Desperate to escape, Lila unleashes her power on the boat, which destroys it. While doing that, she also tethers the only man who treated her with kindness to her. Lila must find a way to control and use her power before the evil that killed her family and captured her. Can Lila do it?

I was very intrigued when I read the blurb of Her Latent Charm, but at the same time, I was like, “Haven’t I read similar books like this before?” And yes, I have. But the author put a fresh spin on the found magic/maybe hidden identity trope. That only added to my enjoyment while reading this book.

Her Latent Charm is a medium to fast-paced book set in Trylia. The book’s first half is set mainly at sea, but when Bryn and Lila wash up on shore, they visit various cities and end up at a cabin in a forest on a lake (try saying that three times fast).

There are trigger warnings in Her Latent Charm (besides the violence, blood, and minimal gore). It is:

  1. Slavery: Lila was rescued from a slaver when she was very young (so young that she only remembers smells and brief images). The same slaver attacks Lila’s ship, and Lila is taken captive.
  2. Torture: Lila is tortured while onboard the slaver ship. Derth, another magic user, uses his magic to subdue and keep Lila from her magic. Some of the scenes are graphic.

When I started to read Her Latent Charm, I was thrilled that the author included a map of Trylia at the beginning. I could refer to it while reading. But I wish there was a glossary that explained some of the terms used in the book and another glossary that explained the lore. It would have helped a ton while reading.

The main plotline of Her Latent Charm centers around Lila and her magic. Lila could not control her magic and almost killed herself at the book’s beginning. What interested me was how the crew treated her. Nearly all accepted her, but there were a few that didn’t. The author explained that the Captain fired those who didn’t like Lila’s magic use (there was a flashback where a crew member almost killed Lila and was stopped). As the plotline went on, Lila’s character grew, and so did her magic. It wasn’t until she met Sam that she realized what she was. And it was Sam who started teaching Lila how to control her magic.

The other part of the main storyline centered around Lila, her past, and how her past directly influenced her present. Lila had zero clue about her history. All she remembered was being carried by a slaver onboard a ship, and then she was in the custody of the Captain who raised her. While on the run, she started having flashbacks, but it didn’t explain much. I was frustrated by the lack of background on her. I have my theories about certain people and Lila. But, at the same time, I couldn’t wait to read the next book.

Speaking of Lila, she was your typical teenager until the slaver ship. She had crushes (very bittersweet about Hunter) and loved her family. She also made mistakes, and it was one of her mistakes (well, I don’t know if I would consider it a mistake personally) that led the slavers to her. I wish she could have been a typical teenager for a bit longer in the book. But, I also liked the Lila after the slaver ship. She made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Her interactions with Bryn (through the tether and face-to-face) were fantastic. She wasn’t a big fan of Sam and wasn’t afraid to tell him. By the end of the book, though, she had her stuff together and was willing to do anything to protect her family and friends.

There were a bunch of secondary characters that made this book. The main one for me was Sam. I am interested in him and his background. He was a grump, but his grumpiness was earned. He was very knowledgeable in magic and could teach Lila a ton about how to use (and not use) her powers.

I wouldn’t say I liked the book’s romance/wanna-be love triangle. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good romance in a fantasy book, but this one seemed wrong. Lila and Bryn brought up that maybe their feelings were because of the tether (it wasn’t), but I couldn’t help feeling it was. And when Hunter was reintroduced to the book, I was like, “Oh no, it’s going to go down.” Then it fizzled, and Hunter stepped out of the way!! I wanted him to at least try and fight for Lila. The good thing is that the sex scenes were very clean and nongraphic. They were fade to black sex scenes, so I blessedly didn’t get to read about teenagers doing the nasty.

There is an epic battle towards the end of Her Latent Charm. I was glued to my book during it. I couldn’t get enough of Sam battling Derth!!

The end of Her Latent Charm ended on a cliffhanger. I will not say why or how, but the author didn’t shut down the storylines. Instead, she widened the door and made me want to read book 2!!

I would recommend Her Latent Charm to anyone over 16. There is violence, mild language, and very mild sexual situations.

Many thanks to Dana C. Brentson for allowing me to read and review Her Latent Charm. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

Other books by Dana C. Brentson:

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