Goodreads Summary: I'm not your average girl.
My best friend is my switchblade. My favorite hobby is using it on the cruel, the abusive, and anyone who gets on my bad side. I'm a convicted murderer with a chip on my shoulder and a dangerous lack of restraint.
And then there's Zak.
His rap sheet makes mine look tame. The bounty on his head is worth more money than I'll ever make, and the deadly fae that shadow his every step wield more power than I'll ever know.
He's the Crystal Druid, and his first mistake was setting foot on my turf.
His second was saving my life.
And his final mistake will be failing to realize that however dark, however ruthless, however broken he is…
*Important note: The One and Only Crystal Druid is book one in the 3rd spin-off series in the Guild Codex world. While it stands alone story-wise, I definitely recommend that you read the Spellbound, Demonized, and Warped series in the author's recommended reading order to understand this world... and frankly, this review.*
Background Information: The Guild Codex world originated with the Spellbound series which features main character Tori, a sassy, impulsive ex-waitress who stumbles upon the magical world of the Guild Codex and quickly becomes best friends with three super-hot mages. She meets Zak in book two of her series when she is purposefully kidnapped to capture the murderous rogue... and a mighty ship set sail in the fandom. Tori does not end up with Zak at the end of her eight books. Dedicated fans hoped for a spin-off to see where our beloved druid ends up... and this is book one.
Recommended reading order: https://www.annettemarie.ca/
Bookish Raider Review: Let's just clear the air, okay.
1.) No, this is NOT from Zak's point-of-view. Let that sink it... and now let it go. I am actually glad for this choice in storytelling. For one, the fun thing about Zak is the mystery around him. We still get that here. But, instead of Zak being a side character that steals the scene... he is the deuteragonist... kind of. I'm not actually sure. I think so... you will see.
2.) Saber Rose is NOT Tori... she is new and different and kind of psycho. I think most people are thinking that Zak's lady love was going to be similar to Tori and be a happy, spunky, sassy chick and that would not be the farthest thing from Saber.
"The real me scared people. I was creepy. I was crazy. I was the psychotic, violent, vengeful girl with a knife and zero compunctions about using it. If we hadn’t been interrupted, I would’ve sung an Irish folk song as I cut out Harvey Whitby’s molars, jagged shards of hate grinding in my chest."
Honestly, I dig her a lot. And while Zak may have befriended Tori and definitely cares about her, I was never on #TeamZak. Tori is what Zak needed at that time of his life. Someone to trust and open him up to deeper relationships. But I did not feel the chemistry and sexual tension like other readers did. So when Saber walked on the page with her bad attitude and violent tendencies, I was like yes! Zak def has a kink and Saber is it.
And now into the book review.
The One and Only Crystal Druid sends us further into the fae and witch side of the Guild Codex world... and I love it. Then again, I am often intrigued by any witchy story so I was already very inclined to enjoy the worldbuilding in the Unveiled series. That said, the story is still unique but also very much still recognizable to the Guild Codex world.
What sets this book apart is the FACT that essentially everyone is a gray character. Saber is not really good... Zak is not really good... we all know that Lallakai, Lady of Shadows, is a certified b*tch... The only one that I love unconditionally is Rikr, Saber's familiar. He is perfection in a shapeshifting white-and-blue small animal form (wink).
For the story, Saber and Zak are essentially thrown together to solve the mysterious murders that are occurring around Saber's hometown. And of course, Saber is quickly accused of being the murderer since she is more than a little rough around the edges and already a convicted felon... so she is understandably anxious to find out what fae is actually responsible.
I don't want to give too many spoilers but THAT ENDING.... Mind Blown. If you aren't sold on this book from the description or guarantee of gray characters and lots of murder, I promise you, it is worth it to get to the ending. I cannot wait for the next book.
All the stars and switchblades for this first book in the Unveiled spin-off series of The Guild Codex.
Favorite Quote: “Taste her again, vulture, and I will shatter your flesh into a thousand shards".
Treasure Found: Saber's blunt cut bangs. I had to constantly remind myself that cutting my bangs is a commitment and I am not ready for that.
Book Boyfriend: Nope, not Zak. It's Rikr. I'm obsessed.