- All or None
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
In a world where everyone has a soulmate, uniquely powerful mage Royiora and reluctant assassin Kalo collide in the worst of ways.
Royiora Daralkaen, the only mage alive able to use all five kinds of magic, has a near idyllic childhood in the country of Porescalia - before war breaks out with their antagonistic neighbors, Kloria.
Kalo Porla, a naturally magic-proof individual known as a Null, is trained to be as an assassin by the authoritarian empire known as the Domain.
When Kalo and his partner assassin are sent to kill a mage and his apprentice, it starts a journey neither man was prepared to begin.
Content warnings: harm to children, physical and psychological abuse, implied (off-page) rape, violence, mature language, minors in implied sexual situations (teenaged romance), implied sexual situations, bigotry towards fictional races, and suggestive language.
Amanda Murello on Indies Today wrote:
A captivating mix of magical mysticism and adventure All or None proves a refreshingly original read with Thornton’s intricate, intrigue-laden fantasy playing to the best in the genre.
There’s certainly much to enjoy here. From clever plotting to the meticulously developed magical lore. It’s the work of a vivid imagination and it’s clear from the start that Thornton is adept at fantasy world-building.
Characters are deftly drawn, substantive and vivid with Thornton quick to bring us into the thick of the action. Steering away from stoic stereotypes, dialogue always feels authentic in tone and tenor, whilst the action is well-paced and plot twists delivered with faultless timing.
These points alone are reasons enough to pick up a copy and begin reading but the best books in this ever-popular genre invariably rise and fall on the strength of their protagonists and here Thornton has pitched it just right with Royiora Daralkaen and Kalo Porla. One a mage and one ‘magic proof’ we follow their converging paths as they come to terms with their true nature and abilities to find themselves set on a perilous mission which will ultimately bring them together.
An enthralling, fast-paced adventure which embraces the fantastical elements of the genre All or None is strongly recommended.
Jessica Babossa on Readers’ Favorite wrote:
Nothing is simply black or white in the high fantasy novel All or None. On one hand there is Royiora Daralkaen. Roy is a young boy filled with magic that he has no idea how to control. When two compassionate mages find Roy on the street, basically a starving orphan, they take him in to care for him and to hone his skills. On the other hand is Kalo Porla. Kalo is a Null, one able to nullify magic, training to be an assassin in a prestigious school. Enemies from birth, these two creatures from wildly different backgrounds prove that we can’t be told who to hate or who to love.
Aurora Thornton has a brilliant imagination and a terrific ability to paint an original fantasy world. Adventure and whimsy abound as two worldviews collide. Many themes are explored, foremost among them, inclusivity. The sexuality of the characters becomes a repetitive theme as they seek comfort and companionship, and search for their soulmates. The end result is a true coming of age story spun with a mythical flair.
All or None is a stunning tale filled with all the magical forces and trues heroes. Anyone interested in LGBT fiction should give consideration to Aurora Thornton.
All or None is the first book of the Star Stories series, written by Aurora Lee Thornton. Royiora is an abandoned, cursed child found by the healer Phalianeon and the battlemage Korila who were passing by. It does not take long for the two adults to confirm that Royiora is not cursed. The boy is a rare, powerful mage who has yet to master control of his powers. Instead of sending him to the Academy to be taught, the two decide to take him in as their own and entrust the boy’s magic learning to their most trusted allies. Meanwhile, in Domain, the authoritarian empire, Healvithi with the power to nullify magic are being trained to be soldiers for the Trinity. Healvithi are individuals with horns and tails. To them, people outside their empire are nothing more than barbarians. Kalo is a special Healvithi Null who can absorb all kinds of magic. He is placed in a dormitory with other talented individuals like him. School starts out fun: he learns new things, meets new people, forms a bond with someone… but the talent of their special Null group is undeniable and it hastens their training. Kalo soon finds that being a powerful Null comes with a price and it was a price he never wanted to pay in the first place.
Aurora Lee Thornton has created an extraordinary fantasy world with All or None. It is a fearless piece of work that breaks stereotypes and exceeds expectations. Thornton delivers a unique setting and a plot that hooks attention from the very first chapter. The book contains captivating characters, each with their own stories and hardships that pull at the heartstrings. As I learned their stories, I got emotionally attached to the main characters and their friends. Even Hult, whom I initially found to be a spoiled brat, grew on me. Kalo and the rest of the special Nulls really went through a lot. I shed tears for all the torment they went through while they were still in school, especially when Kalo was finally allowed to visit home and he felt out of place, unable to tell anyone what was happening to him. During the first half of the book I was eagerly anticipating the meeting between Kalo and Roy. After getting to know them individually, I could tell that together they would be something special, something amazing. However, the path to being together is not easy. Mistakes are made but second chances are given too, not to make things right, but to prove that one day, the person who made the mistake could do better. Kalo and Roy both experience loss, pain, and uncertainty but I found that the challenges these two face along the way are just one of the many things that make this story great.