Cover Image: The Last Refuge

The Last Refuge

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Member Reviews

Firstly, the cover is absolutely stunning.

The story itself is good. I thought it a great base, but I wished there was more detail, more in-depth worldbuilding and character building. Keira is a great heroine and I am invested in her story, but the side characters lacked any true depth or nuance. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and on a smaller level, the Fever series (especially if the romantic subplot picks up in subsequent books).

3.5 Stars

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Kiera Vandyer told herself she’d only agreed to this scheme for the money, that nothing else had drawn her to this venture, but you can’t lie to the truest parts of yourself. For sixteen years, she’s hidden her burning curiosity for magic, knowing that one misstep would mean certain death at the hands of Atterah’s merciless leaders: the all-powerful Ruling Board.

After searching for the feeling I used to get from the Hunger Games and Divergent, I finally found it in the Last Refuge. The world building is incredible and there is even a touch of romance. Pick up this book and enter a world of gripping adventure where love burns slowly, family is chosen, and hope is a dangerous yet beautiful dream.

For fans of: The Hunger Games and Divergent

To the author: are you going to leave us hanging like that or will there be a second book?! - a curious reader

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This was such a lovely fantasy book. It was such a unique world with a storyline. I loved our MC and how she was wonderfully flawed but always willing to do what’s right. I can not wait to see what’s never from this author.

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Thank you to Books Forward and NetGalley for the review copy!

I was excited to pick this one up when I heard about its inspiration and deep roots in strong female familial bonds. I found the book to be off to an engaging start, but I struggled to remain focused and ultimately decided to DNF (for now). The writing style wasn't working for me, and the plot was a bit all over the place. Maybe this is a case of reading a book at the wrong time...

I'm sure members of my audience are going to devour this one, and I'm excited to help this book find its audience during the book tour next month!

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Firstly, thank you, Netgalley, for giving me this opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book got me hooked from the first time I read the blurb! And the cover, simply wonderful!
I lost myself in the first half of this novel, with the dystopian world and the amazing magic system.
A perfect mix of The Hunger Games and fantasy with science that made me completely forget about the real world.
The second half of the book lost a bit of its touch, and sometimes it felt like the story was rushed.
But did I love this book? Yes! Do I want to read what's coming next?? Absolutely!!
Amazing debut!

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“The Last Refuge” by Christina Bacilieri takes you into this mesmerizing world where magic, power, and destiny collide in a dystopian setting. With a blend of intricate world-building, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, this YA fantasy will captivate you from start to finish.

What I Loved
In “The Last Refuge,” you get sucked into a world with a creepy dictatorship and a tightly controlled magic system. Keira, the hero of the story, goes through a mind-blowing transformation and becomes a powerful shifter, getting caught up in a fight for her life. Bacilieri does an amazing job blending magic and science, and throws in a bunch of awesome creatures that make the story way more exciting. The exploration of close friendships and budding romance intrigues, leaving readers eager for more. Keira’s journey of self-growth, set against a backdrop of political turmoil and personal challenges, is a captivating and relatable tale. The narrative is rich with intrigue, suspense, and forbidden magic, keeping readers hooked until the last page.

What Didn’t Resonate With Me
Although the first half of the book is captivating due to its intricately woven narrative, the second half of the book falls short in maintaining the same level of momentum and tension that propels the story forward. On top of that, sometimes it feels like the pacing is too fast and the time jumps make the story hard to follow. While the character development shows promise, it would be more believable if it had a more natural progression.

Themes and Tropes
Bacilieri explores themes of power, political corruption, poverty, and environmentalism, offering readers insightful allegories relevant to our world today. Incorporating found family dynamics, magical creatures, and a slow-burn romance add depth to the story, appealing to fans of YA dystopian fiction.

Therefore, if you enjoy trope like found family, forbidden magic, slow-burn romance, love triangles set against the backdrop of a dystopian future, don’t miss out on “The Last Refuge”.

“The Last Refuge” is an engaging YA fantasy book that strongly portrays themes of hope, resilience, and the journey of self-discovery. Bacilieri’s combination of science fiction and fantasy forms an enchanting realm full of possibilities waiting to be discovered. While the pacing and character development may falter at times, the novel’s strengths lie in its rich world-building, thought-provoking themes, and engaging narrative. Fans of dystopian fiction, particularly those who enjoyed “The Hunger Games,” will find themselves drawn into Bacilieri’s spellbinding tale.

In summary, “The Last Refuge” offers a gripping journey that balances fantastical elements with real-world reflections, making it a standout addition to the YA fantasy genre.

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I saw this book being promoted all over booktok, so when I received the arc I screamed! I'm a sucker for a coming of age story especially one that is similar to hunger games. The cover art is what caught my attention first and the story is what kept me going! I enjoyed the magical aspect of it and of course the FMC being able to shift was pretty cool. Loved the bond and development of friendships and maybe a potential romance. Ends on a cliffhanger so I will 100% be reading the second book.

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The Last Refuge was a very fun, quick read. I loved the cast of characters and their chemistry - the friendships that grow are so wholesome and lovely to read. The magic system is interesting and fun. This was a great start to a series and I'm keenly awaiting book 2!

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To start with the cover is stunning and so intriguing! I kept seeing this book pop up all over my bookstagram feed so of course I had to request I read it due to FOMO!

A wonderfully magical YA Fantasy novel set in a dystopian world where magic is controlled by the board and confined to a specific location for their own benefit.

Our FMC Keira finds herself transformed into a powerful shifter and has to fight for her survival.
There is lots of magical elements with a touch of scientific vibes. There are different creatures and magical beings and I would love to see more background on the different species.

There is a lot of focus on close friendships and potential for a romance plot there so I’d be interested to see where that goes.

The book ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger and I would definitely be excited to read the next book. I am hoping to see more world building and character development / more background on the additional side characters in book 2.

Thank you to Crescent Ink Publishing, Christina Bacillieri and NetGalley for the EARC

Publish date: Available now

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In a dystopian world, magic is kept to one city that requires permission to enter. A girl finds herself being transformed and stuck in a bargain that threatens her world and her life.

I adored this so much and soared through reading it. The magic was just wonderful and I loved how it was tied to the Earth and it's functioning. The dystopia feel to the world that is magic and also science. There is a bit of a sapphic-leaning relationship between the main and side characters. It wasn't over the top, but it was very prevalent in the story's development. I loved seeing all the different types of magical beings and creatures, as well as the different types of magic.

I'm interested to see what happens more with this, as it left off on a bit of a cliffhanger. I'd like to see more interaction with the newer characters that came in later.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this eGalley.

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I received an advanced readers copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars. In a dystopian world strictly controlled by the board, the only place loathsome magic can can be found is a tightly controlled area. Magic is mined by being channeled through battles of magic users, controlled by an evil dictator. Through a surprising turn of events, Keira is thrust through the arch and find herself a powerful shifter fighting for her life.

Love the creativity, the world seems really interesting. I would have loved a little more world building, and a little more character development but overall a fun and interesting story. It definitely had a bit of a 1984 vibe going, and then it gets super magical. So it's a little bit of something for everyone. It also really focuses on building friendships and finding your place in the world.

When I picked this up it's because I saw a review saying that it was a sapphic slow burn romance. To me, I think it is not clear yet. I think we would have to wait for the next book to know. But I do think it's about a very deep connection and friendship (that I hope turns to romantic love eventually)

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I loved the way this world was written and how lushly magical the author was able to describe it. I think this is absolutely perfect for fans of YA fantasy with a touch of dystopia. It gives hunger games, throne of glass, and shifters all in one. I really loved Kiera, our main character, and her adventure. This has the beginnings to be a brilliant fantasy read.

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Christina Bacilieri's "The Last Refuge" is like diving into a world where suspense and fantasy collide. The characters feel real, and the plot keeps you hooked with unexpected twists. It's a must-read for anyone who loves a mix of mystery and fantasy.

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I went into this book blind after seeing the author on Instagram and falling in love with the cover and premise of this book. It took me 6 hours to read over 5 days.

The characters and the world. made this book for me. There were some instances where I thought things were a. little too convenient, however, that did not detract anything from this wonderful dystopian read. The found family trope in this was one of the best I have read and I loved the group that has been created.

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I want to start off by saying the cover design is so beautiful and is what initially caught my eye and made me want to find out what this book was all about! The author does a great job of building up the details of the world of Atterah and meshing the high tech dystopian society with the whimsy of magic. I loved that the plot was unique and also fast paced - while reading, I never felt like there was a lag in the story. I also really enjoyed the main character Kiera and the close relationships she forms/the development of those connections throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading YA fantasy!

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ARC reader for NetGalley
This novel has all the right elements to be the next big YA dystopian fantasy bestseller! If I could give it more than 5 stars I would! Wildly imaginative, Orwellian futuristic world building. Very clever, strong female main character & brilliant side characters & found family. A fantastic, fast moving plot. All sorts of fantastical beings, shifters, witches, werewolves, wizards, mermaids, sirens and more! Kiera finds herself thrust into Etabon, the last refuge for magic, forced to bargain with an evil wizard to save her life and must use her newfound magic to fight in a tournament and regain her freedom. Such an amazing read! I’ll be waiting impatiently for the next installment.

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The cover is what drew me in and I’m so glad I was able to read this. I thought Kiera was a interesting character and worked with the plot of the novel. It was a great start to the Stealing Sanctuary series and does a great job in introducing us to the curse and how it affects this family. It had a great adventurous feel to it and I enjoyed everything that I read. Christina Bacilieri has a great writing style and can’t wait to read more from them.

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The cover for this book is so beautiful! This was such an interesting book. And the world building was great and the romance was perfectly done.

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First, the cover is STUNNING! Obviously the important part is inside, but damn does it look good on my bookshelf. This is the perfect beginner fantasy in my opinion. It is so easy to understand the world building due to the authors writing style. I absolutely loved the found family and the growth of the FMC. My only criticism is some of the dialogue between two specific characters was sometimes a bit cringe (I am not a softy though, so take what you will). Of course, as a romance girly, I really wanted more of that. With that being said though it was fun to try to guess who the romance could develop between as the series continues. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, especially as a debut novel!

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What an intriguing premise! A dystopian, futuristic world in which magic has been restricted to one isolated region in order to exert control over its people.

Things I liked:
-The world building and magic system were so unique and drew me right in. A super cool meld of sci-fi and fantasy.
-The different magic forms for folks "human" under usual circumstances. What a beautiful metaphor for who we all might be underneath if we allow ourselves the freedom to look closely.
-This book did one of my favorite things a fantasy can do - immerse the reader in a world just different enough from our own to disarm them, then use that world as a social commentary on our reality. The allegory regarding power, political corruption, poverty, environmentalism and extractive economies was spot-on.
-A thread throughout the book of the magic of nature and its inherent wisdom

Things I didn't love:
-The writing style in the book just wasn't for me. I felt that the character building needed a more natural evolution to make it believable.
-The pacing, with time jumps, felt too rushed as well, though I loved the chapter headings.

Overall a truly unique work! A huge, genuine thanks to Netgalley and the author for entrusting me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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