The Smuggler’s Path is the young adult fantasy we’ve all been waiting for. A lot of magic with a little mystery and romance mixed in.

dark night with tree, full moon

In Canto, magic is a commodity, outlawed by the elites after losing a devastating war and brokered by smugglers on the hidden market. But some know it’s more—a weapon for change.

Inez Garza moves through two worlds. She’s a member of the noble class who works as a magical arms dealer—a fact either group would gladly use against her. Neither know her true purpose—funding Birthright, an underground group determined to return magic to all at any cost.

But the discovery of a powerful relic from before the Rending threatens her delicate balance.

Inez’s inherent magic, which lies dormant in all the Canti, has been awakened. Now the Duchess’s daughter, radical and smuggler must assume another forbidden title—mage, a capital crime. This will bring her to the attention of factions at home—fanatical rebels bent on revolution, a royal family determined to avoid another magical war, her mercenary colleagues at the hidden market willing to sell her abilities to the highest bidder—and in Mythos, victors of the war and architects of the Rending.

Evasion has become Inez’s specialty, but even she isn’t skilled enough to hide from everyone—and deny the powers drawing her down a new path.

A Smuggler’s Path by I.L. Cruz

The Smuggler’s Path is the young adult novel we’ve been waiting for, combining a lot of fantasy with a little mystery and a tad bit of romance. It isn’t perfect, but honestly what novel is? The few notes there are to make are easy enough to look over with the incredible writing of the author. There is a lot packed into a small book and the author does an amazing job tying it all together.

For the first real time in a young adult novel, since I can remember, Inez and her mother don’t have relationship issues. While their relationship isn’t perfect, it is still a strong example of a realistic mother-daughter bond. While the main character secretly fights for the resistance, the mother secretly supports it, but the demeanor in which she was raised keeps her at a distance. This creates a new dynamic within fantasy fiction that I, for one, am happy to see.

Of course, because of her mother’s nobility, it’s no surprise that Inez is destined to save the island of Canto, but always with the proud backing of her ancestors and family, though some of Canto’s society doesn’t quite like the idea of being saved from anything.

Not only does the author do a great job creating realistic relationships with family, but in romance as well. Inez and Zavier’s relationship is just solid enough to not be the usual mushy, gushy relationships of fantasy culture. Inez declares her independence and doesn’t try to fit in where she knows she can’t stand, Zavier is a strong part of that dynamic.

The story line plays out so well and is so beautifully crafted that the world of The Smuggler’s Path is easy to fall in love with and will no doubt leave readers wanting more in the future.

As I said, there were only a few complaints, one being that at certain points it wasn’t so hard to keep up with the characters, but the objects with characters. Inez carried a bag of goods, and it would seem to pop up at random locations. At one point, she hid it in a flower and then in a scene later she was holding a bag. I wasn’t sure if it was the same bag or different bag. This happened with several different objects throughout the story, dispelling the beauty of the written words.

The main character wonders through a magical forest collecting magic to sell.

Additionally, some of the characters were slightly confusing. There is a list at the beginning of the book of all the characters involved, which is a great help, but as I read the final chapters leading up to the end of the book, I didn’t want to scroll back to the first page to figure out who was who. I continued to mix up Austra and her daughter within the same scene because they acted so similarly and switched emotions regularly.

These two complaints are all that I have to offer within the review. The world is impeccably built, beautifully described and action packed. I have definitely become a fan and can’t wait to see what the next book holds. I hope that the author pays closer attention to editing because the book will then be golden.

Because of the few errors I pointed out and the amazing storytelling mentioned above, I have to give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. If the issues were a little cleaned up, it would be a full five stars, but despite that, this book is definitely a keeper.

Maggie M.S. Burleson

Maggie M.S. Burleson

I am a new blogger learning to market and brand to millennial, college age woman. Despite being a new blog, I can help authors reach an untapped potential in college age women as potential influencer of books.

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