The Umbra King (Vincula Realm Book 1) Author Jamie Applegate Hunter

ARC Book Review

4 out of 5 stars!

Set to release September 20, 2022

"There will always be someone who thinks of me as their villain. The least I can do is be a damn good one."

Rory's on a mission to find the ones' responsible for a family members murder. One who was very close to Rory. Her path is paved with vengeance and justice but it is her "little" secret. . . Keeping things from her family and friends while trying to maintain a "normal" life can be trying. Not to mention will they still look at her the same if they knew?

Events take a turn for the worse and everything is brought to the forefront. Except for Rory's side of things. . . Now sentenced, Rory has to navigate through a new realm with a whole slew of issues. Including those who deem themselves superior to Rory. The only thing keeping Rory going is the fact she may have reached the end of her trail! But will she be able to accomplish her task? Can she even survive this realm? And what color is your hair?

Read the trigger warnings first. Simply because chapter one dives right into a scene with some violence.

So you know how we all swoon over our Morally Grey characters? What if there was a female lead who was one? Cue Rory! After witnessing a murder of a family member, she grew tired of everyone delaying things. Taking matters into her own hands. . . She's morally grey through and through and I absolutely LOVED it!

This book is a Dark Fantasy and with some bullying. Rory isn't exactly welcome in the new realm and people make it obvious. But Rory doesn't back down or cower under people's feet. She takes it in strides and even plays the game better than some. 

Not to say we don't get to see the human side of Rory and how it weighs on her. This may be a spoiler but I am happy there are some who are humble and even make a very good point about things. Meaning there are some on Rory's side! And I loved every single one of them.

Just Rory was such an amazing main character. I also really enjoyed and appreciated that she was colorblind. You don't think about things when you see color but the author included some situations that was eye opening. Rory also has to take care of someone who's abilities have basically taken over their life. Not in a good way. For me it struck a little close to home because even though this is a fantasy book there are some parallels to today's world.

I loved at the beginning of the book the author had a section for Pronunciation Guide and World Guide! Briefly going over the realms, places, magic, and unique beings. I really enjoyed the take on Shifters in this book. Along with some other things that just helped to add more plot twists to the book! Along with all the witty banter. I honestly live for witty banter in books!

Especially with Sam, Lauren, and Rory together! I was so happy to have several scenes with the trio and how they just feed off of one another. Sam was definitely one of my favorite characters of the book. He also answered some questions in one sentence that just had me laughing. I'm sure if you read the book you can figure it out.

"We all go through tough situations; it's the nature of life. Doesn't mean we get to be twats to everyone." - Rory

Again, this is a Darker Fantasy. There are several elements that may be a little heavy or angering for some. I have to admit my morally grey character was fuming with multiple scenes throughout the book. Which means the author did a phenomenal job with stirring up those emotions. You will feel a whole spectrum of emotions with this read!

There's some bullying, humiliation, violence, and gore. Not to say this isn't a great read, because it is! So many take trigger warnings to mean the book is bad. It is not! Simply a heads up for what you may encounter within the pages of the book. There are many who are emotional readers and so this book may not be their cup of tea right now. But possibly next week they will be devouring this book and needing the next!

I loved all the tension and buildup with the enemies to lovers. Some of the kinks that were displayed I really enjoyed. We also get some spicy MF action! There are some shadows being controlled, and that's all I'm going to say. There's language in the book along with multiple POVs and feelings of grief. We do get that lovely cliffhanger that will just stomp on your heart. I believe this book is a duology so I am going to be needing the second and final part! 

Enjoy this Dark Fantasy with so many plot twists and witty banter! Don't forget to give the author some stars!


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