Book Review: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver Book 1) by Annette Marie

Clio's home is in danger, on the verge of war with a neighboring caste of daemons, and she's been stuck living on earth among the humans. With the ability to see and mimic magic, Clio agrees to go to the Underworld to spy on the master weavers who specialize in dangerous and lethal magical in order to copy some of it. But she had no clue how danger she'd be in, and she wasn't expecting Lyre, the sexy master weaver incubus who seems different than the others and keeps saving her.

Book Review: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver Book 1) by Annette Marie | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, young adult, incubus
Title: The Night Realm
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 391
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


I read this after reading the whole Steel & Stone series, so my perspective and expectations for this book were likely influenced by that since the love interest in this one, Lyre, was an important character in the other series. I think I fell for Lyre’s playful incubus act at the start of S&S, but I could also see how loyal he was as a friend, and I just wanted to be best friends with him. As the series went on, it became more and more clear that there was more to him than it first seemed, that he was actually very clever and cunning and dangerous, and then he became even more interesting to me and quite possibly my favorite character in the series. So I was really looking forward to getting to know more about his past (since this series takes place before S&S).

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out this book had Lyre’s POV as well as Clio’s! It was a great way to finally really get to know him more, and it also allowed the reader to see important things. We even got to see how his friendship with Ash started.

I liked Clio too. Sometimes I found her to be kind of inept, stumbling through her entire mission haphazardly, really not being very good at the spying or the deception required, but then I reminded myself that she was just out of her league, and I would most definitely be even more of a mess in that situation than she was. And I realized that I liked that part of her because it was relatable. Often times characters are super confident and smooth and competent and not at all freaked out by going into dangerous situations, so Clio was realistic in this regard. And when it really came down to it, she pulled herself together and managed to handle herself really well.

I also like how Annette Marie has made the incubi in this world truly dangerous and powerful in their own way. Well, I mean, Lyre’s family are especially dangerous because of their weaving skills, but even normal incubi have that aphrodesia magic that can take away a woman’s will (and maybe even a man’s if the incubus is powerful enough—I would still like to know about that time mentioned in one of the other books when Lyre apparently proved that to Ash lol). It’s also impressive how the author doesn’t shy away from the fact that incubi are all about sex, yet she still manages to keep it YA (albeit a kind of older YA).

The weaving, that was very cool too. This author always does a great job describing magic and making it super interesting.

The plot and pacing were where I had a couple minor issues. I thought this book was kind of slow until it got near the end, but I might just feel that way because I was expecting this to be more like the S&S books, which were often fast-paced and action-packed from start to finish. This was also different from S&S in that it seemed pretty romance-focused, and I guess that kind of threw me off a bit too. But neither of these things made the book bad, they just weren’t what I was expecting.

If anyone who hasn’t read either series yet is now wondering which one they should start with, I’d say either probably works. Both series stand on their own. However, I think Steel & Stone might do a better job of world-building and explaining everything about the daemons, so it might be helpful to read that one first for that reason.

But overall, I really enjoyed being back in this unique world that Annette Marie has created, I liked getting to experience Lyre’s POV, I liked Clio as a main character, and I thought all the magic was incredible!


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  1. Bookworm Brandee

    Well, I just went and one-clicked the first book in and S&S series. I think I’ll start there so I can fall for Lyre from the beginning and get in on all the great world building. But you have me sold on this book as well. I like that Clio was so relatable to you and I think I would probably relate to her as well in working at something that’s so far out of my league but being capable enough to pull myself together when it counted… And getting Lyre’s POV, after getting to know him fairly well in the other series, was a bonus I’m sure. I adore getting into the head of a character I love, getting the inside look, so to speak, on what makes them tick. I also really like the sound of the world building done here and that’s important for an urban fantasy. So hey, we’ll have yet another book to discuss once I get around to reading it. Seriously, a Kristen’s Recs month sounds in order. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha yay! I adored Chase the Dark when I read it, and I have to admit I support your decision to start with that series first since that’s how I did it 😉 It was definitely a bonus getting Lyre’s POV and learning more about him after all this time. The world-building is great, so I think you’ll like that part. Lol if only there were a Kristen Recs Reading Challenge 😛 I can’t wait to hear what you think!

  2. Karen

    I’ve been trying to be better about my patience level with characters because you’re right – how many of us would have all out shit together if this happened to us?

    Since this is a prequel and romance focused – are they a couple in the later series? I’ll have to look into both a bit more.

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it just kind of hit me that I get annoyed when characters are too good in all the crazy situations, but this was actually realistic!

      Do you actually want me to answer that? Lol I mean obviously you’ll know if you read Steel & Stone first, so it’s not a spoiler, but it could be fun the other way around too I suppose.

  3. verushka

    It sounds like the author managed to show Clio evolving, as much as stumbling, by the end of the book, which is what I love seeing in books like this!

  4. Greg

    Sweet cover! The magic angle sounds really cool, and I like it when characters aren’t all smooth and competent. I mean realistically it’s easier to relate to someone who is new to what is happening, like most of us would be in that situation! And I think a nymph character would be an interesting perspective, with nature- based abilities.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The magic is great and really well written! And yeah, I like when characters aren’t too smooth, def makes them more relatable because I’d be a mess, haha. The nymph thing was cool, I’d never read about a nymph before!

  5. Lola

    That’s interesting you already met the love interest form this book in another series by this author. And that’s nice this one had dual pov so you could get to know his character even better. While I like reading about competent characters I also like to see them stumble a bit now and then as it does feel realistic they would feel a bit out of their element and mess up at times. The magic in this world sounds pretty cool and I like how you say the author described that well.

    Expectations can something throw things off a bit when a book is different than expected. I am currently reading a book where I had expected more romance and there’s almost no romance at all. Not bad per se, but it always takes some time to adjust your expectations.

    You definitely make me curious about this author’s books. I’ll see if I can find a sign-up for her newsletter and then maybe pick one of the books up when they go on sale. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I loved getting the dual POV! And yeah, it’s relatable reading about characters who aren’t too smooth and perfect at everything. The magic in this world, especially this book with the spell weaving, is amazing.

      Exactly, they weren’t bad things, but my expectations did throw me off, and now I can adjust.

      I think you’d like these! Chase the Dark is $.99 right now on the US site, but I know the whole series adds up :-/ Hopefully you can try one of her series at least though!

  6. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sounds good, I love when a series is linked to another and you get the perspective of a character from previous books because that’s a great way to get you interested in a new series. It does sound like these books would kind of work for me with their romance focus (I am loving romance right now, although I’m also craving fantasy and it makes it difficult to figure out what to read). I’ve not read any books with incubi in before so I am intrigued about reading an incubi character. I would be a little put off by it being quite slow up until the end but everything else about this book sounds good. I’m off to have a nose at other reviews for it now.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read a lot of series with spin-offs like this, but it’s great when the character is one you love! Well, if you want romance and fantasy, then this might work for you. You’ve never read about incubi?! They’re one of my favorite creatures! Lyre was actually the first one I had read about though, funny enough.

  7. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    As you may have learned [hehe] I don’t finish many series BUT when I like one like you seem to like S&S love to get to know more about the characters I loved too! Kudos for finishing this book even though the plot was slow! 🙂 I will always admire that 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yes I have noticed, especially since you STILL HAVEN’T READ HELL DIVERS II. But yeah, I’m a series girl, and it’s great getting to know character you love better! Haha, I can deal with a slow plot as long as the characters are good.

  8. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    I started with this one as you know – so I think I went into it with a completely different mindset… However I adored this one and then I loved S&S too. I think Annette Marie might be delving more into the characters in this one and now after reading S&S I cannot wait for more in this series and obviously also in the sequel series! I loved that the companion book went slightly further than the last book in Steel and Stone too and that I managed to feel more of a sense of closure there!!!! Because I was left a bit bereft at the end of book 5! 🙂

    Great review Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like depending on whether you’ve read S&S or not, it would be a different mindset, so I thought mentioning that might be helpful to people. But I do think the series can work in either order! And yes, there really was a better sense of closure in the companion book, although it just made me feel even worse for Lyre. But yeah, maybe this series is delving more deeply into the characters whereas S&S was more action (though it had great character development too). Thanks!

  9. Olivia Roach

    I love how much you are enjoying this authors books and I have seen a fellow book blogger who I follow raving about her books too, so I know I will be reading some eventually. I remember how much you loved Lyre in your other review, so it must have been call to have Lyre featuring as a main character in this book alongside someone whose perspective you didn’t expect to get! Great review x

    1. Kristen Burns

      I can’t wait to see what you think if you try one of her series! And yeah, I do love Lyre, so it was great having him be an MC and getting his POV! Thanks 🙂