Obsidian Mine by Karen Bailey is the first book in the Rashwa series and it introduces readers to a world populated by vampires and were-creatures —a hidden realm from the ordinary world in which Jennifer lives with her crazy father, mother, and sister, Grace. Jennifer's father has locked seven children in a laboratory for his sinister experiments. Jennifer is determined to free the children. Her mother has sacrificed everything for her and her sister, and after losing her mother, Jennifer is determined to take responsibility for the seven children and her sister. When she is wounded in a treacherous land and the enemy closes on them, she only hopes that the mysterious stranger and his friends who are out in search of the children of Rashwa can find them on time. King Nevar's son happens to be among the children and the king must find him before his transitions into manhood. But he never expected that the wounded Jennifer will stir his heart in ways that are inexplicable.
Karen Bailey is a great storyteller. From the opening pages, the author immerses readers into the complex family dynamics of the young heroine as she witnesses the conflict between her father and mother. The first-narrative voice creates that sense of intimacy and pulls readers into the worldview of the characters. There is an urgency in the voice that conveys the protagonist's desperation and that of other key characters. The conflict is introduced right off the bat and Jennifer's intent on helping her mother is cleverly communicated. There are focused and emotionally rich scenes that captivate and make for a pulse-pounding reading experience. Then the twists in the story are equally mesmerizing. For instance, Jennifer is unaware that Kyle is of royal blood and that the boy will lead her to the love of her life. Karen Bailey's wonderful prose and her gift for character are exemplified in this first entry into the series. The impeccable world-building offers the perfect escape for fans of fantasy. Obsidian Mine is a well-imagined and intelligently written story in a world that hides a hidden realm.