Book Review: A Dawn of Onyx by Kate Golden

About the Book:

Title: A Dawn of Onyx

Author: Kate Golden

Series: The Sacred Stones

Page Length: 456

Publication Date: Dec. 15, 2022

Publisher: The Daisy Press

Synopsis: Captured by a king of darkness. Forced to find the light within.

Arwen Valondale never expected to be the brave one, offering her life to save her brother’s. Now she’s been taken prisoner by the most dangerous kingdom on the continent, and made to use her rare magical abilities to heal the soldiers of the vicious Onyx King.

Arwen knows better than to face the ancient, wicked woods that surround the castle on her own, which means working with a fellow prisoner might be her only path to freedom. Unfortunately, he’s as infuriating as he is cunning—and seems to take twisted
pleasure in playing on Arwen’s deepest fears.

But here in Onyx Kingdom, trust is a luxury she can’t afford.

To make it out of enemy territory, she’ll have to navigate back-stabbing royals, dark magic, and dangerous beasts. But untold power lies inside Arwen, dormant and waiting for a spark. If she can harness it, she just might be able to escape with her life—and hopefully, her heart.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

When I opened this book, I had no idea I was going to fall head over heels in love with it, but that’s exactly what I did. It’s a fantastic romantasy with dynamic characters, immersive world-building, and a super swoon-worthy romance!

This story pulled me in from the very first page, and I loved the author’s writing style. The world is developed and vivid without being overwhelming, the magic system and political unrest are intriguing, and the dialogue is excellent. It’s an easy story to get immersed in, and the characters make it even more compelling.

Arwen is such a layered protagonist, and she grows tremendously over the course of the story. A selfless and naive woman, she shows such bravery and strength. Taken by the Onyx King, a vicious leader with a vile reputation, Arwen is forced to work as a healer for his people. What first begins as a frightening incarceration turns into so much more. Arwen begins to see the people and leader as more than the villainous and evil enemies she’s been taught to believe in. She learns of the lies and manipulations, as well as the costs of war. She also makes several amazing friends, from the cantankerous mentor to a fellow prisoner to a new best friend.

Whether you know it or not, Arwen, there is a wild strength inside of you. You don’t need Ryder or Daga, or me, or anyone else to take care of you. Remember that. You are enough.

I firmly feel I need a friend like Mari. She is as fabulous as Arwen, Bubbly, curious, and so enthusiastic about everything. There’s a lot to love about her, and her friendship with Arwen is really special. Neither of them has ever really had friends, which makes their unexpected connection so lovely. And together, they are comical! I love how they tease each other and joke around. It felt very realistic, as did all of the characters. Griffin, They’re well-developed and interesting, and their personalities are all distinct and compelling. Of course, my favorite is the morally grey hunkalicious hottie, Kane.

Almost every time I read a romantasy, I fall in love with the MMC. Kane was super easy to fall in love with, and he quickly climbed to the top of my list of favorite book boyfriends. Kane is a mystery, and I’m a sucker for the tall, dark, and enigmatic. He has so much charisma that, frankly, I don’t know how Arwen resisted him. If I were his enemy, I would have given him everything he ever asked for, and I would have thanked him for taking it from me. Plus, every time he calls her “Little Bird,” I start fanning myself and wish I were a winged creature. lol I’m curious to learn more about him, especially after some of the revelations in this book! The story definitely delves more into Arwen’s life and past, and I have a feeling the next book will explore more of Kane’s.

“I love to listen to you explain medicinal practices,” he purred.

“And I’d love to listen to you fall off a cliff.”

The enemies-to-lovers romance between Arwen and Kane is EVERYTHING. Like EVERYTHING. I adore them so much! The sexual tension, the chemistry, THE BANTER!! Arwen and Kane have a complicated relationship filled with conflicted and confused emotions, and there are a lot of secrets between them. Their conversations – the way they flirt and tease each other, their more tender moments, the way he listens to her – it’s nuanced and layered and so fascinating to see this couple slowly let their guard down with each other. This is definitely a pair that should not care for each other, yet they are inexplicably drawn to each other over and over again. Every interaction adds to the slow-building swoon-tasticness!

“I was furious with the man. So so furious. But I also wanted to lick his neck. It was complicated.”

I absolutely loved this story. With lies, betrayal, political intrigue, magic, and more, it is a brilliant epic romantasy and one I would highly recommend. Special thanks to the author for sending me a copy of the book. I loved it so much, I plan to buy a physical copy for my bookshelf.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The writing style.
  • The characters.
  • The world-building.

Favorite Lines:

“Why did you think your life was worth less than his?”

We all have demons. What defines us is how we choose to face them.


  • enemies-to-lovers
  • hidden identity
  • hidden magic
  • only one horse
  • Who did this to you?

12 thoughts on “Book Review: A Dawn of Onyx by Kate Golden

  1. I’m pretty sure I have this one on my tbr but I’ll have to make sure haha. Great review!

  2. I’m still struggling with reading a bit but after reading this review I knew I had to give this a try. I just started it about an hour ago and I can’t wait to see where it goes. I think I just met Kane too (haven’t gotten his name though I’m not sure but definitely getting MMC vibes, lol)! I love how much you enjoyed this book and I hope I end up loving it just as much. 😍 Great review, Julie!

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