REVIEW: The Worthy by Anna K. Moss

Last Updated on June 26, 2024

The Worthy is the debut novel from independent author and editor Anna K Moss. It is a well written and engaging dark fantasy that I enjoyed reading and I’m pleased to be able to review it for Grimdark Magazine.

Cover of The WorthyThe narrative of The Worthy follows multiple points of view, the two major ones being those of the royal siblings of Crell – Prince Barsten and Princess Ailith, as the siblings vie for the throne. On one hand, Ailith, the shrewd and cunning princess seems a logical choice. She is clever and has proven her strategic skills more than once to the benefit of Crell. However, being a woman in a misogynistic patriarchal society probably means that, even were she to take it, holding the throne would be impossible. Prince Barsten would therefore be the more sensible option – apart from the fact he is an utter idiot. I genuinely cannot think of many fictional characters I took a more instant dislike to than Barsten. But what other options does Crell have?

There were many things I really enjoyed about Moss’ debut. The Worthy has good pacing so I was engaged from the opening and Moss maintained this. The character of Ailith was my favourite and it was nice to see such a strong sapphic representation in a dark fantasy novel. The Worthy does not stray into the realms of a romance novel though, and even with a fair chunk of sapphic longing there is also a wealth of political intrigue and some very well constructed fight scenes. It is violent and bloody without being gratuitous and Moss shows the desperation of Crell and its inhabitants in a very humane way.

However, a down side of Moss’ firm pacing did mean that the ending of The Worthy felt a little abrupt for me. There are a lot of unresolved issues which I presume will be tackled in a sequel to The Worthy but it felt like the novel stopped unexpectedly rather than reached a satisfying conclusion. This may have been because I was reading an eARC rather than a physical book and had not realised just how close I was to finishing The Worthy but it seemed anticlimactic all the same. I also felt that one of the side characters and their narratives was superfluous to the main plot. I enjoyed reading their chapters and I kept waiting for there to be a significant link to the main storyline, which ended up not happening. Though, as with the other unanswered questions, it might be that this character proves to be of greater importance in a later novel.

Overall, I think that The Worthy gives a worthwhile return on the reader’s time. Moss’ debut is a strong and compelling read and I am invested enough in the world of Crell and Moss’ characters to continue with the series. Thank you to Anna K Moss for sending me a copy of The Worthy to be able to provide this review.


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Fiona Denton

Fiona Denton

Fiona is a former secondary school teacher and current stay at home parent to two very wild and active children. She lives with them and her husband in the UK and can often be found on a beach paddling in the North Sea or stomping through a forest with the sprogs and hounds. She loves to read and has always enjoyed fantasy novels, particularly the very dark and twisty ones with mythical creatures.

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