If Light Above (A War of Whispers #1), by Lily Anne Crow

28 Sept 2023

The Book

If Light Above
Series: A War of Whispers
Pages: 447
Age Group: Young Adult
Published on 28 Jan 2022
Publisher: Self-Published
Political Fantasy
Available on:


The kingdom's only hopes are a wounded soldier, a dead-beat noble, and a killer.

Osmund Benwickery, former captain general in the king’s army, burdened by a useless left arm and a dwindling sense of self-worth, has been hired for the most important job of his life. The young queen is dead, the newborn prince is missing, and the king has narrowly survived assassination. Osmund must solve the treacherous plot before either the infant prince is lost forever or the king’s assassins return - and succeed.

Phrai, a hired blade with a bloody reputation, wants nothing more than to numb the pain of the past. Tamrion Kinto, an idealistic young nobleman with a clever tongue, can’t seem to stay out of trouble. When their paths intertwine, Phrai and Tamrion find themselves dragged into dangerous complications that will change the way they view the world, themselves, and each other.Shinowyn Alva, castle seamstress and dressmaker to the late queen, slips among the shadows, watching the deadly game of power unfolding in the capital city. But what secrets does Shinowyn hide behind her peculiar smile and mismatched eyes? Is she simply another pawn, or will she have the nerve to play?

The game is conspiracy and the pieces are set. As Fate weaves these four lives together, events unfold that will threaten their kingdom and challenge their very beliefs. Can they put aside their differences and band together long enough to hold back the darkness?  

My Review

If Light Above is a fantastic mystery and political fantasy novel, first book on the A War of Whispers series, written by Lily Anne Crow, and which has achieved semifinals on SPFBO9. A character driven story, told using several POV with different origins, trying to unravel the different clues behind the disappearance of the just-born son of the Queen, which has died while giving birth.

The Duke of Algelle hires Captain General Osmund Benwickery to investigate the truth behind the disappearance of the future prince, and reveal the conspirators behind it. The story will be told mainly from his perspective, crossing his paths with the rest of POVs, but still remaining the focus.
Osmund is a complex character, a so-called war hero who is still dealing with the sequels of that last one battle that earned him the title. From low origins, the authority of the Duke will open him the castle's doors, entering in contact with a mysterious seamstress, Shinowyn who seems to be doing her own investigation, a bit suspicious. Despite being treated with contempt by part of the nobility, he will put the best of him in the investigation; Osmund is a compassionate man, a generous man who will also adopt a family of street urchins, taking one as his apprentice, Pight.

As secondary characters, we are spectators of two different paths that get woven with Osmund's one, becoming a subplot by itself. Tamrion is a young noble, trying to find his path in life, only landing in problems; and all his steps bring him to finding Phrai, a mysterious assassin. More questions are raised around these characters and their environment, also acting as a way to show parts of the world that we wouldn't see through Osmund's eyes.

Erlanhain is a rich world, well developed, and personally, limiting the action to a relatively small area, allowing the author to focus better on the details of the city and surroundings, is something I found enjoyable. Magic is regulated and banished, unless you have a formal education for years in a mysterious college (hopefully we visit it on next books).

Crow's prose lands a bit on the purple side, but it works well when paired with this world; it is marvelous how easy is to visualize this book in your mind. The pacing is in a great spot, as I was really hooked with the mystery and the political intrigues, which I would compare in level with Game of Thrones.

Honestly, I loved reading If Light Above, it's exactly the kind of plot that keeps me reading until late because I want to uncover the truth behind. It's an excellent book, and if you are looking for a great political fantasy, give it a try!

The Author/s

Lily Anne Crow

Lily Anne Crow

Lily Anne Crow is a storyteller of dark fantasy and epic fantasy tales, where you never know what lurks in the shadows, and almost anyone can rise to the rank of hero. She has been writing stories of the fantastic since she could hold a quill. Her debut novel, If Light Above, is the first in the series titled A War of Whispers.

Though Lily has been training young Magisters for fifteen years, she desires a change of scenery and is aiming to make story-telling a full-time occupation. She is a lover of all things wild and magical, from sweet wine to exotic beasts, and from starry skies to snowy mountain-tops. 

When she’s not writing, Lily enjoys spending time with her closest people and her most beloved creatures, delving deep into nature, or discovering new parts of her fantasy world, Erlahain.