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Reading Time: 5 minutes -

Welcome back to another fantastic tour with the fine folks at Escapist Book Tours! Today, I’m pleased to host The 13th Zodiac by L. Krauch, a Final Fantasy-inspired epic fantasy with actual romance. This is another book that has been on my TBR for a while thanks to meeting the author on Twitter, as we both have self-published books with thirteen in the title. A wonderful coincidence! So let’s get to it!

This book tour is hosted by Escapist Book Tours. To find out more and view other awesome blogs on the tour, follow their Twitter @Escapist_Tours

The 13th Zodiac is a High Fantasy, slow-burn romance with a hint of Anime. Originally, L. Krauch wrote it as a comic book in High school. Now, 20 years, and three kids later, she sat down and wrote a novel. So, grab some tea, slice up an apple, and enjoy this multi-PoV journey 20 years in the making.

Running from his past finally catches up to Jase Raion, an ex-member of the Ashen Guard and the Crown Prince of Chall. After settling on the island of Aria, he receives an unexpected contract: The lost princess of Aria was discovered living in the port town of Brighton, on the outskirts of the island Kingdom.

A trip to the markets in Brighton ends abruptly as Liya Fairaway stumbles into Jase. She vanishes in the busy marketplace when Jase realizes who she is, the lost princess of Aria and the bearer of the 13th Zodiac: Eternity. And his target.

Something ancient pulls them together, a bond that neither can deny. Reluctantly at first, Jase joins Liya and the other Zodiac to end the threat of Soren Raion, the King of Chall.

Time is not on their side, and Fate has other plans.

Book Mashup: Florida Man Kidnapped by Strangers to Kill His Dad • Is that a gunblade?! • Final Fantasy with Actual Romance

Our Review

I’m a big Final Fantasy fan. The first one I ever played was Final Fantasy VII, which I imagine I share in common with many folks. But Final Fantasy VIII was “mine” in the sense it was the first one I bought on launch day. What I loved about number VIII was the love story between main character Squall and Rinoa, as well as Laguna in the background. VII touched upon romance, but it was VIII that really started it for me, and subsequent entries into the Final Fantasy franchise also had a romance side plot, which was certainly rare in video games back then. The 13th Zodiac describes itself as a Final Fantasy with actual romance, and I’d say that’s a perfect description.

The 13th Zodiac is quite clearly inspired by the Final Fantasies of old with JRPG and anime influences throughout. It’s an epic fantasy that spans mythic lore and world-ending stakes with a magic system based around the zodiac, as you may have guessed! In this world, characters born under a certain sign can tap into magical powers based on them. For example, water signs such as Cancer have healing abilities. Astrology was something that fascinated me as a teen as well, so it’s interesting to see this implemented.

The story then revolves around the gods of Time and Fate. They have a bit of a falling out, which leads Time to create Eternity, the 13th zodiac. When a mortal is born bearing the sign of Eternity, Time decides she wants Eternity’s power back for herself, and in true Final Fantasy fashion, its mortals who are caught up in the battle of titans.

Liya is one of our main protagonists, a commoner living a peaceful life with her family. Until one day, the crown prince, Jase, stumbles upon her – literally – and realizes that she’s the missing princess of the country his father stole, and also the 13th zodiac of Eternity! Liya’s life comes crashing down as she learns the truth of her past that was locked away in her memories. Now, she has no choice but to run as Time comes after her. Luckily for her, Jase has his own reasons for betraying his father and helping her out. The two of them remind me of Squall and Rinoa in many ways, as well as Tidus and Yuna, and other Final Fantasy pairings. Liya has some interesting magical abilities while Jase rocks his own gunblade! And there’s nothing cooler than a gunblade! They make for a cute couple and develop a slow-burn romance.

While this story focuses on Liya and Jase’s POV, The 13th Zodiac has an ambitious cast of POV characters, including Liya’s family, best friend, and enemies! Keeping track of these could be a little confusing at first – especially as there are a few that start with J! But the side characters all have their own flaws and motivations that make them an interesting group. I’m a fan of Tokei, who is a feminist softie and a sweetheart!

There’s plenty of world-building, exploration, and action throughout. The story takes a little while to kick off, but once it’s moving, it goes at a fast and satisfying pace. If you love stories with a gaming or anime touch, then this is for you.

I could definitely see The 13th Zodiac as an entry into the Final Fantasy series and I look forward to seeing where the story goes next!

The 13th Zodiac by L. Krauch was published on August 13, 2021 at 405 pages.

Buy The 13th Zodiac on Amazon.

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Want to Win a Copy of The 13th Zodiac?

The author is generously giving away a copy of the ebook or paperback! Enter for free below. This competition is open until April 17th, 2022.

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About the Author

The 13th Zodiac is a High Fantasy, slow-burn romance with a hint of Anime. Originally, L. Krauch wrote it as a comic book in high school. Back then, it was merely pages drawn on computer paper to bring smiles to her audience of 13. The problem was, it had no plot. Now, 20 years, and three kids later, she sat down, gave that plotless comic a plot and turned it into a sprawling high fantasy novel.

Her day job is sticking things to newborns, and by sticking things to newborns, she means hearing screens.

In her free time, she hangs out with her black cat, Luna, and keeps three small humans from killing each other. She and her husband have been happily married for 12 years and originally met in a MMO. To maintain her sanity, she now writes. And she may or may not have a thing for apples.

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