Where do I start? This book had been one thing, absolutely mindblowning. It was just so amazing. I have never been this invested in a book ever. The pages just came and went and never stopped. Damn, that sequel’s release date seems long.
This book was something that I heard was dark fantasy and checked it out. Being the dark fantasy gal I was, I borrowed this book.
My expectations were high, but they were all met. The best thing: this was everything that I expected and so much more. So much that I just wanted to buy this book from the library.
Now, onto the review.
Most of the characters here were amazing. Even the more minor ones, I could tell the difference between all of them and even the minor ones.
Everyone has their goals, plans and motives. It was something hard to do, even within the rather wide cast. From the Marital Empire to the Scholar Resistance and even some of the slaves. They were vast, with many things that I liked and can relate. This diverse cast proved to be an interesting route and reminded me of some novels together.
Also, the romance, they actually felt believable. Some was a bit insta love but eventually developed into love. From Elias to Laia, the beginning made me feel as though they were just attracted to each other. To the later part when they to help each other. Then there is like two love interests for the both of them, well, I’m not gonna complain. As they are different in their way, although to be honest, Keenan feels forgettable. Helene stood out so much more and sometimes overshadowed Laia here. Keenan I just have some good feelings for as he did not have a lot of screentime. In fact the romance, there really wasn’t a lot of screen time for them to blossom. Even Elias and Laia didn’t have much pages together. Maybe the romance here could have been toned down and let it develop even more in the sequel. Otherwise it feels like insta love. Even though it was very mature and interesting to read. They make sacrifices but not filled with stupid mistakes.
Laia was a character that I could understand and even relate to. Also, she probably had the most character development. Laia begins like a cowards and runs away. And that she is pretty realistic. She eventually finds strength and move on. I just liked her afterwards. Before she was rather flat, but by the last 100 or so pages, I was overwhelmed. She made connections with what she knew, what she could see. She became someone who was brave by then. That was what I liked about her, she may be unable to fight, but she was still someone that I would admire.
Also, somewhere throughout the book, she also gives advice to Elias. That seems good. I still remember it, it was powerful. Also, she is realistic and I would say strong. Because not everyone can survive the Commandant and survive being a slave to her. Really that has to take some strength.
This guy I liked his chapters in the beginning. They were much more interesting, filled with more worldbuilding and the action. Until the later part, where everything picked up and ended in an equal. He is someone that was kind in a society where fears rules it. That has to take something. He is a killer and questions it many times. He wants to desert yet he is still susceptible to many things.
He questions many things. Having his own weak points being shown and Laia helping him both made them pretty rounded characters. He also regrets some decisions, which if he had accepted him would have just made him cruel or ruthless or even heartless. He may have moved on from the surface but certain things plagued him deep inside. That is someone with a conscience.
He is like a normal protagonist but really hard pressed in this book, as the Empire that he worked for was brutal. No kindness and actually conflicted him. As he does show some intelligence in not being too direct, well I think having a mother who would abandon you in the middle of a desert and still wants him dead would teach him to be more indirect.
Another word, I really like Helene. Even more so than Laia. Although I relate to her so much more, Helene was a strong woman. She made bargains for the person she loved, she loved pretty unconditionally and that she treasured friendships.
Also, she also does not agree with Elias on certain things. That is something that I like. Her opinion is another one, one that thinks that it is logical yet cruel one that didn’t mind the scholars being oppressed. Although she did want things to change.
She is friends and loves Elias but is also her own person. I can see that. She sacrifices things for the people that she cares about and not those that have mo relation to her. That is also different.
I don’t even know what to say. Her past had intrigued me and by the last part of the book, she was someone with a certain backstory of her own. I’m gonna assume that she was indeed raped. Well, that would be a downer for anyone. She moved on only blaming herself for her weakness. That was interesting. It gives some reason to her as a character. Also, she also had flaws unable to grasp onto certain things just that she makes sure that she does not do it again. That proven another interesting element here.
The plot was very well developed. Old threads were interwined and not just left behind. From the resistance to the blacksmith whom Darin was apprenticed to was never forgotten. The trials was something that would blow your mind away. The Augurs are pretty sick group of people. The plot is something that was intricate and that nothing was left untouched. From the beginning to the end, I was hooked. Although having some slow moments but it was good.
Also, how everything came together. As Laia makes discoveries and connects some dots together and that I also put them together. It was something that was very smart. The plot was very well. planned out and the book being very smart.
Well, I haven’t read such a smart novel for ya. The plot also includes having the characters plan, scheme and plot and outwitting each other with ploy behind and betrayals as well. Most of them are actually pretty smart. From the commandant to the resistance leader and even some of the supporting characters that contributed to the plot adding layers and intricacies was good.
This was something that I enjoyed immensely. The world was vast with only the magical creatures only coming in later and also in a way a deciding factor here with a hinted antagonist here. And that there were so many things that were interwined here into the story. In its own way setting up the entire story in the background and how they played a role. It was indirect but very interesting to see what had happened. This mostly happened through Laia’s POV which was something that was good.
The Augurs here are very interesting. They seem to interfere and are pretty heartless. But they stay neutral, only aiding when it comes. That was interesting, cruel but neutral. They remind me of the deities that I read from Chinese novels or mythology. They make deals, can see the past and many things as well. They were a group of people that were emotionless believing in what they saw to that of supporting them. And gave deals and choices to others.
This brutal world was something that I could immerse myself in and that I loved every bit of it. The world here was so hopeless but that was what I like and that no matter what people would still continue to find hope. This world had been a brutal ride for me, there are many instances that Laia gets pretty much hurt very badly even more so than Elias in some cases. Well, rape was used here a lot and that it nearly happens to Laia like a lot.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Reading the sequel, hell yes, this book was so amazing. I’m just hoping that it would be just as good.
Sweet Dreams Postings from Dawning Moon