Publishing Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Young Adult Fantasy Fiction
The Premise from the Publisher: "A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war. In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light" (SMP).
My overall thoughts and review: I will say that in the beginning of the book, I found it a little hard to get into. You are immediately thrown into this world and while the character development is great, I would've liked some historical context ahead of time in an easier fashion for me to digest it all. That said, once I got about 100 pages into the book, I started to enjoy the perspectives of the characters a lot more. It's definitely a book that I would recommend taking your time reading because there is a lot to digest in terms of names and places, so it can get confusing. The book follows Nadya, who is an incredibly valuable cleric, because she has the gift of communication with the gods, and she wants to save Kalyazin from Tranavia. And in contrast, there's Serefin, who is the High Prince of Tranavia, and he is tasked with capturing her. However, Nadya finds some unlikely allies and makes a plan to assassinate the mad king to stop the war to save her country, while Serefin is called home suddenly because he needs to marry? I wasn't sure what to think of Nadya to begin with, and unfortunately, she wasn't what kept me reading the entire book. It's like she knows she's important, but can't help being a bit arrogant about that fact? On the other hand, the character of Serefin is definitely my favorite. I liked his voice, and just his overall approach to things. I found myself eagerly turning the pages so I could read more from his perspective. The book does well in terms of the fast moving plot that picks up in the 2/4 of the book and carries on until the end of the book. It also does well tackling some really dark themes while surprising the reader at every turn. It does make you think the bigger questions that can often come when discussing religion, like is this right or wrong? and the actions people sometimes do in the name of faith. It's definitely unlike any other fantasy YA I've read before, and I did like that it felt like some elements of the Middle East and Russia were kind of taken to build the world. I'm intrigued by what comes next in this series. If you are a fan of YA fantasy books, but you always wanted a darker element or aspect to the text, I would definitely recommend you pick this up.
For an exclusive excerpt from the book, click here!
Available for pre-order/purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository
There's also an Indigo Book Box featuring the book: here!
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