Warning: mild spoilers ahead.
Book title: Dark, foreboding, and absolutely amazing.
Cover: WOAH. Pretty cool, right?
“Seventeen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is in the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the chance to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
“Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior – and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather – she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it, only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.”
Suffice it to say, I had some high hopes for this book.
So, onto the story:
First: this book is a fantasy written in first person, present tense, which I thought was pretty cool. It used to be, fantasy novels were almost always in third person, past tense and dystopian/sci-fi were in first person, (sometimes) present tense. Anyway, it was a little surprising at first, but you get used to it.
Second: I loved Meira. I loved how she wanted to be willing to help in any way possible, but really she just wanted to remain her own person and do things on her own terms. I also loved how her weapon of choice was a chakram, because I’ve never heard of it, and it’s such a lovely change from swords and archery (though I also love swords and archery, so…)
I also love the dynamic between Meira and Sir. However, as much as I wanted to like the other characters (Mather and Theron, specifically), it was a bit difficult. I feel like they weren’t developed particularly well. It’s understandable that, considering the way the story is told, Meira is the only one who gets really developed. But I wish we could’ve seen a bit more of Theron and Mather. Maybe that’ll come in the sequel?
I think my biggest issue was its predictability. I won’t give anything away, of course, but even in the beginning, I was like… something doesn’t feel right. And midway through the book, I’m about 90% sure what’s going to happen in the end; I just read it because I was 10% unsure, and the book was well-written enough to push through.
Speaking of endings, though, wow. The part right before the climax was probably my favorite, because Meira really seems to grow as a character. But the ending was pretty action-packed as well, and does a pretty good job at hinting what Book 2’s going to be about.
So I’m going to rate this book as 4 stars.
As a side note for any authors planning to write about a battle: if you live in a castle and your castle is attacked, I’d probably suggest spending the few hours before the attack strengthening your defenses, rather than shoving all of your troops outside the walls. Unless the king being attacked is bad at war (as is the case in the book)- in which case, it’s perfectly okay to show them make mistakes like these. Besides, the king defending his castle still won, so… He must’ve done something right.