I’ve honestly been putting off this series for more than two years now (actually since I started blogging probably) because despite hearing great things about it, I’ve also heard it’s intense and all the fans always say it involves a lot of tears. And I just wasn’t ready to invest my time in another tear jerking intense world. But I finally decided to dive in and maybe I regret not reading it earlier, but I also think it found me at the perfect time.
If I have to choose a few words to describe the plot of this book, they would be fast paced, engaging and unputdownable. I just picked up the book on a whim and before I even realized, I was halfway done and then I went on to finish in a couple more hours. The story is very intense, the world is brutal, and I spent every chapter quite scared about what was gonna happen next. The author manages to create this very bleak atmosphere where there’s very less hope, but I just clung to some glimmers of it, wishing it paid off. And wow it was totally worth it.
Laia is such a naive and sheltered character and it broke my heart to see how scared and confused she was a lot of the time, unsure of whom to trust and not knowing if she will survive but still not losing her focus on saving her brother. I admired her for keeping her wits about her even in such dire circumstances, but it was definitely towards the end that I realized there’s so much more potential for her to be an awesome character.
Elias is a tortured soul and it was interesting to see him feel conflicted every step of the way. I still don’t think he tried enough to do the right thing, but hopefully he’ll get more opportunities to do that in the later books. And whatever problems I may have had with his character in usual (non-pandemic) times, I flew through the book so fast that I frankly didn’t notice. I just found him quite sympathetic. I’m also not yet all in for the romance between both of them but I can see there is a bond and I’m definitely excited to see more conversations between them.
Helene is definitely the most fascinating character in this book but I’m not in her fan club yet. She is extremely capable and probably has had to be the best to achieve her position, and she is completely loyal to the causes (and persons) she believes in – which are highly admirable qualities – but she also has a ruthless streak and I’m much more interested to see where the author decides to take her character. But one thing I have to say, no one really treats her well and she totally deserves to punish them all for their atrocious behaviors.
There is also quite an ensemble of smaller characters and I have to commend the author because I remember most of them long after I finished the book, and that happens very less these days. What made it more interesting is that I could never guess the exact motivations of many of these side characters and while we do get some surprising reveals, I’m sure we’ll get more. But my favorite of the lot has to be Izzi because she is so sweet and just wants a friend, and she may have suffered horribly since childhood but she has a heart of steel. I hope we’ll see her again.
To conclude, I’m so glad my Stars and Sorcery book club chose this book as our May BOTM forcing me to finally pick it up, because now I know what I was missing out. This is such a popular series that I don’t think I need to say more to recommend it, but if you are someone who hasn’t read it yet but loves intense and brutal fast paced fantasies, go check this out. I have made up my mind and I’m now gearing up for a binge read of the next two !!!