AUTHOR: Emily A. Duncan
PUBLICATION DATE: April 2nd, 2019
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Self harm, Alcoholism
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.
I wanted to love this one so bad. It sounded right up my alley. I can’t pinpoint why exactly I didn’t super love it, but I didn’t. That being said, I didn’t hate it either. I actually quite enjoyed it, it just didn’t completely live up to my expectations.
The beginning started off wonderfully. We jump right into the action and the world building isn’t hard to follow at all. Unfortunately, after about the first 15%, it slowed down a lot. I thought about DNFing it several times until the 50% mark. Though picked back up again after that and I enjoyed the last half of the book.
I loved that Nadya can talk to the gods. I found this super interesting. I also think it’s really cool that each god grants her magical powers. She is fighting for her country, Kalyazin, and her gods. I am very curious to know if we will learn anymore about the woman who abandoned her at the monastery.
I also really liked Serefin. Serefin is the Tranavian prince who has been at the front of the war since he came of age at 16. I don’t think anyone under the age of 25 should be as tired and damaged as he is, but I get why he is. He wants what’s best for his country, even if that means getting his people to do awful things. Speaking of his people, I absolutely adored Ostyia and hope we get to learn more about her in the next book. I also really liked Kacper. I almost thought there was going to be something romantic between Serefin and Kacper because of how touchy feely they are, but I guess not? Maybe in one of the next books.
Malachiasz. He is a Tranavian that Nadya ends up working with. I really can’t say much about him because of spoilers, but I will say that he is an incredibly intriguing character.
Parijahan and Rashid are Akolan (a country torn between Kalyazin and Tranavia.) They are traveling with Malachiasz when Nadya meets them all. I loved them both a lot and want to know more about them, especially Rashid. We learn a little about why Parijahan is on her way to Tranavia, but we don’t really know why Rashid followed her.
Anna is a woman from the monastery who escapes with Nadya, but is only in the book for about half of it. She was a bit of a dull character with not very much personality, but I have a feeling she will be in the next book.
I both loved and hated the ending of the book. I did have a lot of questions and some confusion in the end, but I’m confident they’ll be answered by the end of the trilogy. I can’t wait to see what happens next though!
Overall it was not a bad book at all. I enjoyed most of the characters. The plot was slightly lacking, but I feel like it was overall a strong debut.
Below is a handy pronunciation guide I found on twitter!!
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.