Hi, Hey, Hello!
In a similar way to how I didn’t quite mean to read about men falling in love in back to back books, I didn’t mean to read a book that was so unapologetically black after reading a book that was about race. But it happened, because I was hyped for this book and the cover is all kinds of stunning.
I mean, just look at it:
This book had be hooked from the opening page. It wasn’t even a full page or anything, it was just a taste. But that was enough. I was in and I didn’t want to leave. Which was impressive to be honest as I was on the final leg of an afternoon that had been spent travelling and I felt so tired. But it was just that good of a book. It felt so grounded in reality from so early and when you have that you’re onto a winner.
Let’s however start with the drawbacks, of which there are actually very few. It felt a little bit like it dragged on in places. Mainly just because there were so many peaks. There were so many highlights and it was fairly action packed and with that it felt a little bit like a rollercoaster that kept just going up and down and there was a small part of me that felt like I just needed it to come to some kind of conclusion.
The conclusion that it came to was wild. I was exhausted by thinking about it and all the possibilities that it lead to. I’m actually kind of stressed about it. It both made the whole journey up until that point worth it but then also made me feel very impatient for the next one. So, yeah, an ending that I approved of.
Let’s move onto the characters now shall we, Zélie I loved. For the most part. There were times when it was glaringly obvious that she was a teenager and she was making some decisions that were…not wise. That made parts of it frustrating, but only because as the reader in this case you actually know more than whoever’s perspective you are reading. Not by much, but more than if it were just a first person narrative.
That was something else that I really enjoyed about this book. The fact that it was told from multiple perspectives. It meant that you could kind of see everything from all angles. For the most part. I am however a greedy little shit and there was a part of me that was craving a Tzain POV so damn hard. He seemed to be going through a lot in other people’s narratives and I wanted to know what the hell he thought about this whole shitstorm that his sister got him involved in with royalty.
I enjoyed reading Amari’s perspective so much. Mainly because I am obsessed with royalty being out of place in the world that they live in. I think that might be weird. But like, I realised as I was writing this that I have read a lot of books that involve royalty being out of place in some way and I have fucking devoured all of them. I liked the perspective that she offered on the whole thing as well because she was so willing to do what she thought was right by these people that she had limited knowledge of tbh. It went on a full arc as she revealed herself to be totally badass despite her upbringing and the position she was raised to have on things.
I also really enjoyed the interplay between Amari and Zélie. It really morphs into something kind of amazing considering the contentious start that it takes. It is one of those perfectly formed female friendships that is never catty for the sake of being catty and progresses the exact way that you think it would when two people are thrown together and then learn where the other is coming from and then things progress naturally. They didn’t remain enemies just for the sake of it. I love me a female friendship.
Inan is a delightfully complex character, I mean he was somehow my least favourite character because the others were just so great. But the conflict that he creates is just so great. I am interested to see where he goes as a character and how he comes to terms with himself and what it means for his life. He was a dick for the most part, but I felt bad for him and also could understand where he was coming from and so it made writing him off completely as a dick a little difficult. However he totally was. But it’s complicated. I loved that it was complicated.
That was a massive plus point for the whole thing. The way it was written was just outstanding. The world building was just incredible. I am always a little bit wary of high fantasy because it can be a bit difficult to get your head around, but this made it so easy. It felt so real. From the moment it started up until it finished. Even though it was so fantastical, it felt so real. Another thing that I loved was how unapologetically black it was. It made me really take note of how little the representation for African literature/characters is in my everyday reading life. It really made me want to read more of it. I need better representation in my literature and am so going to try and make that the case in the future.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone. It’s great. It’s a rich world with great characters and high stakes. And the fantasy element of it is flawless.
Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!
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