My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Cie. (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, War Setting, Family
I was so excited when I received this book because my advance copy was HUGE and HEAVY and it just felt like an important book to hold in my hands. It didn’t even have a cover design, so in addition to feeling important, it looked very mysterious.
So I took my time with it, trying to absorb every word, phrase, and sentence. I am always curious about books that qualify their main protagonists. Like, here we have a PRINCE, a KILLER, a GAMBLER, a LEADER and a SICK girl. It’s definitely the Six of Crows effect.
But in this case, instead of helping me get acquainted with the characters, by knowing this one important thing about each of them, I felt like they actually limited my understanding of them. In other words, I kept thinking of them as this one thing—killer, gambler, prince, etc.—instead of waiting to form my opinion of their personality and qualities and then maybe connect with them or not.
Thankfully, this is as much a character-driven story as a story-driven one, so even if the characters take a while to become more than one-dimensional, the world-building is a curious one. Plus, there is this sense of urgency in the atmosphere. Something dark, something important, something life-changing is on the horizon and we’re there to witness it all.
There are better YA fantasies out there, I won’t hide it, but there is something about this book that makes you feel like you need to read it, otherwise you might just miss out…
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