This book was one I kept hearing about but was on the fence on reading it. When I heard this was the author’s debut novel, it piqued my interest. Fantasy and mystery novels are my favorite genres and this book had both. I am pleased I took the plunge and cannot wait to read the sequel.
There are four main characters in this novel, but we see the viewpoint through three of them. What I like was how well the transitions from one point of view to the other were. I have read books where you can blink and not realize a new character took over. It took me out of the story because I would have to figure out what character it was. In this book, each chapter (s) represented someone else. This kept me in the story and always knew who I was seeing the story from.
Zélie Adebola is a complicated character. She is headstrong, a troublemaker, and loyal to her family, but for others, they have to earn it. Sometimes, I feel she is selfish, but I remind myself she is still a teenager who had to learn how to grow up and survive quickly. Zélie is the main protagonist. I love how well-developed she is as a character, and you can see Zélie changing throughout the novel. Her anchor is her family. Without them, she is lost, and anger easily creeps into her emotions. Her anger towards the monarchy fuels her control of her magic, but it also makes her lose it. I cannot wait to read the sequel and continue reading her journey and development.
Zélie’s older brother is Tzain. Like I said, he is Zélie’s anchor. They are extremely close, which makes some of his actions throughout the book feel like a betrayal to Zélie. I enjoy seeing this sibling dynamic. They fight and even though it was messy, they make up and reaffirm their love and connection to each other. Tzain is cautious, and the level-headed sibling. He is loyal to family, which is always his priority and friends. He is the sensitive and caring sibling which balances Zélie’s characteristics. I enjoyed Tzain very much. He is a great and well-developed character.
The character I feel had the most change in this novel was Amari Olúborí. She turned out to be my favorite amongst everyone. I feel more connected with her. She started out as a soft-spoken and timid character but ended up breaking out of her shell. I think Amari is still soft-spoken but has gained more confidence within herself by the end of the book. What I loved was her changes were realistic and not rushed just to get to the next part of development. Amari is very well-developed, and you can see the conflicts, both internal and external, throughout the book. She is the character I am looking forward to the most in the sequel.
Inan is Amari’s older brother and crown prince of Orïsha. He is loyal to the throne and trained by his father to put duty above all else. Inan hates violence. His training has taught him it is a necessary evil. He has a good heart and wants to do the right thing but struggles to trust his gut. Inan’s relationship with Amari differs from Zélie and Tzain’s. Where theirs is close, Inan and Amari’s is strained because of their upbringing. Inan, like the others, is a well-developed character.
I love worlds written within ours, with a mix of mythology (whether it’s real or made up). The world development was terrific. The magic aspic was great, but the clans and such got confusing. I would recommend this book to those who love magic and mythology. There is a heavy racial and supremacy theme, but the writing is excellent, especially for a debut author.
I give this book a 4/5
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