My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was fantastic. Being stressed out with school, and midterms, and all my university assignments I could really get lost in this book.
Let's do a pros and cons list because I'm just not feeling creative today...
-The characters are all... wait for it... ADULTS! I know, it's crazy! I'm so tired of reading the generic reused fantasy formula of "insert orphaned teen" "give teen random superpower" "summon other people to put that random teen on a pedestal". UGHHH. But, not in this book. The story starts of with our heroine, a mature 25 year old woman that is already a lieutenant and working for the enforcers or the police officers of her world. Then we have Sicarius who is probably in his mid 30s, Maldynado who is in his 20s, Books who is probably in his 40s. The youngest in the group is Akstyr and he is 18, and kind of treated as a younger brother/sidekick of the group.
-This brings me to my next pro, the heroine has no magical ability or superpower, nor are her actions motivated due to some vague prophecy. So... Why is she doing the things she's doing? At first, to save her own life. Which she does many, many time however, she always gets out of sticky situations through the sheer power of her will, intelligence, and sharp tongue. She's no damsel in distress, in fact, it's usually her ideas that end up saving everything else.
-The witty banter... Oh, I'm pretty sure I laughed every time I turned the page.
"we're going to have to get out of here ourselves." Amaranthe stood up and groped around. If she could find a puddle of water or something slippery she could loosen her bonds. "Anyone have any ideas?"[...]-Finally, what I absolutely loved in this book was the lack of sudden "love-at-first-sight" romance. I've already started reading the second book, and the characters have only just started treating each other as wary friends.
"Certainly," Maldynado said from beneath her. "Come sit on my lap and we'll discuss them."
She paused thoughtfully.
"Amaranthe." Books sounded scandalized at her silence. "Please assure me you're not considering succumbing to this troglodyte's advances."
"Well," she said, "I was debating the merits of certain fluids as a means of loosening ropes, but let's, ah, explore other possibilities first."
-I don't have too many issues with the novel. However, I did notice a lack of a good world-building. Not much is know about the world outside of the empire. Heck, not much is known about even the empire itself. The author's descriptions of the environment meet just the bare minimum at best. Often times, I find myself unable to really imagine the immediate surroundings of the characters. To add onto that, a lot of the politics and "facts" are kind of thrown in your face in giant blocks of text usually in the form of Amaranthe's rambling. This might bother a lot of people that read fantasy for the world building.
But if you prefer characterization over world, then you'd probably love this book for just the characters.
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