DISCLAIMER: I received a free ebook copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
It’s really easy to make assumptions about this book from the artwork and back cover blurb. The good assumptions are right on the nose for a happy ending: strong female characters and two kingdoms that must unite to overcome adversity. The bad assumptions are never fulfilled. Instead, the reader gets a sprawling cast of well-developed and defined characters and a fantasy world steeped in magic that still has a legitimate scientific bent to it’s environmental catastrophe.
This book was a bit of a conundrum for me. I both really enjoyed it and, at times, found it difficult to read. I ended up spending a lot of time thinking about why. In the end, this is the conclusion I came to: This novel absolutely deserved to be published. But I think the authors did themselves a disservice by going the self-publication route. Because of the excellent quality of the tale being told, I became more critical about other things that would not have been an issue after time in the hands of a substantive editor. A lot of the narrative language could have been tightened up in places where it distracted from the story, and an editor would have helped with issues of pacing and voice. For example, though the book is marketed as adult fantasy, the voice and language of all the POV characters evoked YA to me, to the point that I was genuinely surprised by a tastefully explicit sex scene about a third of the way into the book and had to recalibrate.
(Side note: I did appreciate that the authors had obviously employed a copy-editor due to the lack of most issues that can plague most self-published novels.)
This novel will appeal to readers who are looking for a very different sort of post-apocalyptic novel based in a beautifully created fantasy world.
I am very excited to see more from these authors, especially as their writing experience grows and develops.
Currently reading: A Jinni’s Wish by B. Leslie Tirrell