Hey all, Dani here.
Hello, and I hope you are all having a wonderful day. I know I’m definitely looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend with Damian. We don’t really have any exciting plans…unless Damian has decided to actually surprise me with going out for Valentine’s Day, because it’s not really a holiday we celebrate. We celebrate our love year-round so one “special” day actually isn’t anything other than a normal day for us. Though, we might go out for dinner and a movie, because Sonic the Hedgehog is in theaters now, and we’re geeks so naturally we don’t plan to do romantic movies this time of year.
Anyway, today I bring you another book review, and it’s a book I really enjoyed, though I think another read-through will make it even better than it already is. Sometimes I can tell that I’m devouring a book in a way that I’m probably missing some connections. That’s okay, especially if I can also already tell that it is a book I will keep and re-read.
All right, let’s jump into the review.
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
ISBN: 0593128222 (ISBN13: 9780593128220)
Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
Rating: 4 stars
First of all, I absolutely loved the world-building in this book. Finding out that it was pitched as “Pokemon” meets “Avatar: the Last Airbender” definitely caught my interest, and now that I’ve finished the book I can say that I can see why those comparisons are made.
The magic system in this book is pretty interesting, because there are some people who have magical control over an element, but there are others who can shadepact, which basically binds their soul with an animal and that bond actually makes both stronger in a lot of ways. So the magic system alone brings in those comparison elements.
Even more than that, the political maneuvering in this book is so very well done. There are a number of countries involved in these spats for power, and as someone who likes to explore these power struggles, this aspect of the story definitely appealed to me.
Oh, and there is pretty much natural diversity going on here. It really seems to be nothing to have characters all across the LGBT+ community, which is great. It seemed like there were lesbian, bisexual, and straight characters in the core POV cast, but then in the secondary cast there was a character who identified as a gender while having been born the opposite. I applaud this, because like I said, it all felt very natural and common and not done in an over-the-top let me push diversity in your lap sort of way.
My main issue with this story was that a few times it seemed like a bunch of characters and countries were introduced at the same time and it made it a little difficult to follow.
Still, I really enjoyed this book, and I feel like it’s one that I can already say that I liked, but reading it again might turn it into a book I love.
Where to Get a Copy
You can also check with your local library.