Hey all, Dani here.
I am so excited to talk about this book today. Also, hello, I’m back already with another review. Look at me go. Honestly I’m feeling pretty good about things right now. I have already looked over my blogging monthly planner and started scheduling posts that I want to write up and when to post them and all that. If I can keep up with these plans–especially if I can keep writing them up a little bit in advance–then I actually have posts figured out until the middle/end of August already. But I don’t want to jinx myself or bite off more than I can chew, so we’ll just see what happens. I’m really hoping that things will go well. I really have missed blogging.
Oh, and I guess I should say that I have a vacation coming up the first week of August. Damian and I are going to visit some of his family for a day or two, and then we have a couple days booked at a cabin getaway, and then we’ll finish the week off back at home, sort of relaxing and also doing some cleaning and organizing around the house. I’ll talk about it sometime soon, but we’re fixing up our spare bedroom to be a D&D Preparation Room. Maybe I’ll take pictures of the before/after process and write up a post about our D&D set-up.
Anyway, this is not a gaming post. This is a book post, so let’s go ahead and jump into today’s NetGalley review.
A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead, in this dark YA fantasy by A.M. Strickland, author of Beyond the Black Door, whom Richard Kadrey calls “a storyteller of both grace and power.”
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.
Rating: 5 stars
I loved this book! I was sucked into it so quickly and just wanted to keep reading and reading. Yes, this is my first A.M. Strickland book, but I had a feeling I would enjoy it, so I also picked up a copy of Beyond the Black Door as well, so perhaps I’ll read it soon enough. Anyway, I picked both books up in a release-day event signing that the author was doing at her local bookstore in Alaska. So I had to wait a few extra days to get my finished copy, but it came signed and with some pretty neat bookmarks and such, so well worth it.
Rovan and Ivrilos and Japha and Lydea were such an intriguing core group of characters to follow, though I enjoyed the secondary and other side characters as well. There was such an interesting blend of appearances and sexual and romantic preferences, and to me it all felt very natural. The family and relationship dynamics in this story were so wonderful and delightfully complex and fantastically realized. There was just a lot going on, but I don’t mean that to mean that it was complicated or difficult to understand.
Actually I think Japha was probably my favorite character and their relationship with Rovan and with the others at the palace was really interesting. Then again, I think the Lydea-Rovan-Ivrilos relationship is utterly fascinating as well. That’s not even a spoiler or anything…it’s pretty much stated in the summary, with the spirit and the princess battling for Rovan’s heart.
The magic system was also really intriguing to me. There’s blood magic but then there’s like death/spirit magic as well, and I think both magical ideas were put together in an interesting way that also made sense for the setting. It was also interesting to see how Thanapolis treated the magic differently then other countries.
There is a fair amount of class politics and international politics going on in this story as well.
Honestly, I don’t even know if this review sounds cohesive or anything. It’s basically just me throwing out parts of the story and expressing how much I enjoyed it or loved it. Because I can’t even really think of anything that I didn’t like about the story.
I was hooked on the characters and the world and the story so quickly, and I just devoured this book in very little time. I’m probably going to re-read it, both because I liked it, and because I’m sure I probably missed out on some cool things in my desperation to keep reading.
Basically, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read more books by A.M. Strickland.
That is it from me for today, but I will definitely be back soon with more geeky content.