“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.
Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.
Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.
This book was blowing up my Twitter feed some weeks ago, so I went ahead and downloaded it on my kindle to see if it was worth all the hype. It was! My thoughts:
What I liked:
Amazing world building. I love it when fantasy authors build layers upon layers of a world filled with different languages, different people, mixed with different likes and prejudices. It really brings novels like this to life.
The problem. What you have here is a kingdom that is trying to stamp out faith in the true God and it’s done in such a way that is completely believable and has shades of reality in it.
It’s long, and yet it feels like the pages fly by. A fantasy novel, in my opinion, loses its credibility if its under 300 pages (some people like short books, I adore long novels). And yet, I wasn’t ready for it to end.
The characters. They stay with you. I found myself thinking about them even after I had finished the book:
Kyrin and her brother. Loved them. I love how committed they are to each other and the sacrifices they are willing to make on each others behalf. I was very involved in their relationship and very concerned that one or the other might not make it out of this book alive. And Kyrin is a great heroine. She’s strong, she can fight, she’s gifted, but she sticks to her faith and she doesn’t waver and so she becomes a heroine I can trust.
Jace is a very interesting character. He has this heritage that is really doing him no favors, and yet he’s the one you want around in a fight. I liked Jace. You can’t help but like Jace. I will say, though, that at times I did wish he was proud of something about himself.
The secondary characters are amazing and will have you on pins and needles.
The romance. It’s not quite developed in this book. In fact, Kyrin and Jace don’t meet until around 70% of the novel. But surprisingly enough, though I was anxious for them to meet, I never felt the need to skim to get there. I was very involved in what they were occupied with. But when they do meet, I really like how their relationship begins to unfold. And I’m eager to see more between them.
Spiritually, I love the idea of standing up for your faith, even if it means death. The novel beautifully portrays what faith looks like.
What I didn’t like:
I think we have to wait a whole year for the next book. 😦
Romantic Scale: 5
Overall, a wonderful fantasy novel that will completely pull you in.