Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.
NOT A BAD START.
I guess I must not have realized this was an adult fantasy? Which was totally fine, but the set-up was definitely different.
Starting out with the character at a young age, following her through an academy and then seeing what she does after can feel a bit long winded, and it did here. I don’t need to see every facet of the growing up phases, lets get into the action and move the plot from there.
I did find it to be a very easy listen (audiobook was great!). The world building made sense and I understood enough of the magic system to not feel lost as the pages turned. It’s an interesting set-up with evil forest spirits and the like, clearly something bigger is happening with them and I look forward to exploring that more.
While the character arc for Daleina is in progress, I did like where this book took her. Some of the other side characters like Ven grew on me too. What didn’t work was the romantic sub-plots. I’m fine with them being sub, but it felt haphazardly thrown together and when Daleina kissed someone I had to listen to it three times to make sure I figured out what was happening.
A good start to an older series, I do have plans to continue with the next book! The ending was absolutely wild and I didn’t mind the gruesomeness of it all.
Overall audience notes:
- Language: some
- Romance: closed door
- Violence: high
- Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, descriptive explanations of loss of life, very bloody/gory, battle themes