My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Buy it here:
Content warnings: racism heavily implied (and at some points outright stated)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in kindle format from the author in exchange for a fair review. Well mostly fair.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I didn’t want it to end. I mean I did so I could gush about it but I didn’t because it was so good.
It took me a little bit to understand WHY there was the animosity between the two groups of people-the Elsyrians and the Lagrimari (basically the light skinned people and the dark skinned people respectively). But once I figured it out (like 2 chapters before it was outright stated) EVERYTHING started to make SO MUCH SENSE.
Let me back up some first. This is set in an alternative 1920s style world. It didn’t feel like that. It felt like a fantasy planet. Which was a VERY good thing. Also, DO YOU SEE THAT BEAUTIFUL FUCKING COVER? IT’S GORGEOUS. Not only that, but our main character resembles that cover. Dark skinned, not straight hair, it’s GLORIOUS.
This book was everything I was looking for in a fantasy world without knowing that was what I was looking for.
I am not sure if this was intended or not but there was a great social commentary in the book that I really want to take and shove down a few people’s throats (well if it would do any good I would).
And the names! They’re so beautiful. Jasminda and Jaqros. I just…..ARGH!
And the title makes so much sense after reading the entire book.
IF YOU ARE A FANTASY LOVER AND WANT TO SEE A FANTASY BOOK WITH A FEMALE MAIN CHARACTER WHO ACTUALLY FEELS HUMAN AND NOT TROPEY BUT IS STRONG THIS IS MOST DEFINITELY YOUR BOOK
I have been recommending this book to EVERYONE since I was at like 45% finished. And I’m going to continue to recommend this.
There are so many feelings running through me right now that I can’t even articulate them at this point. Basically though, you should all read this book.
This book had it’s fair share of detestable characters and likeable characters.
Not only do we have a bi-racial main character and an interracial hetero romance, but we also have a lesbian couple as well. And NONE of it feels tropey. There’s showing instead of a lot of telling for the romances. The best part? THERE IS NO FUCKING LOVE TRIANGLE. Which gives this book so many bonus points in my loving it. It is definitely a book that I will re-read.
This is also a review that I’m going to have to come back to for cons of it because I’m so full of love for it right now I need to sleep on it because there were bits that made me go “ehhhhhh”. But EVERY good book will have pros and cons. For now however, I really enjoyed this book and think everyone should read it and support this author. This is a definite example of WHY we need more diverse SFF (and every time I mention that I keep bringing up this book so I’m sure all my friends at this point are sick of it).
Also as a complete aside, I started reading this at a party I was at and was more into this book than the party even though I was with a bunch of friends I rarely see. I read the first few chapters there.
Ok, now that I’ve had some time to sleep on it, I’ve got some more thoughts about it.
As far as the detestable characters go, pretty much most of the city of Elsira falls into that category. Including her aunt at first. Her reasons for being the way she is don’t make her any better but they at least explain why she has to be the way she is. The guy on the council who is a double dealing snake and his daughter. They are just the worst. I understand why it was thought that the other guy was responsible but it’s always the people you least expect who are usually the culprits. At least in books.
So, once Jasminda got the stone and started seeing the visions from the queen who sleeps, I started very slowly putting things together. I’m still not 100% sure about the visions she got in the cave (obviously blood magic but my questions are more why and what for).
I like the fact that Jack actually tries to do things for her that might make her happy at the end. I mean I’m not one for surprises. Really HATE surprises. To the point that I’m not fond of characters who try to plan surprises for their friends/family/significant others. Especially since most of the times the surprises are very self serving. And come with the undercurrent of “I’m a smug asshole and I did this just so that I get your gratitude”. But Jack’s surprise to Jasminda I feel has the potential to be something she’ll actually enjoy and to be in that realm of “I did this for you because I honestly think and hope you like it and want you to be happy”. Which is rarer in books I’ve found. And the ones that fall in that realm I happen to enjoy more.
I especially liked the fact that the author actually described her world. She didn’t just say that it was like x place in x time and expect you to extrapolate. She both shows and tells you what the world looks like. And that’s something that a lot of fantasy authors are guilty of not doing too much of. And I truly appreciate those who do.
Cons of the book: Honestly I don’t have a whole lot of them. I’ve thought extensively on this and can really only come up with one. My one con is that it has a bit of “the chosen one” feel to it. Which while good I’ve felt is a little over done. I’ve read a lot of books lately that are like that. So it might just be me being burned out on that.
There’s a lot more I want to talk about that’s all spoiler-y stuff but since wordpress doesn’t really allow for spoiler formatting I really don’t want to because of it. This is definitely a book that I want to talk with people about though.