We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.
A thousand years ago The Nameless One has ravaged the world. An ancestor of queen Sabran has managed to defeat him and now the only thing that keeps him binded is the House of Berethnet ruling over the queendom of Inys. To keep the world safe, Sabran has to ensure the continuity of her house, but the danger keeps getting closer and closer to her door.
This book is supposed to be “a feminist version of Lord of the Rings” and for the most part I disagree with this statement. But the writing made me think about Tolkien. A LOT. Unfortunately, for me that’s not the best thing. The world was masterfully crafted, every scene was vivid and detailed. But because of that we had to suffer through many, many pages that brought absolutely nothing to the story. I know that many people enjoy that kind of writing, but I don’t have the patience for it.
Before I start talking about the main characters, I would like to complain. I bought this book only because it was marketed as high fantasy with f/f romance. So, naturally, I would expect some f/f romance? And yeah, I got it, but in an insufficient amount. It was a very slow burn and when it finally happened they got ripped apart. And then again. And again. It definitely wasn’t a heartwarming and sweet romance I was hoping for. And they didn’t get the ending they deserved.
This story follows 4 people – Ead, Tané, Loth and Niclays.
Ead is a lady-in-waiting and a mage working undercover to protect queen Sabran. She was definitely my favourite character in this series, her storyline was the most interesting and investing. I was always looking forward to her chapters.
Tané is training to become a dragonrider. She was definitely the most disappointing part of this whole book. I enjoyed her chapters in the beginning, but they quickly became boring and I completely stopped caring.
Loth is a friend of queen Sabran, who has been exiled into a country wrecked by a plague. I know that many people love him and I completely understand why, but for me he was way too bland. Like I get it, he’s a good friend and everyone likes him. But that’s not really interesting.
Niclays is an alchemist who has been exiled by queen Sabran for failing to create for her a serum of immortality. I had a really hard time getting into his chapters at first, but over time they started to really grow on me. He’s almost an antagonist of this story, because his goals are often in opposition to the rest of the cast’s. So he was a very frustrating person to follow, but it made me really interested in his story.
Queen Sabran is also a very interesting character. We never get to see the world from her perspective, but we can observe her pretty well through the other’s eyes. Her character arc is definitely the most impressive one, I loved seeing her development. So though I couldn’t stand her in the beginning, over time she became one of my favourites.
So I guess that we all know that this book is pretty big. Though considering that it’s a standalone epic fantasy, I don’t understand why would anyone be shocked by that. My problem is, for a book this size, not a lot happens in this story. It’s very, very slow-paced. So the build-up to the climax is huge and the pay-off isn’t really there. I felt like the final battle was very short and quick. And frankly, rather disappointing.
The thing is – it’s a good book. It has everything a good book should have. But it failed to captivate me. I felt detached, because it didn’t make me care for any of the characters. And I wasn’t very interested in the story, because it was so slow-paced, that it made the stakes feel much smaller than they really were.
However, it was a very well crafted storyline. It was incredibly well thought-out and it was executed with care and precision. But I feel like it lacked the soul.
Content warning: miscarriage