After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder. Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.
I originally sort of pushed this book to the side. It sounded good, but something I would get to in the future. I’m not sure what pulled me back to it, but I decided I really wanted to read it. My friend is a huge fan of this author (hi Mo!), so I knew I wanted to at least give it a try. Plus, I’m finding that I’m really drawn to sisters stories. And one of the sisters takes on part of the other sister’s punishment? And its a fate worse than death? But the punishment isn’t described and we have no idea what it could be. Yes, that sounded like something I wanted to read and something I wanted to know more of.
After reading this one, I can understand where Mo’s love of this author comes from. I’m ready to scream my love of this book from the rooftops.
Alright, I’m not quite where to start. I guess I’ll start with the world. Wow, it was something to behold. It’s absolutely gorgeous, in a soft feeling kind of way. There are dark parts and there are evil things that are apart of it. Gods trapped beneath mountains, a mage who sends phantoms to protect the mountain, and some people who are horrible. Still, the beauty of it shines through. Halcyon and Evadne’s home is in a grove with olive trees and it has tons of sunshine. I honestly thought it was just really beautiful.
And this world has mages and scribes and warriors, and I just found everything about it so brilliant. I loved every part it of, from mountain with evil in its depths to the city where Evadne has to go to serve part of her sentence. It fit the story really, really well and it shined through.
I also really loved the characters. Halcyon and Evadne were so different. Halcyon is a warrior and she wants to fight. Evadne is softer, but no less fierce. She craves magic, but does not have any. So, she finds other ways to help and her own ways to fight. The sisters love each other so much and they are willing to do anything for each other. Their bond was so strong and I loved seeing how much they loved each other. It felt really special.
The familial relationships were also something really amazing. I love seeing parents who adore their children. Evadne and Halcyon have a big family, and they all live in the grove together. I loved all of them and I loved seeing them interact. They all cared so deeply for each other.
Even the characters who weren’t related by blood, but shared that familial connected was something I really loved. There was pain ingrained in these relationships (I have to be vague because of spoilers!), and situations that had no right answer to them. But there is still love underneath everything. I really, really liked seeing those relationships play out and how they developed. It wasn’t something I’ve seen in a lot of books before, but I really liked see it. It was complicated and it was painful, but it was also full of love.
There is also a male main character that I seriously adored. He was so kind. He wasn’t kind to make people happy or anything like that, he was kind because that’s the kind of person he was. I dunno, but it felt really special to me. He was a really solid guy, because that’s who he was at his core. He was kind and I know that seems like a small word, but it felt really big to me. Plus, it created the sweetest romance and some of the things he said made my heart want to explode out of my chest.
I also loved how magic and the gods were integrated into this book. They weaved themselves into the plot. I don’t quite know how to describe them other than they were fascinating.
Alright, maybe I should take about the actual plot haha. IT WAS VERY VERY GOOD. It’s cloaked in secrets and filled with that complicated pain. And there are so many plot twists. There was one near the beginning and even then I was shocked. I loved how information was withheld from the reader to build suspense. It didn’t feel frustrating, it felt like a very calculated move and it created a feeling that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It was really smart.
The plot was big and was something that felt world ending. But, this book is a standalone. I feel like it could have been more than one book, but I also like that it wasn’t. It’s packed full of so much, but not in a way that feels overwhelming. Everything that happens has it’s place. Plus, I liked that everything was wrapped up in the end!
Ah, I can’t say enough good things about this book. There were magical relics, hidden alliances, complicated pain, familial relationships, an amazing male character, amazing female characters, magic, scribes, mountains with evil within them, and so much more. I really, really loved this book. It was so good!
Thank you for reading!