When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call…. THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death. THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again. THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game. THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants. THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.
I heard dragons and I was on board. Then I saw the cover, with all those swords, and I was totally on board. And then I learned that it was about five people fighting for the chance to become emperor, all with their own secrets and struggles, and I was ready to scream with how awesome this book sounded. Trigger warnings: grief, rape (kind off page, not explicit) violence, gore, blood)
Wow, this book absolutely delivered on everything that it promised to be. A group cast, trails to become emperor, swords, and tons of tons of dragons. It’s seriously incredible.
First off, this is exactly what a New Adult book should be. It’s frustrating that it isn’t a category, because this one would fit so well in it. The content is on par with an Adult book, but the writing really feels YA.
This book is BRUTAL. In Hyperia’s first chapter, something truly violent goes down. I can’t say more than that without spoilers, but I will say that it’s blood soaked. This book has blood running through its pages and violence dripping from it’s words. There’s sword fights and there’s war and there’s so many types of pain.
Every single one of the five main characters is struggling with their own demons and their battles. I loved how it was done. It was messy, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them. Ajax is kind of a jerk and I don’t agree with a lot of his decisions, but I could understand where he was coming from. Even when someone made the worst decision, I could kind of understand and I couldn’t help but root for them at least a little bit. Sympathy was pulled from me and I can’t help but admire that. And each of their struggles are completely unique. Someone is struggling with wanting be something in a world where they’ve always felt like nothing and someone else is struggling with feeling like a monster because that’s all they’ve been told. It was extremely well done.
Speaking of the character, I loved all of them so much. Even the ones that are irritating and brutal and sometimes jerks. They all have a way of pulling you in and making you root for them. They’re all incredibly unique and I love them all.
Their character development, when looked as at a whole, a group, feels really strong. They are unit, because they were pulled together, and it feels really incredible when they’re looked at all together. They all push and pull and compliment each other. But, when they’re looked at separately, I felt like I wanted more out of a lot of them. Five POVs is a lot, along with everything the world holds, so I guess there’s room for only so much. Still, I wanted more out of some character’s emotional development.
ALRIGHT DRAGONS. I feel like I’m really finicky with dragons; I love them, but it takes a lot to make me love them. Or a lot of them fall flat for me. BUT I LOVED THESE DRAGONS SO MUCH. They were freaking adorable and I loved the bond they had with their riders. They fit their riders personalities so well and I loved how they worked with each other. They were adorable and they were like best friends and it was so amazing.
This world was one that was also done really well. It’s brutal. Everything in this book is brutal haha. There’s an empire stuck in what it’s always done. I thought the trials would be bigger and more drawn out than they were, but still, I liked them. There was monsters and politics (that didn’t make my head hurt!) and horrible secrets and how humans crave and fight for power. Plus, there’s a forest with a basilisk and castle that shines with gold. Also, the magic was subtle, but so awesome. I loved how it worked and I loved how it played into the plot.
I kind of thought this book could be a standalone, but I was also hoping for it to be a series. I’m not sure where it’s going to go and I’m not quite sure how I feel about the ending. But I definitely know that it’s going to be interesting no matter which way it goes.
All in all, I really loved this book. It was incredible characters, ones you don’t think you’ll root for but ending up rooting for them anyway. There’s so much violence, but there’s also a dragon who just wants to play and snuggle. It’s really good.
Thank you for reading!