Undertaker Lorena knows what her future holds—she’ll finish her apprenticeship, marry her best friend Julian, and live in a land ruled by a bloodthirsty family convinced they alone can keep ancient demons from descending on the kingdom. But when Julian receives news that his father has been convicted of crimes against the crown, the two head to the capital to help. When Lorena is kidnapped by Crown Prince Alistair, she learns he’s not the violent inheritor rumors have painted him to be. He explains that the sacrifices are a necessary evil—the demons are very real and require more and more blood to keep them at bay. As a rebellion grows more certain, Lorena becomes less sure of her loyalties. Should she trust the boy she thought she loved and the world she thought she knew? Or should her loyalties lie with the centuries-old legends of the boy she barely knows who has everything to lose?
I was intrigued by this book to some extent, but I wasn’t 100% sure on it. I’m not quite sure why. I knew it was something I’d like to pick up eventually. But one of my friends was super, super excited about this book and we have very similar taste, so my mild excitement ramped up a lot. Plus, ancient demons descending upon the kingdom, a girl who does not know what to trust, and rebellion coming closer and closer all sounds like things that I would really, really enjoy! Trigger warnings: blood, gore, grief, self-harm based magic system
I am in awe.
This book, wow, so many wows. This book is weird and fascinating and so, so brilliant. It screams, and I still hear it ringing in my ears.
How do I even begin. I shall begin on the core of this book. Showcasing the horrors of capitalism, and how it degrades humanity to it’s very worse. It grinds the poor into next to nothing, leaving them desperate for whatever scrapes they can get. And it elevates the people who can afford safety and comfort. A question of morality, what sacrifice is enough, how the worth is measured. Can it even be measured, should it even be measured. A human life should be not be measured on it’s worth or usefulness. A dark, terrifying core that shows itself starkly. It’s bloody, and horrifying, and it gets ugly. It’s painful and it doesn’t relent. I am in awe in how this was crafted, in how it was sewn together, how it was woven into the story. It’s messy, and I think that is what makes it so brilliant. Just, there were times where I had my jaw hanging open because what I was reading was just that good.
This book spills a lot of blood. It’s violent, but it’s not used to shock value. The horrors are place just so, to really drive home the gut punch of what this book is trying to do. It’s horrifying. This book rips open at the seams and tears at whatever is left. It’s dark and a touch wild. And just, wow. I felt like I was looking into the abyss of morality and humanity as I read it.
Moving on to characters! This book features an ace girl MC and her weirdo friends doing terrible things together. I ended up loving them all a whole lot more than I thought I was going to. Each of them are terrible and weird in their own way. Some have sharp edges that won’t let anybody get close and others are completely adorable. Others hold secrets and others are just downright awful. They all serve their purpose. Just, another wow.
There were times in this book where I felt like things felt a bit off, or that the book overall felt a bit messy. I thought the romance was a bit stilted and weird, for example. And while I do thing this book felt messy, I think that was made me end up enjoying it so much. I thought this book was going in a certain direction and BOY did it go in another one. This book knows what its doing. The things that I thought I didn’t love, ended up slotting into place at the end. This book tears itself apart, because the world inside it is being teared apart. Lorena is being torn apart. They’re trying to figure out how to heal. And if healing is even the best option.
I fell completely in love with this book. I did not think I was going to, and I ended up loving it so much that I want to scream about it from the rooftops. It’s dark and bloody and horrifying and terrifying and completely brilliant.