I’m just gonna say this right off the bat – having read and loved all three books in this series… prepare your emotions. This series is stressful… but it will have you racing through the pages to see what happens next.
I actually listened to the audio version of this book about a year ago. While the narration was beautiful and perfectly captured Kestrel’s emotions and personality, I felt like the beginning of this was a bit slow. Not much happened in the first half of the book- though I feel it was necessary all the same. Of course then, theres a nice little plot twist that hooked me (so hang in there.. if you feel like giving up.) Its the kinda thing where you “suspect” something might be up.. but you aren’t sure, and then bam. Everything changes.
“Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”
I’m not going to go into much detail with the plot but ended up really loving it for the characters and the world. It appears on the surface to be a love story- but as the series goes, it ends up being much more. The world building wasn’t overly complex – but had just enough detail that I felt comfortable (I pictured it as a mix between medieval and Victorian?).
Kestrel is a perfect balance for a main character. She’s strong, stubborn, and a bit naive. Spoiled yet witty. Perfectly imperfect. Her relationship with Arin is not an instalove and becomes incredibly complex. Be prepared to go through an agonizing wait.
“She saw him and didn’t understand how she had ever missed his beauty. How it didn’t always strike her as it did now, like a blow.”
I’m telling you- they will make decisions throughout this series that will have you pulling your hair out. Honestly though, I loved the whole cast… even the lesser prominent characters.
“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”
Lastly, the end of this book had me purchasing the next book within SECONDS. Kestrel’s little ending stunt was a nice little kick in the gut. Nice little cliffhanger… to say the least.
I also wanted to touch on Marie’s writing style (though again- I listened to these vs. reading them..) but it felt very real and raw. It seemed to be a bit repetitive at times but gorgeous none the less. Almost lyrical at times. She’ll suck you in… she’ll getcha.
“How much easier everything would be if that were so. But Kestrel wouldn’t let herself consider the truth. She didn’t want to know its shape or see its face.”
As a whole- I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves to agonize over a slow burn (lets face it, most of us are just glutton for punishment…), or anyone who loves historical fiction/romance, politics, angst, intrigue.. so on, so forth. You’ll get plenty of all of those. Head my words. Be prepared to lose some sleep if you continue the series.