Let’s start with this: I devoured this within a span of 36 hours.
Friends, prepare yourselves to be swept away in a new universe reminiscent to that of the Grishaverse, except I dare say, it’s even darker and more gruesome.
“He was a liar and she wanted his truths.”
Trigger Warnings: Self-harm and parental abuse. The author has been very vocal about it – which I appreciate – so readers, just be aware before diving in. Please take care of yourselves!
Most clerics hear the voice of one god who grants them a particular power. Nadya, however, hears the voices of all the gods, and they all grant her power when she asks – which puts a target on her head. The opening pages immediately set the tone, where we’re thrown into the middle of a war as Nadya’s monastery is attacked by an enemy prince – a dangerous blood mage. Nadya is forced to flee and leave behind the only friends she’s ever known because if she stays, he could kill her and take her power.
While on the run, she ends up alongside a group of rebels (for lack of better words) who want to end the war. Their ‘leader’, Malachiasz, convinces Nadya to help them infiltrate the enemy palace… and that’s all I’m going to say. Since we’re nearly a year from the release, I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. What I loved were all the twists and turns, the characters that beg you to trust them when deep down, you know you probably shouldn’t. I love finding new morally gray (or are they?) characters to root for, even when I know they’ll probably come back to haunt me *ahem*. Nadya is a wonderfully complex MC. She actually reminded me a little of Alina from Shadow and Bone (my favorite series – in fact, I think I caught some nods/references – heyooo).
There was a heavy focus on magic and religion and the theological debates that accompany them. In fact, I often found myself switching sides on who was right, who was wrong, and who Nadya should trust (and if she should trust herself). The magic system was unlike anything I’ve read before, and same for the world. Though inspired by Russia (and Poland if my assumptions are correct), it totally stands on its own.
What I loved most was the ‘anything can happen’ fast-paced plot that had me turning pages like nobody’s business. From the first chapter, I was totally swept away and there was no turning back. And trust me when I say the world is dark dark dark (probably the darkest I’ve read), which after following Emily on twitter, I think she’d take that as a compliment 😉
On that note, I highly suggest taking a look at fanart to get a good feel for the vibe! Click here to see it!
The hardest part about having read it is that I’ll have to wait forever for the next book. The ending was totally explosive and I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.
Thanks a lot, Emily.
A huge thank you to Wednesday Books for this gorgeous early edition, and allowing me to read and review!
*All quotes are subject to change in the final copy*