A strong debut novel from Sarina Langer! While I’m not normally a fantasy reader–sometimes I find reading the genre akin to pulling out my own teeth–this was a pleasant surprise. The novel opens with an incredibly well-written prologue that just had me hooked, from the style to the little details to the dangerous characters. From there, I found the writing journey a little bumpy, but it was just a matter of getting used to, particularly with Rachael’s sometimes long-winded inner thought processes. Once I got used to the style, it was easy to stay firmly within the story.
The one thing that always keeps me interested in a novel or series is a good lead. Rachael is just that. I really appreciated that while she is street savvy after years of being homeless, orphaned, and outcast in her little community, she wasn’t innately in-tune with her gifts. She struggled. She fumbled. I actually quite liked that while Cephy was a bit of a lost cause in the beginning of the book, she was the one who readily excelled at her magic. She was the one who had recently lost her family—the crushing sting of abandonment was much fresher and closer to the surface. It would give her a reason to be angry, and it would open a door for Aeron to manipulate her. The two were very Sith vs. Jedi to me, which of course I dig.
I’m interested to see where things go in the next book. The ending (I won’t spoil) felt rather thrust upon the reader, but I’m sure Langer has something awesome up her sleeve for our freedom fighters—who suddenly find themselves in the seat of power. How will they handle it? Definitely an intriguing premise.