This book has been winning awards and receiving hype. I have read all of the Termeraire books by the same author so I knew I could not go wrong.
I did not know the plot in advance, and in many ways, this actually feels really different than the Termeraire books. The writing is denser and the world building is much more complex. The tone is darker too. There’s even some romance.
I like the female protagonist and I like her relationship to her best friend Kasia. I enjoyed the focus on female characters. The plot moved at a good pace and there is a certain nuance to the evil in the story. The idea of a living forest and the various magic associated with it. Until I got to that part, I had kept waiting for the big hit of this novel.
On reflection, I can see why it’s acclaimed, but I do not love this book as much as some others. The romance could have been omitted and the man acts too much like a “Jerk with a Heart of Gold” trope. Maybe I was expecting something bigger, but the book did not move or excite me as much as some readers.
I still recommend it to those who like fantasy and I will continue to read Novik’s other works.
Read Aug 4-5, 2016.