I was provided with this copy by the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I want to say thank you for the opportunity, but this hasn’t influenced my rating in any way.
I want to start by saying that I had very high expectations for this book and sadly, most of those expectations haven’t been met. This is a very diverse book and I requested it, thinking that I’m going to read about a pair of lesbians kick ass and just be awesome together. And somehow, I got it. But there were some issues that made this book not as good as I thought it would be.
Even gods can be slain….
The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.
Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.
This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.
Weak points of the book :
- I had a hard time caring about the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I cared about what they were going to do next or how the plot would move along or when they would get together. But I was not invested in any of the main characters. Their personalities just rubbed me all wrong. Shizuka was very spoiled and she was so flashy sometimes with her powers, I love confident characters, but she could be too much to handle, at times. Shefali was alright, she was the total opposite of Shizuka, being very quiet and rather modest, she’s struggling a lot through the book and I think I like her the best. But I certainly didn’t come to love her.
- I have a hate-love relationship with ‘meant-to-be’ relationships. Sometimes they can work and sometimes they leave me feeling like something is missing. Shizuka and Shefali have been friends since birth, their mothers have also been friends before that and there’s this prophesy that makes it obvious, they will be very close to each other for their entire lives.
- There have been people who came forward about how this book isn’t very original when it comes to naming people, places, countries and so on. And also, how the world-building can be considered problematic. I won’t talk about it very much, but rather just link you to a person who knows what she’s talking about, because she’s Japanese and it’s her culture that has been mishandled. Check her review here.
- I had serious issues with the way this book was presented, it’s written as a letter from a character to another. I feel like it would have been so much more logical to write it in perspectives instead of having a character tell the other character about things they’ve done together (???). But that’s only my point of view.
- It is also rather slow-paced and it took me a long time to get used to the story and get into it. This was caused by the huge chapters. This book has 500-something pages and 6 huge chapters, so yes! Am I the only one who loves short chapters in a book, no matter how long the book is?
Strong points of the book :
- I liked the way the author handled the romance, it wasn’t oversexualized or fetished. It was great, there was this pair of girls who would move mountains to be together, that cared for each other very much and that was so, so obvious. There was also a sex scene and I didn’t feel like it was overdone or anything, it was well written, in my opinion.
- The writing was beautiful, the metaphors were excellent and the descriptions really helped getting you into the atmosphere of the world.
- I liked the plot after the 50% mark when something crucial happened to Shefali because it made things more interesting. But I would have liked that villain to be more present than the Emperor or the bandits and anything like that.
- I enjoyed Shefali’s journey after the 50% mark and I hope in the second book, we get to see what really happened to her and how she is, right now. I might read the second book only because I’m curious about it, but her quest seemed…strange. You see, I still feel like I don’t understand how this universe works. At first, you get the feeling that there are some nations fighting against each other, then you understand that there are also some fantastic creatures and then more and more. Until you don’t know anymore how this universe works.
This is my perspective on this book, I wish I enjoyed it way more than I actually did. Don’t let my opinion change your intentions to read it, though, because you might end up loving it. I feel like everyone has very different views on this book, so who knows?
Tell me in the comments what you’re thinking about it if you’ve already read it or if you’re interested in reading it after the release.