As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
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Bought on a whim because, well, let’s be honest here, the cover is gorgeous. Also, I’ve been hearing good things about this recently and I live forever in the optimistic hope that one of these days I will find a YA/fantasy book that I actually like. Now, I’ve come to realise that there are certain tropes within this genre that you’re just not ever going to get away from. Chief among them, the 16 year old expert military strategist with a penchant for music or reading or horse riding. I took all this with a grain of salt and I quite liked what I found the book to be, once I did.
I found the book to be easy going and the writing swept me away into the fantasy world without me realising it. I liked the little teases of the history of the city and the houses and the two races and the way it played alongside the society living storyline. I especially liked when the story went from being just a privileged girl and her relationship with her newly purchased slave to, plot twist, the slave being bought by design as part of the slave uprising. And so the plot thickened. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the plot kind of lost me. I stopped caring about the characters somewhere in the second half of the book and for a while, things picked up, but not enough to make me really care about the mild cliffhanger ending.
I can see why people enjoy this series though. You’ve got characters you can root for, an author who’s not afraid to kill people off, and it’s all set against a gorgeous landscape – I actually kind of want to visit this place if it’s as pretty as it is in my head – with a rich history. The chemistry between the two main characters was lacking, however, and there seemed to be a few convenient goings on in order to move the plot forward, but the writing was pretty solid and it definitely held my attention.