Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self. Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Alright, here we go. This will be full of fangirling and gushing and just…good things.
1. The main character.
I have only recently gotten into fantasy. A lot of the fantasy I attempt to read annoys me, because I hate how indecisive and whiny female main characters in a fantasy can be. Not with Meira. Meira gets whiny sometimes, but she always makes up for it by doing something totally awesome and selfless that I can TOTALLY forgive her. She spends a lot of her time thinking about how selfish she is throughout her life, but honestly, she is the most selfless heroine/main character I have ever encountered – and not even for a “fantasy” novel.
2. It was LONG.
For those of you who want to get through as many books as possible, you should probably skip this book. It is long (I finished it in two days though, that should tell you something). I saw someone on Goodreads warn that it was long, and that it could do without about 50 pages, but I would like to politely disagree. Every part of this book was necessary and relevant and engrossing, and it really is a treat. I probably could have read 100 more pages, but I understand the need for brevity and clarity. The only reason I am upset about the book at all is that I started the series now. I now have to wait forever to finish it.
3. There’s a love triangle. If you have ever read any of my blog posts, you know how I feel about love triangles.
Let me explain, though. This love triangle is not like any love triangle you or I have seen. Both dudes are equally matched, and you are as unsure about Meira about how to feel. But, this love triangle moves slowly, through the entire novel. There is no way you could forget about it, but there is also no way you will be annoyed by it. By the end, of course, since there will be AT LEAST two more books, there is no solution. But at the end, you STILL don’t know! There is no clear choice! I love this love triangle, and I never thought I would type those words…ever.
4. The world that was built is kind of confusing at first, but really awesome once you get the hang of it.
So, this world is split into Season kingdoms and Rhythm kingdoms, mostly. I don’t remember the Rhythm kingdoms, although I should, because they’re intensely important. However, you have four Season kingdoms (just like the four real seasons, get it?). Anyway, four Seasons. Each season is stuck in their perpetual season. Winter is in winter, Autumn in autumn, etc. And the people show the season from whence they came. THIS WAS SO COOL. I hate when synopses say “for fans of [insert popular series here]” but I really did see the Graceling and Game of Thrones influences here.
5. The magic rules are so, so different.
Okay, there is magic in this world, and there are always rules when it comes to magic. It is so different to see this. So, the leaders of each nation have a conduit which holds their magic. It can be either female or male wielded, depending on the blood line. There’s a catch, though. They can’t use their magic to like, have their royal letter opener float across the room. No, no. Each kingdom uses their magic for their own means, but in a different way. For example, during war, the leader can pour their power into their military to give them stamina and strength. They can also heal. It’s really cool. Just read it.
OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! At first, I was very nervous about this book because, as I said, I am new to fantasy and I have been burned by fantasy before. BUT, I ended up eating this up in two days between grading essays and teaching lessons and being a busy bee in general. You need this book in your life, especially if you need a good fantasy to keep you enthralled for awhile. Take your time and savor it. I wish I had done that, because now it’s over and I am sad.