(4/5⭐️) In a world where objects believe they are something they aren’t, one girl must fight to get back what was stolen from her: her freedom.
Sancia is the best thief in Tevanne—virtually unstoppable. Tevanne is ruled by four prominent merchant houses. When she steals a particularly valuable artifact from one of them, she gets wrapped up in a complicated plot amongst the four that will either result in her death or her freedom. The merchant houses of Tevanne are hungry for power. They make their money by selling “scrived” objects to people, which have a somewhat sentient intelligence. A scrived object has been given symbols that enchant it to believe it can do things that shouldn’t be possible. When the merchant houses want Sansia dead, there is no higher power to stop them, and she must team up with a likely group of unlikely individuals to bring about a justice that would make Tevanne’s merchant houses pay for their crimes. In the end, she will undergo a powerful transformation that will change things forever.
I want to focus on the world building because this concept is what sold me throughout the book. It’s fresh, original, and incredibly creative. I was fascinated. The idea that one could “scrive” items to change their characteristics using simple to understand ideas, was something I’ve never seen in a book before. “Scrivings” are symbols that represent ideas, and by putting these symbols on ordinary objects, one can enchant the object to believe it is something it isn’t. That can be accomplished even if it means defying the laws of physics, such as the laws of gravity. A pair of handcuffs are scrived to believe each half is a lover, and the two lovers can never be parted unless there is a special key, otherwise, they “love, love,love” each other and must never be parted. Carriage wheels can be scrived to believe they are on a hill and are constantly moving downhill, so naturally, they want to keep rolling at all times. Items can even be scrived to be “twinned” where two objects believe that they are the same object and thus, one reflects the sentiments of the other. The list goes on. It seemed that in the world of Tevanne, one could scrive just about anything, and this opened up a enormous possibilities. The best part was, all of these ideas were so simple to understand, and so so brilliant.
The one thing that bothered me throughout the book was the character of Clef. Clef was supposed to be an ancient “artifact” made by the initial creators, which Sansia managed to steal. Clef was lost for years immeasurable. Sancia had a unique ability to communicate with Clef through telepathic means. My issue was this: Clef’s voice was too modern and didn’t fit with what he was supposed to be. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that he was a talking key. That was easy to get past. What I couldn’t get past was Clef’s frequent use of “kid” when addressed Sansia. “Hey, Kid!” or “Don’t do that, Kid,” and so on. The way he talked was far too slang-modern, making their dialogue seem somewhat juvenile. If an object has been hiding for thousands of years, it seems out of place for it to talk with modern speech. I think had the author made Clef’s speech more archaic, It wouldn’t have felt so jarring and juvenile. This turned me off in the beginning and I really struggled to get through the first half of the book. I even considered quitting it a few times, but the incredible world building kept me reading.
While the first half of the book seemed to drag on, the second half of the book’s plot kept me hungrily reading. Sansia followed a well defined character arc, and it was obvious that she went from someone who only cared about her own survival, to someone who really cared about bringing justice to a broken world. I couldn’t put the book down once I reached the halfway point, and ended up reading nearly the entire last half in one day, while the first half took me one month. But I promise you, it’s worth it.
All in all, this book is perfect for anyone who loves sci-fi/fantasy ideas and wants to read something fresh with ingenuity. There’s a unique form of magic in the way of “scriving” and the plot takes some unexpected turns at the end that really elevated it. I recommend this read to all fantasy lovers and can’t wait for the second book coming in 2020!