[A quick note: You know that book you’ve had sitting on your shelves for 2+ years, and you swore you’d get to it, and never did? This is THAT book. I had a friend rec me his top 6 reads before the end of 2022 and this was one of them. So I finally picked it up. He always has the most amazing recs and I knew this would be a great one!]
“𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐈 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝. 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐈 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐤𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐈 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥.” —Margaret Owen
This is a story of oppression and strength. It’s a story of a girl named Fie, who wants a better life for her people. A story that makes you take a hard look at the way others are treated. We see the lengths Fie will go to, to forge a better world for those who are stepped on and forgotten, those who are hated simply for the caste they’re born into. And in so doing, Fie will be tied to people she once hated. She will learn to love them. It will force her to step out of her comfort zone and protect someone who wouldn’t have protected her.
I loved this book! Looooved it. Adventure settings make fun reads, especially when bad guys are chasing you across a kingdom. Through the pages, there is an ever-present countdown that makes for great suspense. Not to mention, the wonderful character interactions happening. And let me tell you, these characters are DEEP. I loved how flawed and realistic they felt.
There were many unique aspects, from the caste system modeled by birds, to the Crow’s “Bone Witch” magic that uses teeth, to the sinners plague constantly threatening the kingdom of Sabor. The setting is diverse, with a society that accepts same-gender romantic preferences as equally as opposite-gender preferences. However, this society is also very unaccepting of the lowest caste, the Crows, and that’s what creates the backbone for our story.
Fie is an amazing, strong female character. She is unapologetic. She is a quick thinker, good at getting out of sticky situations. She puts a lot of other things before her own comfort, including her people, who are her family. “Look after your own,” is a motto she’s frequently quoting. She’d do anything for them, and that makes her someone to respect. I adored her character.
I also liked the Prince Jasimir’s character, even though he got on my nerves a lot. But…that’s because of how he was raised, and who he was at heart. It gave him a lot of room for change. Who doesn’t like a solid character arc? And then there’s Tavin’s character. I knew I’d like him, straight from the get-go. He’s got his own secrets, begging to be freed. I loved getting to learn more about him.
The only warning I’d give is this: The story throws you straight into a foreign world, with a lot of detail unique to its world. That could be a bit confusing or off-putting for some readers, initially. It didn’t bother me much. I got hooked pretty early in, as soon as Fie punched Tavin in the nose. Hah!
I got a little teary-eyed when I shut this book. I enjoyed it so much. It was the perfect read to lose yourself in. I immediately went and bought the second book, and can’t wait to dive in. Definitely great for fantasy lovers who like rich, detailed world building, unique magic, and strong characters.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟓/𝟓⭐️