This book…3.5? 4?
I was back and forth for a while on what I wanted to rate it. In the beginning, I thought…“Ugh, this is a total two.” At the end, I was…“Oh, this is a good four to five…And when is the next book?” My stars are more of a median between the two.
Before I delve into the why of it all, I suggest we get naked. Well, book naked and under the cover. Because this one was amazing!
Under the cover:
The hardback cover was debossed with a solar map of the story’s planets in their little solar system. It’s just so unique and old-timey. A very nice cover.
The end pages:
Usually means the inside cover, which in this case is a plain navy. I’m using the term to describe the first and last printed pages.
In the front of the book, there is a printed map of the same solar system. Planets labeled and other wonders. Very old world map. Beautiful as well as helpful along the way.
In the very end of the book, which I wish I knew it before I got to the end of the book, is a very helpful glossary listing some of the terms and words used…in case you missed it or didn’t fully understand.
So, there are two sides to every story, and this one is no different.
First, Akos. His story is written in third person and takes the events and goings on in his life and puts it out there in his eyes. His family, his home planet…the kidnapping of members of his family by their Shotet enemy…
Second, Cyra. Her story is written in first person, through which we get a clear picture of Shotet life for her and her brother, Ryzek. We also get to grow up with her and her Thuvhesit slave for lack of a better word to describe Akos in the beginning.
That’s where part of the disconnect was for me. And I know I’ve complained before about the flip between third person and first in a book. Sometimes, it works. This, sadly, was part of the problem for me. I’d get to Akos’ part of the story, and I felt suddenly distant and outside of the story, where Cyra’s parts brought me in and made it feel like an intimate tale. I really wish Akos’ part was in first person. I’d have been able to follow along beautifully.
The second part of feeling so disconnected from the story was in the tremendous learning curve that typically goes along with stories of this genre. I had to learn about hushflowers and feathergrass and planets and peoples of the planets and izits and just learn and learn and learn.
But, once I got the gist of the story and its elements, it really shined!!! And I couldn’t stop reading to find out what the heck was going to happen next. All starting with a war between the Shotet and Thuvhesit…stemming from prophesies of what could be and fates of what will be and what one’s current gift is, as everyone in their system is blessed…or cursed…with a current gift, that one talent that makes you special form everyone else. Cyra’s was the ability to give and receive pain. Akos’ was the inability for current gifts to have any impact on him. It made for an interesting twist.
Carve The Mark
is actually a ritual performed in the book. When a Shotet kills someone, they must mark their body by carving a line into their arm and dabbing some potion into it so a scar is left behind. Something that would make a warrior proud to show off his kills, while others hide them in shame for the wrongs they’ve done. It was a beautiful metaphor touched on time and time again in this story.
This tale was sort of like a Hunger Games meets Star Wars meets Divergent meets Predator sort of tale. Strong characters who believe they’re doing it for the best, whether they see the reality of it or not. A love story co-mingling among the wars and hateful thoughts between nations and peoples–sort of a reality bites dose there.
I always say whether I’d rec this book. Honestly, I would, but with a caveat or two I’ve already mentioned here. I am looking forward to book two. VERY much so. Though this story closed nicely, there are still WAY TOO MANY QUESTIONS left to be answered. It’s so stressful!
*STARTING OFF THE YEAR WITH A BANG* ~ JANUARY 2017 READ