*ARC provided by St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review*
“Sometimes it is our greatest kindnesses that are the most difficult to bear.”
I have been waiting almost a month to share my thoughts about this fantastical and overwhelmingly precious work of art that I can’t believe the day has finally come! *Excuse me while I participate in a happy dance of sorts* I admit, I have only read the House of Night series that P.C. co-wrote with her daughter, Kristin, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect from a solo work, but let it be known, I was entranced from cover to cover.
The fact that every chapter was introduced with an illustration made me fall in love with it that much more. Illustrations are always welcome in my opinion! Personally, those illustrations made reading this an interactive experience. They made me study them and wonder how it would tie into their particular chapters which was fun!
As soon as I read how the synopsis mentioned this world included animal Companions, or allies, I was automatically hooked! The first thing I thought of was my own ally, Xena the Warrior Bunny, and was curious about how P.C. would execute that plot line (while I also mentally included Xena). I have read about particular characters having a sort of animal ‘ally’ but I haven’t read a book where it was the main focus… Until now! That particular plot line made me cherish this story even more because animals will always be the loves of my life. It made me happy to no end to see them getting the attention they deserve.
This book has a few different POV’s that kind of confused me in the beginning but only because I was thinking too much and wondering how important they were all to the story, if at all. It didn’t take me long to appreciate and love them all in their own way ,while internally kicking myself for ever doubting P.C.
We have our main character, Mari, who is an Earth Walker and an 18 year old artist. I completely appreciated her amazing relationship/bond with her mother, the Healer of their Clan, that it brought me to tears time and time again. Their powerful bond made me yearn for something like it, but they made me feel like I was a part of it, so I didn’t feel left out too much. Mari’s character development was astounding and I couldn’t help but cheer her on every step of the way.
Then we have Nik, the son of the leader of a rival Tribe who’s actions aren’t quite nice towards the Clans Mari is a part of. We follow him as he tries to get a grip on what makes him so different than the others of his Tribe and I completely loved watching his character grow. His story was so heartbreaking that I couldn’t help but cry for him a couple times. We also get to witness how he crosses paths with Mari and my anticipation for their meeting was off the charts. I also loved witnessing his developing relationship with his father. It rivaled Mari’s relationship with hers but they were unique and wonderful in their own way.
Since I’ve talked about the heroes I love, let me take a moment to also call out the villain of this story. I normally don’t do this in my reviews because the villains don’t really stick to me, but that wasn’t the case here. This one most definitely raked and embedded its figurative claws into my skin that I can’t shake no matter how hard I try. Dead Eye’s actions were so atrocious and disgusted me to no end that I have to bow to P.C. for accomplishing such a feat. I’ve never read about another villain executing these particular horrible acts and I can’t even explain how much I admire her for creating him. Dead Eye owns the villain name with a capital ‘V’ and a part of me can’t wait to see what else he will gross me out with next.
This story was so full of suspense and intensity that I felt like my heart beating 10000000 miles a minute. This was full of unlikely friendships, sweet romance, humor, loyalty, betrayal, and growth. It had it all plus so much more. This book tore my heart out and mended it, only to tear it apart again… And that cliffhanger didn’t make matters any better.
For this story being almost 600 pages, I was so addicted to it that it felt like it was, at most, half of that. I am dying for more if this beautiful world that has stolen my heart. Even though it has been about a month since I read this, the entire world has been deeply etched into my mind that I remember it as if I have just read this a minute ago. The sequel has officially become one of the most anticipated releases of my life. I don’t even know if this review came close to explaining how much I treasure this series, but I tried.
This is ins’t a 5 star rating, this completely blew my rating system out of the park.