“The past devours those naive enough to forget it.”
“Why punish a seed for not yet being a tree?”
This just may be my favorite book of the year. The world building in this novel is some of the best I’ve ever experienced in YA fantasy. The world of Sonande is built with such beauty and more epic magic than I’ve seen in a long time. The two points of view we get are so well developed and slowly entangle in the most unexpected way. I’m not sure who I liked more Malik or Karina, they were both equally precocious and brave and reckless and principled.
Karina is the crowned princess who inherited the title following the death of her sister, as the “spare” she did not take the education of royalty seriously and her mother the Queen is frustrated over her lack of commitment to her new role. Malik is as nobody as someone can be, an orphan from a part of the country where the lowest of the low are from. He and his sisters are trying to get into the royal city for the festival that occurs once every 50 years at the appearance of a comet. When Malik makes a blood oath to a spirit in exchange for his sister’s life, he is thrust into Karina’s world and is torn between his loyalty to his family and the glamour of a royal life.
I enjoyed the competition elements for the Champion of the festival and the riddles within. But most of all I loved the elements of culture and epic storytelling weaved throughout. The tribalism and competition between the ethnicities felt so real and built a lot of tension. The ending left a lot of room for progression for these two characters without leaving me feeling wanting. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’m finding myself heavy into fantasy this spring, what genre are you escaping to most lately?