My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fantastic fantasy with very in-depth world-building. The story is presented to you from many different character perspectives, each with their own motivations and beliefs. Each of these characters is so likable that it’s hard to decide who you side with. The author does a great job of presenting the noble side of all of the core characters, getting you invested in each of their personal journeys. The fact that each of the beliefs and religions clash so much politically encompasses the majority of the overarching conflict, though it is nowhere near resolved or heading in any solid direction by the end of this book. It is a pretty solid cliff hanger ending. This book spends the majority of it’s time setting up for the bigger events to happen later.
All My Thoughts
May contain spoilers.
I am a sucker for a book that introduces you to many separate plot threads that spend the entire time slowly moving towards each other. We are introduced to many very likable characters. Everyone we meet is from a different background and follows very different and occasionally conflicting religions. I could not decide if I felt any one person was more right or justified in their actions over any others. The author does a great job of showing us how each person believes what they are doing is right, which in turn makes it difficult to disagree with their convictions. I genuinely hated that everyone seemed to be at war with each other and to be fair, it seemed like none of them truly knew why. Only what they had been raised and taught to believe.
For me personally, I gravitated a lot towards Naranpa. Her position as the Sun Priest, the head of a religion/political party that seems to be the center of the majority of the conflict, was the most chaotic. She is sadly the most naive and most out of her depth. I greatly look forward to finding out where she ends up during this whole conflict now that she appears to be discovering that everything she has been taught might now be the whole story.
This book acts as a long set-up for the rest of the conflict to unfold. While there is a lot of forward momentum in the narrative, it does spend a lot of time allowing us to get to know everyone and to understand a bit about the political history of the world. There are several chapters that jump back in the past to give us a bit of backstory, particularly involving Serapio, the Crow God incarnate. Despite that, the book does not feel like it drags or throws too much extra information at us. It concludes on a high note in the plot, not giving us a resolution to any of the plot threads. I enjoyed this and think it worked well to set up the next book well.
An epic start to a deep story full of interesting characters that keep you invested in their struggles. Great religious and political intrigue that revolves around each of the core characters.