Thanks to the author for providing a copy an exchange for an honest review!
This is a truly epic fantasy. The action starts right in the prologue, which got me excited to see more right away. The action sequences are extraordinarily well-written.
Overall, the writing is beautiful. Descriptive, with lots of depiction of both the world and the characters’ thoughts. But Pescatore is also good with a pithy phrase–the conclusion of chapter 1 made me gasp out loud, even though I was still just getting to know the characters and the story. I found myself wanting to copy and paste many phrases I especially liked into this review.
The dynamic between Gabriel and Elenor was wonderful. Something I really appreciated is that there wasn’t the typical surface-level harshness you get with so many enemies-to-allies dynamics like this. They weren’t snarking at each other, they were fighting to understand each other’s very different perspectives. This made for a very compelling rapport between the two of them.
Another character I loved was the queen. An interesting, complex mother in a fantasy novel? Who has both good and bad qualities, a complicated relationship with her children, and goals and ideas outside of them and their lives? Sign me up!
I also enjoyed the unusual structure of this book, though I was definitely most invested in Elenor’s narrative. Nonetheless, the interludes were a great way to insert and develop worldbuilding information and got deeper into the magic system than many fantasy books do, which is always a win from my perspective!
A truly exceptional read. I liked it so much I just ordered a physical copy to keep on my shelves, and I’m diving into book two right away.