I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Released: March 8, 2022
Genre: Young Adult
I was so dang frustrated by this book the whole time. It has been a hot minute since I finished it, but I will do my best to explain why.
Sloane is a Scion, a descendant of the Orisha gods, with the ability to summon fire at will. But she must keep her abilities hidden, for her country has been under the Lucis’s control her entire life. The Lucis went to war with Nagea (Sloane’s country) and conquered them using their advanced technology, then banned all things connecting Yoruba to their gods – which includes those who possess the gods’ magic. But the war isn’t over. The Shadow Rebels continue to fight in the Sahl desert, so the Lucis have established a draft on children to expand their ruthless military. When Sloane is drafted, she’s not sure how she’s going to keep hiding her power, but she wants to find out what happened to her mother and the draft may be her only chance. But what she finds out is bigger than she could have imagined, and she must decide how far she is willing to go to destroy the Lucis from the inside out.
I think my synopsis is a great place to start because I’m still confused about the world-building in this book. It was never fully explained, and I don’t understand how the politics or the daily lives of people in the book work. The pacing only makes this worse; the first few chapters have simultaneously too many plot points and not enough exposition, which made me overwhelmed and very confused for a while. It also disconnected me from Sloane emotionally because I didn’t understand the plot well enough to empathize with her. Many times, Sloane also overexplains her emotions in her internal dialogue, which makes everything ring false for the first third of the book.
The romance started out as a highlight. I guessed who the love interest was, but it really isn’t obvious so I wasn’t sure for a while. I really liked the build-up of their relationship, I felt it was really well-done. Until the guy’s character did a complete turn-around and he became someone totally different – I guess to justify the enemies-to-lovers element, except it didn’t need to be justified?? Very confused and frustrated about that, as well.
I think I could go on for a while about little things that annoyed me too. This fantasy just felt poorly written to me. It could have been so freaking good, but too many things didn’t work for me.
The best part of the whole novel was the FIRE ending!! (literally lol… iykyk). But seriously, the ending, while not flawless, was really engaging, emotional, and absolutely insane in the best way. I’m frustrated we don’t get to see what happens after the ending since the book synopsis implies plot points that never happen, BUT I don’t need to get into that.
I hate writing reviews like this, I really do. And I know others loved this book and felt like it was a great fantasy, so it’s possible it’s just a me thing. But in my opinion, there are other YA fantasy novels, new and older alike, that are more well-executed.
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