The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
Why I chose this book
This book is in a similar genre to my own: YA Fantasy with an Arabian feel at the start, so I thought I’d give it a go.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
This book is a clean read, suitable for teens, with some violence appropriate for the setting. It’s featured on the Clean Indie Reads website. A young girl lives a life of danger and intrigue and has to face the choice of teaming up with a Breather (a soul-sucking monster) or being drained by a Fang (akin to a vampire). Her untrained secret magical powers may be her downfall or her saving grace.
I enjoyed the worldbuilding in this book. It initially gave off some Arabian fantasy vibes, being set in a warm climate with a vibrant market setting and a Sultan. The later action takes place in a more Northern country. The various races that live in this world have an urban fantasy feeling but are a twist on the usual conventions. The Fangs, for example, are similar to vampires but have their own unique characteristics in this world. Hitomi’s untapped magic is intriguing and promises much.
Although it’s first-person present tense (usually not my favourite), I thought it was the right choice for this novel. I forgot it was in first-person as I read and it felt natural. The description is evocative and unique, with great writing throughout.
The plot is well-thought out, logical, and has a satisfying conclusion. It was a nice fast read with good pacing throughout, except as mentioned below.
The beginning jumps straight into the action and the pace didn’t really let up at all. Although I have no objection to starting with action, I was expecting a couple of slower chapters nearer the beginning to get a grip of what was going on in Hitomi’s life and some background to her situation. By the end, most of this was revealed, but I’d have preferred some of this information earlier on so I could get my bearings in the world.
Despite the fact the plot is good and has a satisfactory end, this book is clearly a set up for future books in the series. I’d have been happy if it was double the length and the plot had continued, as I felt there was still plenty to come. However, it was by no means a cliffhanger, just left open for my curiosity, and I’d consider getting the next book in the series.
A great read and definitely recommended, although I’d have preferred a slightly more detailed first section in Karolene.