Having picked up this book as a freebie off of Amazon I wasn’t sure what to expect. The reviews seemed quite mixed about it, though I admit I rarely look at or read reviews before plunging into a book as I was my opinion of it to remain unbiased.
The book follows Myranda, a young woman who struggles to survive in the frozen North in a country that has been stuck in a decades long war. As a sympathizer she is shunned from most villages she comes across and leads a mostly nomadic life, moving from one town to the next stopping long enough to rest and regain supplies before continuing her constant walking. I liked that fact that she often talked to herself while traveling to help distract from the biting cold, hunger and great distances that she need to reach the next village. The history of the world she lives in is well described and makes you wonder at times how she has survived all this time.
The introduction of new characters flowed well for the most part. When she meets Leo, a Malthrope which is a half man half beast (in this case a fox), the initial exchange between the two of them is interesting. Sharing a bottle of wine they both explain how they got to where they are now, taking turns asking questions then waiting for the other to answer then ask their own question.Myranda’s reaction to his species is exactly what I would expect, there was shock but not enough for her to change her mind about him keeping her company. Their quick friendship had me wondering just what the future had in store for them, especially when they went their separate ways shortly after leaving the village.
As she moves on through the world, carrying a sword that would change her life forever, a number of other characters are introduced and thrust Myranda into many new situations. The appearance of dragons was honestly something I hadn’t expected to see in this book and at first I was worried that it might ruin everything that had been laid out so far. However as the story progressed I saw the importance of the dragon as it affected not only Myranda’s life but Leo’s and several others around her.
There seemed to be a few characters that were thrust into the story with little reason at first. Eventually they were revealed as important to the story line and some were directly linked to Myranda’s life and past. What they added to the story will hopefully be of greater significance in the two other books in the series. One character I did highly enjoy was Deacon. His enthusiasm over the small secluded world that he lives and trains in was a great addition to the book. Though I saw early on that there would be some sort of relationship between Deacon and Myranda forming I was glad to see that was not rushed into, in fact it was left up in the air at the end of the book as Myranda left the secluded life to find Leo once more.
When she starts to undergo training of the various elements of magic everything suddenly feels rushed. After completing training with the four element masters she must then be given a final test. I enjoyed this part of the book not because of the use of her newly found powers but in the way she was able to outwit Azriel, the woman conducting the final test, at her own game. The end result of the test surprised me.
One small problem I did have with the book was the lack of chapter breaks. I am not sure if it was strictly because of the Kindle edition but it was a bit odd to have no chapters within it. Usually I use chapters as a stopping place while reading. While I rarely wanted to put the book down I found it hard to pick a spot to take my reading break from.
While there were slow parts popping up here and there the overall flow of the book was good in the first half. However I found near the end that things seemed a bit rushed, especially when she was undergoing her training with the masters. Not only did the flow seem to speed up too much I also had a problem with Myranda being so good at each aspect of magic which she was trained in. No one should be that good that quickly in so many different aspects. Then all that training seems to go to waste as she leaves the hidden away village to chase after Leo. Hopefully the next two books will explain not only why she seems to be such an expect with magic but also give her reason to having this power as well. The rushed end aside I am looking forward to seeing where this story leads in the next two books.