I’m so excited to (FINALLY) be sharing this review. I read this book almost immediately after I received it in the mail back in July/August, and am dying to gush about it with someone. Kade takes a very common trope (the chosen one) and imagines what might happen if for whatever reason the chosen one were not available to save the world.
It’s one of my least favorite tropes because it never really made sense to me. Like are we really saying all the rest of the characters in the world are so incompetent that even working together there’s only one person who could save them all? Come on.
By turning that trope on it’s head, we’re already we’re being set up for all kinds of fun surprises. Like really, what does happen when the chosen one is out of the picture? Is the world going to end? I felt like I couldn’t immediately envision the ending. I have no idea how the ending is going to go. Could this be the first trilogy which really results in the end of the world?! I mean I hope not, but I’m on the edge of my seat here.
Aside from a premise that feels completely fresh, I absolutely adored most of the characters. Aaslo is endeared to the reader from the very beginning. He is best friends with Mathias. Mathias is the golden boy, handsome and smart and talented. Aaslo is no slouch either, but he’s constantly overshadowed by Mathias (Aaslo doesn’t mind, he’s not a center-of-attention kind of guy). He’s not outgoing, not particularly charismatic, he has no real filter on his mouth, and is not smooth with the women. Despite all that, he is smart and he is capable with sword and axe. And maybe he’s not a likely hero, but he has the capacity to become one.
But Aaslo is not the only character I cared about. We have the rogue thieves, Peck and Mory, the kind Marquess of Ruriton, Teza the barmaid, Dolt the horse, Myropa the reaper… the list goes on. There just wasn’t a character here I didn’t care about. I loved them all.
I struggled at first, with how very derivative this all felt in the first fifty pages or so, almost cartoonish in its depiction of fantasy, but once Kade makes the division between all those stories that came before and her own, the result is immediately something familiar and yet entirely new.
AND THE BANTER. Dear God, the banter had me laughing out loud in some places. Whether it was Aaslo’s inner monologue, or him bantering with Mathias, or with Dolt.. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time I was reading. Banter aside, the book in general is just so funny. There was one scene in particular I remember that felt very slapstick, which isn’t my thing in movies, but always works for me in books. It’s rare to find something this funny that never felt like it was trying to be funny.
The world building is really great. I mentioned before that this story initially feels derivative but one of the things that helps it to stand out is the number of different elements from all fantasy sub-genres included. We have witches and mages, monsters and zombies, gods and goddesses… the list goes on. In our travels we see cities, forests, swamps, sprawling estates, wide open plains, the setting never gets boring or stale and gives an epic sense of adventure.
If I were to critique one thing, it would be that the prophecy is not very specific. It’s a huge part of the story so I wish I had received a little more information about it up front. As it stands I’m still not sure what the prophecy even is beside: “The world is going to end. The one marked by the world is our only hope.” Well how is the world going to end exactly? Who are they going to war against? What makes ‘the one’ the only one? Some of this information does come out in Myropa’s story, which helps alleviate the problem, but still, I found myself wanting for specifics.
It’s a very small critique that I was easily able to overlook in lieu of everything else this book delivered. I am dying to get my hands on book two and absolutely recommend this to anyone that reads.
Thank you to GoodReads and Tor for hosting the giveaway in which I won this.