My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Imprisoned by the Na’Reish king, Kalan, a light blade warrior, has little chance of survival until aid comes from an unexpected place – Annika, the king’s half-blood daughter. Determined to escape her harsh upbringing and find refuge in the human world, Annika releases Kalan and the two set out on a perilous journey toward freedom with only each other to rely on.
While the world building is interesting and compelling, the characters and situations are contrived and unrealistic.
Kalan is a prejudiced jackass and a hypocrite to boot. He condemns Annika for keeping her parentage hidden when he has secrets of his own, and his rapid transition from distrustful enemy to besotted lover is not believable.
Annika’s characterization is a contradictory mess. On the one hand, she is strong enough to survive brutal physical torment and social ostracism with her spirit intact, but once she encounters Kalan is constantly hurt, ashamed and undermined by his harsh words and attitude. Where did her spine go?
Given that this is a debut novel, it is necessary to mention the writing. Although the plot and the romance move along at a good pace, there is too much repetition of characters internal dialogue and emotions.
Finally, there is also excessive focus on religious beliefs. The female deity controls all aspects of the human characters’ lives either by dictating their actions or confirm/rejecting their choices and decisions. This is supposedly fantasy not Christian or inspirational fiction.
All in all, not a bad read but the plotting is weak and the secondary characters are not appealing enough to continue with the series.
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