“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. it was thinking we’d never fight back”
Rating: 5/5 stars
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
First things first, the second I finished this book I closed it and looked over at my husband, held up the book in awe and disbelief, and said “this is Harry Potter level”. Which is something I have NEVER used to describe a book, nor is it something I ever thought I would say about a book. So, if there’s one thing you take from this review, TAKE THAT, because this book is really that damn good.
I’m not going to lie, I was super intimidated by this book because the hype is absolutely insane and that always has me backing away slowly from a book in fear I won’t like it. I mean this book had a movie deal before it was even published. How wild is that?! This is also a very large high fantasy novel coming in at over 500 pages which practically had me running for the hills because I was so sure that something this size would have me in a major book slump. However, this book did quite the opposite and managed to pull me out of a book slump.
The characters were all so lovable in this book. The story is told through Zélie, Inan and Amari – the prince and princess of Orïsha, who all by a twist of fate go on this epic journey together.
I adored Zélie’s character because she was anything but perfect. She’s very much the type of character to act first, think later and it has gotten her into all sorts of trouble throughout the book but makes her so much more enjoyable as a character. She’s a fierce warrior, who will do anything for her family and for all the maji who have faced Orïsha’s oppression. It’s so easy to fall in love with her and root for her throughout the entire story.
Inan, is one of the antagonists of the story who believed magic should be destroyed at all costs. His POV was the most fun for me to read because I LOVE ME A GOOD VILLIAN, which you all already know. But I loved how Inan struggled with believing all the hate his father taught him yet also wanting to change Orïsha for the better after getting to know Zélie. I will admit his POV did get a little confusing at times as to which side he was on because he struggled so frequently with his thoughts, but I am excited to see where the next book will take his character.
Amari, who was a shy, timid, little thing in the beginning of this book was anything but by the end. The Lionaire, slowly but surely came out of her shell and her growth was a lot of fun to read about. I mean the things she did at the end of this book?!?!?! *cries* Also, I am SO appreciative of books that include female friendships and y’all know I LOVE the enemies to lovers trope, but what about the enemies to BFF’s trope? YES PLEASE. I LOVE IT. Give me more Amari and Zélie in the next book.
The writing in this book is absolutely amazing. At over 500 pages this book never once feels dull. The pacing throughout this was perfect, the world-building was even better. It was all the perfect mix of the history of the maji and their oppression, world-building, battle scenes, flashbacks, chase scenes, explanations of magic, and SO MUCH MORE. I could gush for days, you guys.
All in all, the hype around this book is definitely deserved and while this book is a fantasy novel is does tie into real life current events of police brutality and oppression. The author’s note had me in tears at the end of this book. I am so incredibly excited to see where this story is going and cannot wait for the next book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, which comes out March 2019.
Until next time!