This book had some interesting ideas but was ultimately disappointing.
-World building: There were some interesting ideas involved in creThis book had some interesting ideas but was ultimately disappointing.
-World building: There were some interesting ideas involved in creating the setting for this book. For example, the idea of a society where women are treated as commodities because of their magic, yet where the very nature and structure of that society suggests a simultaneous innate fear of female power. The many secrets and layers of this world were (initially) well done and interesting.
-Characters: The main (female) character was mostly likeable, minus the caveat given below. In particular, I liked the fact that she didn't care for the status quo (=unfair to women). I liked the fact that she was fundamentally a good and likeable person that I could root for.
-Plot: The initial setup of the story and plot was interesting -I liked the fact that the main (female) character found herself, by a random quirk of fate in the form of an enemy attack on the capital, in a position to escape the traditional tethering of female (magical) power.
-The biggest problem I had with regards to this book was that the story and plot just cut off midstream. Here is a link to a generic example of this type of thing, which has apparently reached epidemic proportions in the book world (i.e. since charging more $$ for two or more shorter books when a single and longer one would be more honest and more appropriate HAS to be so much better).
And now... A lesson on how to CUT vs. how to TRUNCATE.
When you cut so as to get an actual END to your story you get THIS:
as opposed to THIS:
In the case of this book, the two main characters (i.e. a man and a woman) run around getting married and trying to avoid being killed by the man who shows up in their nuptial suite one night -causing them to decide to flee the country. And then NOTHING. NADA. YOU HAVE TO BUY SIX OTHER BOOKS BEFORE GETTING ANY BASIC ANSWERS OR INDEED ANY KIND OF CLOSURE WITH REGARDS TO THE STORY.
For instance, we still don't know WHY women with magic came are 'bound' (i.e. read some of their power removed or redirected). What led to this geat fear of magic in women? Why is someone trying to kill these two characters (there are a lot of hypotheses thrown around but nothing is ever confirmed)? What does this murder attempt have to do with fear of magic in women? What does this fear of magic have to do with the Temple? Why is the fourth type of magic (i.e. water magic) anathema in their country yet widely practised in the land which is their neighbour and enemy? Why is magic so strictly controlled in their country? Who was behind the attack on the capital of the country? Why are some (in particular the woman who heads the Temple) so eager to go to war with their neighbour? Why does the main (female) character having unbound magic anger this woman so much? Why did the 'augmentation' process the main female character and her husband go through prevent her from having her magic bound? Why does the magic these women have show up specifically on their 21st birthday and not at any other time?
...See what I mean?
Basically, no questions are answered so the two main characters run around for the entire book without anything being revealed or confirmed, such that the entire plot feels like a rather random and pointless series of events (i.e. since they may or may not lead to discoveries someday).
-The world building therefore had some interesting initial ideas as discussed above, which were never fleshed out.
-Third, the main male character initially seemed likeable to me, as well as honorable in his dealings with women, yet in the end the book left me unsure as to several aspects of his character. For instance, he states that the only thing between him and the main character is NOT a result of magic, yet he seems to be exclusively attracted to the most powerful female magic users in the land (first the princess and heir to the throne, then the main female character who winds up having more even powerful magic than said princess). Many of the secondary characters were also summarily drawn, as was the case with the Domina (i.e. woman heading the Temple) mentioned above.
-Fourth, while the main female character was (mostly and initially) likeable, she seemed to wind up ACCEPTING a lot that she could have at least TRIED to rebel against. In particular, as other reviewers have mentioned, it was rather jarring to see how happy she was at being married off to a young man not of her choice rather than an old geezer not of her choice.
Uhm, okay. Aaalll righty then!
-Fifth, EDITING IS A VIRTUE AKIN TO CLEANLINESS AND GODLINESS. This book was sometimes actually difficult to follow because of FREQUENT grammatical issues. Again, another characteristic of a GOOD book which is no longer valued because it means less time before said book makes money.
I enjoyed this one. The world building was very well done and original. The characters were quite likeable. The plot flowed well and I found myself woI enjoyed this one. The world building was very well done and original. The characters were quite likeable. The plot flowed well and I found myself wondering what would happen next to Reisil, our main character, as well as her friends (especially Saljane, her bonded bird).
Some might find this one a bit slow going (in the beginning especially), particularly if they're addicted to constant life or death situations. The reason for this is that the author does take her time to build a well-crafted world. I personally didn't find this a problem since I felt that it made the world more real to me.