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326 pages, Paperback
First published March 26, 2016
“I plan to march to the ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea,” the young King said, his mismatched eyes shining with certainty. “And it’s Al-ex-an-der.” He smiled. “You Persians always butcher my name.”
See this review in its natural environment, Dani Reviews Things.
‘The Midnight Sea’ is my first novel by the lovely authoress Kat Ross. And BOY does she write compelling, thriving blurbs! It was the blurb that captured me first! (Have you read it? Go read it!) And the cover SECOND! My opinions and expectations for the first novel in 'The Fourth Elements' series were HIGH. With what the Kat Ross gave to her future-readers in the blurb: I think I had already mentally rated it a five star.
The beginning was just superb. It reeled me in like a hook and kept me gripped by its talons until the end. It was such a great beginning and it slowly ascended to the BANG you expect within the chapter.
Don't start me on the writing! Oh. My. Gosh. It. Is. Awesome. Great. Poetic. Incredible. Seriously, this is probably some of the best writing I have come across. It flowed smoothly like a stream and gushed and swirled like a river during the most epic of moments. There was no awkward phrasing which would draw away from the story. Better yet, the prose was fantastic. It wasn’t used meaninglessly or to fill in the pages: it actually gave you a deeper understanding of the beautiful world the authoress had created.
Character development and evolvement was SOOOOO good! I am a reader who thirsts for realistic characters and when they are poorly constructed or designed: there is no me. Or rather, a very frustrated, low-rating me. Every character, be they minor or major, was fully developed and rendered on the page in such great detail that it was impossible not to fall in love with them.
The main character, Nazafareen, was established so well. Within a couple of sentences I felt as if I had known her forever. She was tough, hardy and loyal. Determined, resilient and passionate. The list of her great qualities could go on and on. But the best thing? She was flawed and very, very, VERY real! I couldn't have hoped for a better lead for the series!
The story is written in first person, and whilst it's not my favourite type of narration of the three, it was a good decision. I, as a reader, always feel as if first person narrative is a tricky little thing when writing. If used correctly, it can effectively utilise the problems of first person (such as the clouded judgement the reader receives due to the bias of the character) and twist it around so that the plot was full and rich. On the other hand, it can offer so little and make the story so average and non-consequential that reading from the character's perspective would be unappealing and just...meh. But no. Kat Ross has obvious skill and she used it to write a fantastic work of fiction. I received insight and depth to the story in such quality that it amazed me and DEMANDED that I pick up the sequels in the series!
Setting and world development was gorgeous and beautiful and spectacular and marvellous and outrageous and outstanding...and I have officially run out of words to describe how good it was. Kat Ross has chosen to set her novel in a specific time period: the collapse of the Archaemenid Empire, around 330 B.C. Confused? Think King Xerxes. I loved how well everything was thought through and that there were no gaping holes: major or minor. Everything had its place and I felt like the novel deserved a really good map to go along with the story. Most of the names for the places the author created were made up but according to her, they roughly correlate to a map of the Persian Empire. The Midnight Sea is the Back Sea, the Salenian Sea is the Caspian, and the Middle Sea is, of course, the Mediterranean. I thought this was just brilliant!
Talking about names. I loved the variety introduced by Kat Ross with her multitude of characters. Some were incredibly unique and others were familiar but included a twist. I am always – and will always be – a sucker for complicated/unpronounceable character names!
Congratulations to Kat Ross on publishing her stunning debut novel, 'The Midnight Sea'! I can’t wait for 'Blood of the Prophet'!