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412 pages, Paperback
First published March 16, 2021
↠ 4 stars
“Well, Tal,��� she said, “I possess an ornamental dagger, a crown, and half a rabbit. What can you contribute to our shared survival?”
“Sit down this second or I swear, I’ll turn down your proposal.”
Nyx stopped. She looked at Helenia. “What proposal?”
“The proposal where you get down on your knees and beg me to marry you even though— I repeat— you left me drugged in the woods while you ran off to face the Destroyer.”
this is the kind of book that keeps you on your toes from the very first to the very last sentence. here i am, having consumed it in just a few hours. and i have to admit, this is the best thing i’ve read in 2021 so far. i read books to feel something. and this one did make me feel. i cried, and i laughed along with the characters, and it felt incredible. i thought the cover was pretty, i liked the premise, and then, finally starting the book, i immediately was sucked into the universe of deceptions, betrayals, fear, and most of all―love.
ONCE, THERE WAS A BOY WHO BELIEVED.
what a way to start the book. i still can’t get over it; this sentence alone left me choking from excitement, and then i knew i was in for something huge. the boy in question, tal, he was such a complex character, i found myself not understanding his choices at first, but as i was discovering his world, it was becoming easier and easier to feel for him. he was a protector, by oath and by choice. this is what ultimately made me fall in love. i can’t call him pure or innocent, given the amount of people he had killed―but he was brave, dedicated, and determined. unpredictable, too, and all these traits combined created a great depth to him.
also, sometimes i would forget that he’s actually a skilled assassin. then i’d get scenes like this, and i’d think, simply, wow.
Tal had no plans to enter through any gate other than this one. Neither slowing nor stopping, he continued his steady approach. One guard cursed and turned, twisting the knob of the door at his back, raising his voice to shout for reinforcements. By the time he got the first syllable of his shout out, Tal’s sword was already a blur of silver arcing toward his chest, and the second syllable ended in a warbling gurgle.
ONCE, THERE WAS A GIRL WHO WAS AFRAID.
there is a lot to elodie. in the beginning, i have to admit, i hated her, and i wished her all the worst. her story showed that after all she was nothing more than a victim, although not blameless for her actions. to me, her character arc was a masterpiece. from a cruel and cold murderess to a girl that, after all, was capable of love.
ONCE, THERE WAS A GIRL WHO BELIEVED ONLY IN HER BROTHER.
nyx’s role in this story was revolving mostly around his brother. she was more of a background character, or that’s how i felt, at least. i’d love to find out more of what happened with her in the pre-canon two years time period. it seems like she was pretty brainwashed by her own mother, and the thing that the story lacked was more of nyx’s background. also, helenia. i hoped to see nyx’s and helenia’s relationship to be explored way beyond she’s my girlfriend. oh, how i love my girlfriend. the wlw rep wasn’t bad, it just left me wanting to know more―both about these two characters and the bond between them.
SHE DIDN’T WANT TO WIELD FIRE, NOT AGAINST TAL. NEVER AGAINST TAL.
the relationship between tal and elodie, on the contrary, was thoroughly explored. and i was there for every second of it. starting as kind-of-enemies bound to each other by an oath, learning to grow, to forgive and to become a better version of themselves, ending up as lovers. the progression of their relationship left me wishing for the best for them, yet never knowing if they were going to get a happy end, together. i was completely immersed in them warming up to each other.
“I wish you weren’t so different now,” he muttered as he unlocked the manacles from his wrists.
She raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Why is that?”
“Because it shouldn’t be this hard to hate you,” he said, and without another word, he pushed past her to begin harnessing the dogs.
Voice rough with pain, he said, “You will never let me go, will you?”
She didn’t understand the words, but she was afraid that she would soon if her memories kept surfacing, and she discovered that she didn’t want to. “Shut up and let me save you,” she snapped, trying to heave him up without jostling him too much.
“she was fire, she was mercury, she was death. she was a weapon in the hands of her empress.”
would i recommend this? yes
will i shove it down everyone's throat? yes
will i make this book my personality for the next two weeks? yes
Finished this in one day, that's the level of obsession I had since the first page. The story was very original, with good world-building and complex characters. I really liked the plot and the "not all is black and white" vibe of the book, and all the fight scenes.
Now, I was expecting an enemies to lovers, but I wasn't ready for it to be so well done, Tal's feelings are so well developed it made me crazy. He truly hates her and he's truly falling for her too, this is a TRUE enemies to lovers where one scene is him almost killing her and another scene is him noticing a little romantic detail on her. It was so amazing, almost my favorite thing, cause Elodie is my top one.
"My name is Elodie. And I will forgive who I wish."
Her character is truly amazing cause she doesn't change abruptly, is a slow recognition of the girl she had always been.
This is a 4 stars only because I couldn't stand some of Nyx's pov and because I hated the little moments we had of Tal and Elodie, I'd love to see more of them, it felt like the end was rushed, and we almost didn't read them together. But it's an amazing story anyways.
Arc provied via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.