My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great first book in a new series. It set up a lot for the second book, which means that now I need to read book 2 to see what happens!
I loved the characters, especially Kyra. She’s almost like a “chosen one” character, with none of the regular tropes that go along with that. She isn’t instantly powerful or super talented right off the bat, she is still learning skills as the book goes on and makes mistakes, just like anyone else. What I really love about her is that she never needs anyone to come after her and clean up her mistakes, she owns them and deals with it. She also never lets her feelings for Rustan get in the way of achieving her goals, which is very refreshing. Rustan was also a great character, I love that he has this inner struggle with himself after killing an innocent man, he doesn’t just say oh well and move on from it. I really hope the second book goes deeper into his past and gives us more about him, because he was really enjoyable.
There was romance in the book, but not once did it overshadow the plot. They are never all lovey dovey with each other, mainly because it is against the law for them to be together, but they don’t let their feelings get in the way of what they have to do in order to survive and serve their orders.
I also really liked the world that this is set in, its a post apocalyptic fantasy type world, where there was a Great War where an ancient civilization disappeared and left behind all their technology. The people who currently live in Asiana don’t fully understand how that technology works, but they are still able to use it and study it. I hope that this is expanded upon in the second book because it almost doesn’t fit in with a fantasy world, having these doors that can transport you through time to another door. That was really the only thing in this book that I didn’t really like, it took me out of the story and seemed more like it was a way of solving the issue of traveling from one place to another, instead of adding to the story.
I loved that we got to see different parts of this world, from Ferghana with its forests and mountains to the Empty Place with its deserts and sandstorms. There are 5 orders, all are made up of women but one, the Order of Khur which lives in that desert. They aren’t well respected as Marksmen because the Markswomen mostly think they are an abomination and should not be allowed to bond with the blades they use.
I do wish that we got more fight/assassination scenes, because that is the purpose of the Markswomen, to kill people who disrupt the peace. Hopefully we get more of that in the next book.
Overall, a great start to a new fantasy series and I cannot wait to pick up book 2 to see where the story goes, since the ending of this one left so many questions unanswered and wow, that reveal at the end! I kind of saw it coming but it was actually a surprise the way it was revealed. Definitely recommend!