So so good!
Really! It really really is...4.5Stars... but not quite 5 hence I rounded it down.
This is a re-release and to be honest I was baffeled that I missed this. I could have sworn I read all of Kate Elliotts books. After reading this I did a search around and realised that I it wasn't at my local library nor did my favorite book stores stock any copies of it. SO I am beyond glad that they re-released this. If you like Kate Elliott this is a MUST read.
This is Elliott at her best. Clever world-building and beautiful prose as always- but more importantly great characters and an interesting relationships.
The plot is interesting, different and yet familiar. Elliot got the timing just right with this one. It feels like a beautiful melody, right pace, sometimes fast and eventful (action) and sometime slow and thoughtful.
I love traveling so I might be biased since this book is mainly about a journey. But Elliott managed to not only evoke places in my mind but most importantly made me fall in love with the characters. Saying that the book offers not only a journey, there is a political intrigue in the making, battles are fought, romances are struck and there is an entire alien world that still has to be explored.
There is quite a big cast of characters. But while I felt a bit lost in the beginning, I quickly grew to know them and adore them all. The story is mostly told from Tess POV. It does have a few other POVs as well. For me the book showed Tess'es journey - an outward and an inward one. And as she got to know people and their cultures one got to know them as well. I absolutely loved her banter and frien-emy relationship with Ilya.
I think this is very much Elliott's MO, and while I enjoy her world-building and fantasy part always, I honestly am every time much more taken by her character building. This book is definitely way more character-driven. I think the world-building is extremely clever and fascinating, the plot exciting but the characters are what makes this book. Elliott written a whole clan of characters with such insight, that I care for all of them, enjoyed their relationships, laughed and felt sorrow with them and I want to know what will happen to them in the next installment. To be honest, I am not quite as taken by the alien side of the book or the whole political intrigue- but that might change in the next.
As I said the world-building is clever. Elliott did here what she does so well. She took known elements added them to an entirely new world and wrote a new history. In this case we got aliens, different planets but we also have our own human history as a basis. The Jaran do remind me of the mogul and their culture. There is way more to be discovered of this world and I am looking forward to it hopefully in the next few books
The prose is beautiful. I love Elliott's writing style- so I knew I will at least like the prose. And I was not dissapointed, I got all the things I love about Elliot and was left marveling again at her skill.
A must read for lovers of Elliott's books - but also a definite must read for lovers of fantasy!